Page 1

00 Scale Artworks to 2012 Observations and Orreries by Paul Malone

Paul Malone studied sculpture at Reading University and the Royal College of Art and has since exhibited extensively in the UK and Europe. His studio is based at the Art in Perpetuity Trust in Deptford, London and his current work explores alternative, lost and forgotten scientific theories.

Website :

This book and all included images and text Š 2012 Paul Malone.

Introduction : About Model Making

The artworks described in this book make use the language of the 00 scale model railway environment. They were developed as a way of exploring concepts related to the forms and practices of model making, especially those that seek to interpret the theories of astronomy and cosmology. Model making may be seen to operate in several ways. By convention, it is usually interpreted as verisimilitude, transcribing from the macro world to the miniaturised. This initiates processes that bring the otherwise chaotic elements of experience under comprehension and therefore control. On the other hand, it can work from comprehensible sub-units (because they are small scale and controllable) to emulate and predict how the full scale world might operate under idealised circumstances. However, this reliance on the experiential world is not necessarily the whole story. Once operating within the model environment, changes and abstractions can be speculated that would be impossible otherwise. Of course, these syntheses arrive fully loaded with all their a priori assumptions and interpretations.

Micro dolly with miniDV camera for 'Railroad Studio 02'

Movies At first, my interest in the 00 scale environment came about through wanting to make an extended micro-dolly for my digital movie camera. The intention was to use it for animations and set-piece tabletop explorations. But one thing led to another‌ and the initial 1-2 metres extended to several and then looped round to form a circuit. Obviously the table top could not contain this expansion and so it migrated to the floor. Once there, a whole new set of possibilities opened up in terms of the exploration of interior spaces. The track could be laid around the studio, under furniture and odd and occasional objects. The artist's feet and hands (initially staying out of shot) became an integral part of the sequences.

Movies : Railroad Studio 02

'Studio Railroad 01' (2007) is a movie that explores in triple screen format the artist's studio at floor level. The 3 screens integrate the motion of the camera as it is towed along an extended micro-dolly of about 50 metres. Eventually the towing engine suffers a malfunction and the artist's feet appear in pursuit...

Movies : Footfall Railroad

'Footfall Railroad' (2007) is a mouse's eye view of a domestic interior‌ pursued by giant feet. Towed on an extended micro-dolly, the camera circuits the floor in twists and turns as if to avoid capture - even hiding beneath the sofa. But to no avail, the feet are there waiting for it to re-emerge.

Movies : Night Train

'Night Train' (2008) is a tour around the artist's studio at night with the camera on the last wagon of a train of tankers. The ensemble rushes around the track at breakneck speed until one of the tankers de-rails. The giant hands of the artist then intervene to correct the situation and the action proceeds...

Movies : Terminus

'Terminus' (2010) introduces a sequence of encounters with various walls, their deconstruction and the 00 scale model railway environment. Projected onto the walls are a series of movie clips of walls and tunnels dissolving into daylight. This sequence is re-viewed from the aspect of a camera mounted on a model train, as it twists and turns across the floor.

Movies : Train Time

'Train Time' (2008) is a movie project that seeks to integrate different scales. Within a dream sequence - from Venice to Montefalcone by train - the movie journeys from model railway to real and from a country idyll to the industrial. The movie starts with an almost imperceptible impetus to motion and a stand of carriage windows that emulate the passage of film frames.

Movies : Blur Train

‘Blur Train’ (2012) is a two minute tour of a city made from empty cereal packets. The train carries ahead of it a lighting system that illuminates the interior as it proceeds. The model cityscape is further explored, in a painterly way, by the blurring of the image into amorphous blocks of intense colour. Halfway into the movie, the elements break up into abstracted dots.

Cantilevered Trackways and Aerial Orreries Hardware requirements for the movies meant that lots of track, stock and power units accumulated in my inventory. I began to look for alternative uses for these assets, resulting in a series of floor based and aerial installations. These latter used a system of cantilevered trackways so that the installation had to be looked at from beneath, inhabiting an emulation of the heavens. Encapsulating its attendant possibilities, these were envisaged as conceptual orreries or models of astronomical systems. Around these would run combinations of philosophical and scientific concepts in the form of textual model tanker wagons.

