Invisible Forces

Location: Outside the Electronic Industries Association building, 2500 Clarendon Boulevard, Arlington, Virginia

Materials: red granite, quartz, lodestone, stainless steel

Date: 1987-1988

Size: Triangular piece: approx. 7 ft. 8 in. x 17 ft. 6 in. x 19 in.; Rectangular piece: approx. 13 ft. x 6 ft. x 19 in.

Description from the Smithsonian Archive: A half-circle wall of red granite is topped with a polished stone carved with a compass rose. In front of the wall is an 18 foot tower. One side of the tower is rough hewn rocks, while the other side is smooth stone with a metal zig-zag design running from top to bottom. To one side of both the wall and tower is a black and brown rock on red granite slabs. Further in that direction from the wall and tower are two curved red granite slabs.

Images: Additional pictures are available here

Additional Information is available at the Arlington Arts page ( mirror)

Thanks:  Much gratitude to Caroline Danforth of the Arlington County Public Art office for many of these images!

small composite photo of the Invisible Forces compass rose.  Image obtained by Mr. and Mrs. Chris Hanson Magnetic Information: There appear to be at least two lodestones as part of the work. Measurements by Chris "Xenon" Hanson with a compass showed the dark rock to be a lodestone, with another one buried somewhere near the compass rose (note: Sanborn denies that there's a second lodestone involved with the piece). Magnetic north is shown in this image. For details of the variation all around the perimeter of the compass rose, please click on the image to get a large (400K) composite photo that shows the different compass readings in each section -- you will note that the arrows on the small compasses point in different directions, depending on where they are located around the edge of the engraved compass rose.

It is also worth noting that similar compass roses appear in two other works by sculptor Jim Sanborn: Find the Lodestone in Bethesda, and Kryptos at CIA Headquarters.
image courtesy of Caroline Danforth  image courtesy of Caroline Danforth   image courtesy of Caroline Danforth   image courtesy of Caroline Danforth  image courtesy of Caroline Danforth

Page last updated: January 27, 2005

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