Mov­ing Chains Kinet­ic Sculp­ture

This public art experience on Governors Island in NYC “The American Manifest: Moving Chains” by artist, Charles Gaines was created to highlight the reality of systemic racism.

The 110-foot-long ship hull with kinetic features sculpture is located next to the harbor that was an essential waterway in the transatlantic slave trade. When you walk through the piece, a series of chains are continuously cycling and are supported by idler and drive shafts, which terminate into the surrounding steel superstructure. The artist wanted eight of the chains to turn at pace of the water currents, while the ninth central chain moves faster, representing the hurry of ship and barge traffic. The overall effect of the weight and motion of the chains produces a rhythmic, undulating loop that can be seen, felt, and heard.

The McLaren Difference: Applied Ingenuity

McLaren Engineering Group worked with our client from the ground up to design the structure and mechanics as efficiently as possible while maintaining the ability to disassemble and reassemble it. When considering ice loads, catenary forces through the 18″ long chain links increased approximately five times that of the normal operational cases. The axles could see as much as 65,000 pounds of force!