Health & Safety Violation #15 – Spiral Twist Hazard

Ben Woodeson

21 May 2009

Electric engine for a random mechanism and cable. Variable dimensions

Ideas often spring from curiosity about the world, about how and why things work. The unknown, certain physical processes that are beyond our control, and physical matter itself, are potentially of interest in the experiments carried out by Ben Woodeson.

Woodeson reinterprets everyday accidents and sudden challenges and transforms them into premeditated events, provocations in the exhibition space. In the artist’s own words, his works are the result of “technical research involving maximum effort for minimum achievement.” And he allows us to experience this maxim physically, provoking a reaction or a smile. An aesthetic experience that may lead to temporary traumatic consequences if we get too close. Ben Woodeson’s work poses a challenge to visitors to the exhibition space, playing with their daring and sense of safety.

Woodeson’s installations use basic technologies to question the space that visitors are then able to enter under their own responsibility. Ludicrous automatisms, programmed to operate with no regard to the public, play with gravity, electrification, temperature variations… The visitor is wise and will work out how to dodge problems when he/she enters the installation.

Spiral Twist Hazard does not just put visitors’ intelligence to the test, but also their patience. It is one of the exercises (number 15) in a long series of “Health and Safety Violations” that the artist began in 2009, in which he uses domestic technologies to create installations that require us to respond, challenging the rules and safety regulations of the art institutions they are presented in.

Although the artist consciously intends to provoke visitors and the museum, the installation takes on a life of its own. It works under its own impulses and autonomy, oblivious to the consequences it may unleash, subject to the orders of the motor that activates and animates it.

In Spiral Twist Hazard, a seductively contorting cable dances to its own rhythm, whipping and rubbing the walls and the floor, indifferent to anything that stands in its way.