stainless steel turnstiles, dampers, springs, dimensions variable, unique commission
A mass of turnstiles are grouped together in the form of a grid. Once pushed, each turnstile returns to a pre-set position, inviting us to explore the spaces between them as though inside a maze. Turnstiles marks a crucial development in Random International’s longstanding exploration of the relationship between humankind and machine; the installation focusses on the physical and spatial nature of this relationship purely through analogue means. There is no digital component, the interaction is born solely from merging mechanical and human movement. In developing Turnstiles, Random International was inspired by the image of a typical mechanical turnstile—tripod and metallic—an object immediately familiar from football stadia, train stations or supermarkets. The turnstiles that make up the artwork are, however, far from readymades; each turnstile is the result of bespoke fabrication at Random’s studio. Turnstiles are barriers. Individually, the objects resemble gates typically used for crowd control but here, their quantity, proximity and geometric arrangement defy any logical use. Rather than being a means to an end, the turnstiles, and the human act of moving through them, is an experience in and of itself. This unexpected grouping of familiar objects creates an environment in which visitors can explore their own instincts and kinetic responses in a playful and surreal manner. Through such experimentation, Turnstiles invites us to question the physical presence of networked systems, how they relate to us, and how we live with among them.