Orreries : Foolish Perses

'Foolish Perses' : C4CC Project Space, King's Cross, London "Foolish Perses ! Work the work that the gods ordained for men, lest in bitter anguish of thumos seek your livelihood amongst your neighbours, and they heed you not." Hesiod : ' Works and Days '

Trackways : Climate Model No2

This installation (2008)seeks to recreate the cyclical properties of a complete planetary atmosphere according to current models. A train of oil tanker wagons runs around a trackway that traverses the gallery above head height. Arranged along the track are acrylic holders containing images of day time skies. The train passes underneath each of these ‘stations’ as if engaged in a progress of observance. "Never one to be intimidated by lack of computing power the artist harnesses the enthusiasm of the model railway community for an electro-mechanical solution." This work aspires to fully embrace the implications of modelling in terms of the regressive elements inherent in its processes. 'Climate Model No2' Perpetuum Mobile exhibition. 2008 APT Gallery, Deptford, London

Trackways : Kinetica Art Fair 2012

The Kinetica Art Fair in London 2012 was an opportunity to do a new install of the orrery ‘The Inconstant Heavens’ in the Ambika P3 space. Stall 39 was taken under the name PM+NR and shared with the sonic frequency visualisations of Nicola Rae. The installation provided its own set of technical problems. The stall consisted of just two temporary screens, of indeterminate dimension, in the darkened area of the Fair. I solved this by cutting the outer corner of the square and making adjustable U-section aluminium ties at each corner. In this way the trackway could be suspended over the heads of the crowds passing underneath. The ties also supported two banks of LED lights to illuminate the museum boxes. Around 10,000 visitors attended the event over 5 days. I also presented my talk on the associated astronomy; ‘The Electric Universe’

Trackways : The Inconstant Heavens

Trackways : The Inconstant Heavens

In this 2012 manifestation, the aerial installation 'The Inconstant Heavens' was constructed in the artist's studio as part of the London Festival of Architecture. It consisted of a cantilevered model railway in 00 scale, emulating an orrery of the Solar System. Instead of planets, here there are substituted concepts to do with the morality of the night sky, from selected astronomers and philosophers of the 17th and 18th century, taken from the tract of the same name by Livio Stecchini. The route around the track was filmed using an on-board camera facing along the trackway and displayed on a screen to the side of the controller

Trackways : The Inconstant Heavens : Featured Wagon Texts

'Newton : Six Primary Planets' The six primary planets are revolved about the Sun in circles concentric with the Sun, and with motions directed towards the same parts, and almost in the same place. Ten moons are revolved about the Earth, Jupiter, and Saturn, in circles concentric with them, with the same direction of motion, and nearly in the planes of the orbits of those planets; but it is not to be conceived that mere mechanical causes could give birth to so many regular motions, since the comets range over all parts of the heavens in very eccentric orbits; for by that kind of motion they pass easily through the orbs of the planets, and with great rapidity; and in their aphelions, where they move the slowest, and are detained the longest, they recede to the greatest distances from each other, and hence suffer the least disturbance from their mutual attractions. This most beautiful system of the Sun, planets, and comets, could only proceed from the counsel and dominion of an intelligent and powerful Being Isaac Newton 'Principia'

'Hume : The Modern System' The modern system of astronomy is now so much received by all inquirers, and has become so essential a part even of our earliest education, that we are not commonly very scrupulous in examining the reasons upon which it is founded. It is now become a matter of mere curiosity to study the first writers on that subject. David Hume, Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion (1779), Part II.

'Laplace : The Axis 01/02/03' The axis and the movement of rotation would be changed. The seas would abandon their ancient positions, in order to precipitate themselves toward the new equator; a great portion of the human race and the animals would be drowned in the universal deluge, or destroyed by the violent shock imparted to the terrestrial globe; entire species would be annihilated; all monuments of human industry overthrown; such are the disasters which the shock of a comet would produce, if its mass were comparable to that of the earth. We see then, in effect, why the ocean has receded from the high mountains, upon which it has left incontestable marks of its sojourn. We see how the animals and plants of the south have been able to exist in the climate of the north, where their remains and imprints have been discovered; finally, it explains the newness of the human civilization, certain monuments of which do not go further back than five thousand years. The human race reduced to a small number of individuals, and to the most deplorable state, solely occupied for a length of time with the care of its own preservation, must have lost entirely the remembrance of the sciences and the arts; and when progress of civilization made these wants felt anew, it was necessary to begin again, as if man had been newly placed upon the earth. Laplace Summary

