Steve Messam

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Twisted Shanghai


Date: 2012

Client: Self-initiated

Location: Former textile mill, Moganshan Road, Shanghai. China

Dimensions: variable

Materials: laser projection

Further info: Blog post

See also: Twisted Cromford

                by arts council england

A sister-piece to 'Twisted - Cromford'. A series of converging red 'threads' of light created in a former textile mill in Shanghai.

In the 19th Century Shanghai was the world’s largest producers of cotton. It was said the cotton produced in myriad of mills along the Suzhou Creek could cover the whole of China. Today the cotton mills have largely gone, but China remains the largest manufacturing country in the world. A process which started at the first mill building in Cromford.

Originally the piece was to have been up for longer and created in thread, as the Cromford piece. However, due to last minute changes in the law regarding the work of non-Chinese artists working in China, this proved impossible. Instead a more transient piece was created under cover of darkness and photographed in stages - the multiple exposures combined in post-production to realise the full form.

By creating two pieces - in Cromford and in Shanghai - the piece aims to tell the story of mass-manufacturing and the global importance of the humble brick and stone building in rural Derbyshire.