‘Semaphores’ is a series of three sculptures by British-Argentinian artist Amalia Pica.
In the artworks, Pica builds on her interest in communication. Semaphore is a code that was used in early telegraphy to send text-based messages across long distances in visual form.
Coming from the stations, you’ll find the first sculpture at Canal Square, which is at the top of King’s Boulevard before you reach the canal. There is another on top of The Lighterman pub on Granary Square, and the third is on the roof of R7 – the pink building behind Central Saint Martins.
The rooftop sculptures are based on ‘Chappe Telegraphs’, an early and popular system of semaphore invented in France in 1792 by Claude Chappe. They use arm-like paddles to make signs that correspond to letters.
On Canal Square, the ground level ‘Shutter Telegraph’ is inspired by the English system invented by Lord George Murray in 1795. Using panels flipped by ropes, the system was very effective and could send a message from London to Portsmouth in 7.5 minutes.
The information panels at the sculptures show the semaphore alphabet, so you can send and decode messages, or you can download the keys here:
There will be a series of events to coincide with the Semaphores installation. Please check back for details.
About Amalia Pica
Amalia was born in 1978 and lives in London. She has exhibited widely internationally and her work explores forms of communication, metaphor and social engagement. Public collections include the Tate, London; the Guggenheim, New York; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; and the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam.
The King’s Cross Project
Amalia Pica’s Semaphores is part of The King’s Cross Project, a programme of art commissions for both the buildings and the public spaces of King’s Cross curated by Rebecca Heald and Tamsin Dillon. Commissions to date are No.700 Reflectors by Rana Begum, Aleppo at King’s Cross by Tess Jaray, Does the Iterative Fit by Tatham O’Sullivan, Almost Everybody by Tobias Rehberger, Zanzibar by Céline Condorelli, and Rhapsody in Four Colours by Rasheed Araeen.