South Pointing Chariot

Kate Conlon's avatar Kate Conlon

Kate Conlon utilizes the methods and language of scientific investigation to explore the ways in which we make sense of the world. Her sculptures, installations, and paintings examine the strategies and tools used to understand physical landscape and spacescape. While researching “dead reckoning”—the navigational practice of calculating one’s current position by merely estimating the direction and distance traveled—Conlon stumbled across the South Pointing Chariot, a fabled ancient Chinese device used to calculate direction of travel. She constructed her own version of the South Pointing Chariot, of which there are no physical iterations in existence today. Her version of the device was concocted through piecing together research, and although functional, is flawed by design. Conlon’s work highlights the inefficacy and absurdity of attempting to understand the world around us, reminding us of our futility and insignificance in the universe.

Entry Details
  • Art form: 3-D
  • Depth: 5 feet
  • Medium: Wood, found bicycle wheels, brass
  • Width: 6 feet
  • Year created: 2013
  • Height: 7 feet