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80-year-old wooden escalators repurposed into impressive sculpture

For decades, escalators have been saving a lot of time and effort for those who don’t want (or who aren’t able) to climb long flights of stairs, though there’s some debate as to how to use them so they move people most efficiently. In any case, wood used to be a common material for building these, but times have changed and for safety reasons (think fire hazard), many of the escalators we see now are made with metal treads.

Aiming to repurpose the old wooden treads in Wynyard Station, a heritage-listed underground commuter railway station in Sydney, Australia, artist Chris Fox has devised an awe-inspiring public sculpture that now hangs above commuters’ heads, in the same station, where the old escalators have now been replaced with modern metal ones.

Chris Fox© Chris Fox
Chris Fox© Chris Fox
Chris Fox© Chris Fox

Dubbed Interloop, the work pays homage to these hard-working elements, which have carried commuters since they were first installed in 1931. Instead of doing away with them, the city decided to find a way that these 244 treads, weighing a total of five tons, could be useful (and beautiful) again. Fox explains:

The historic timber-escalators… held a sense of time, journeys and travel before they were removed this year. Interloop resembles, in part, the original escalators. The artwork explores the idea that people are stationary on a escalator whilst also travelling, allowing for a moment of pause that occurs mid-motion. The sculpture resonates with people in this state, referencing all those journey that have passed and are now interlooping back.

Chris Fox© Chris Fox
Chris Fox© Chris Fox
Chris Fox© Chris Fox
Chris Fox© Chris Fox
Chris Fox© Chris Fox

On a practical level, escalators are energy hogs and it might be best to design them as on-demand devices. But amid the mad rush to get to work, to get somewhere, to hurry to be on time, there is indeed that “moment of pause” and transcendent stillness that happens while being moved through space on these ever-revolving machines. Often, these are the moments to pay attention to what arises — or at least, pay attention to the beautiful things around you, such as this ever-looping work of art that reminds us of the essence of this invention — ever-travelling, yet ever-still. More over at Chris Fox.

[Via: This Is Colossal]

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