Counter Weights was created as part of Alloy Pittsburgh, a unique visual and performing arts project co-founded in 2013 by Pittsburgh artists Sean Derry and Chris McGinnis. The project is a partnership between Rivers of Steel Arts and Kipp Gallery at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Every two years Alloy Pittsburgh invites proposals for a select group of artists to develop temporary site-based artworks at the Carrie Furnace National Historic Landmark.
This project looked at the historical and material qualities of the structures that still stand at Carrie Furnace. In particular, the counterweight system in the Car Dumper house exemplifies a light weight quality to an otherwise solid metal structure that appear to hang as effortlessly as chain of beads. Counter Weights creates an homage to the site by recreating the counter weights on site in a lightweight, sheer fabric, and hang these weights in different locations away from the origin of inspiration. The use of a semi-transparent material emphasizes the peaceful and airy quality that the site seems to imbue while the placement of the counter weights gives a nod to the fact that every aspect of the furnaces is part of an overarching system, and each part of that system is important to making sure the furnaces can work as a whole.
Counter Weights by Sophia Sobers