Trackways : Cereal City 'Cereal City' is a movie and installation work that sought to re-create a miniaturised cityscape from the empty boxes of my annual breakfast cereal consumption. A camera was mounted on the 00 scale microdolly which then proceeded to thread its way through this environment . The boxes supported bright colours and bold type faces. These were arranged in streets and covered alleyways depending on what would be the nature of the movie-shoot. At the back of the installation, the wall was lined with mirror Melanex which reflected the action in distorted imagery. In these movies I also include myself as an active agent. As if choreographing the movement of the train, I too am optically distorted in the Melanex. Stills from the Movie ‘Cereal City’ for the project ‘Plat du Jour’ Screening Festival, The Hague, Netherlands.

Trackways : Plat du Jour

Installation of ‘Cereal City’ at the APT Open Studios 2011. In the lower right image, the assemblage is being orbited by one of the 75 cms stretched tanker wagons

Tanker Wagons : Museum Boxes Together with the trackways and aerial orreries, there was also a need for the creation of a series of toy wagons. These were to contain the concepts and philosophies that were to inhabit that astronomy. As well as fulfilling their role as orbital participants, they could also be displayed as unique objects within their own museum display cases. The texts were to be included as printed acetates within the body of the tankers. They were cut up into strips and embedded within a swirling silicone medium; along with fragments of star maps and other objects. Hydrodynamic possibilities were implied by the chance alignment of poetic superimposition. With the 75cms series; these are stretched to emphasise the absurdity of their ontology. However, in contrast to their apparent irrationality, these too remain fully functional and can run on standard 00 scale track.

Museum Boxes : 23cms Tanker Wagons

'Hume : The Modern System'. Wall mounted 23cms long tanker wagon in its own museum case. 2012 Plexiglas, inkjet on acetate, acid etched nickel-silver, Bachman fixtures. “The modern system of astronomy is now so much received by all inquirers, and has become so essential a part even of our earliest education, that we are not commonly very scrupulous in examining the reasons upon which it is founded. It is now become a matter of mere curiosity to study the first writers on that subject.“ David Hume, Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion (1779), Part II.

'Critas : The Gods Resided' Wall mounted 75cms long tanker wagon in its own museum case. 2011 Plexiglas, inkjet on acetate, acid etched nickel-silver, Bachman fixtures.

“He [Sisyphus] said the gods resided in that place Which men would dread the most, that place from which, As he well knew, mortals have been beset With fears or blest with that which brings relief To their tormented lives - there, high above, In that great circuit where the lightning’s flash, Where thunder's baleful tumult may be heard, And heaven's starry countenance is seen (That lovely work of Time's skilled joinery), Where molten stones of stars descend ablaze, And wet rain starts it journey to the earth. Such were the consternating fears he sent To men, and such the means by which the gods Were settled in their proper dwelling-place (A pretty trick, accomplished with a word); And thus he quenched out lawlessness with laws”

Museum Boxes : 75cms Tanker Wagons

Digital Prints : Ghost Trains

The model rolling stock could also be used to generate a series of digital prints. Locomotives and wagons were placed on the scanner, the images stacked in layers and then compressed into trains of various sorts. The trains appear as a translucent ghostly presence floating above a distorted track. The prints are inkjet on unsized Fabriano paper and approximately 150cms long. Like the 75cms wagons, what is of interest is the excessive linearity and repetition in the works. In a comparative way, they come a full circle back to the initial movie making rationale for using the model railways. It is as if the wagons become a sequence of separate images passing into view - frame by frame.

Digital Prints : Ghost Trains

Inkjet print on unsized Fabriano 300gsm Top : Ghost Train : Black Texaco Middle : Ghost Train : Black Fina Lower : Ghost Train : Black Goods

Digital Prints : Ghost Trains

Class 20 locomotive in negative with 1970's BR logo

00 Scale Artworks to 2012  

Observations and Orreries. Catalogue of recent artworks related to scientific model-making and the 00 scale model railway environment.

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you