A Sign in Space by
Gunilla Klingberg

| 12 comments
A Sign in Space by Gunilla Klingberg

Stars are printed in the sand by a tractor as it drags a giant roller back and forth across the beach, then left to fade at the mercy of footsteps and the tide in this installation by Swedish artist Gunilla Klingberg.

A Sign in Space by Gunilla Klingberg

Called A Sign in Space, the project involved attaching a pattern made of tyre treads to a metal cylinder and mounting it on the tractor that cleans Laga beach in Spain each morning.

A Sign in Space by Gunilla Klingberg

There are thirteen performances over the course of the summer, every time the low tide and early shift of the beach-cleaners coincides.

A Sign in Space by Gunilla Klingberg

If you like this, check out a dance floor decorated with sieved icing sugar in our earlier story.

A Sign in Space by Gunilla Klingberg

Here's some more information from Klingberg:


Klingberg's work, A Sign In Space, is a graphic star-pattern composed of truck tires is printed as a relief on the sand at Laga beach during low tide. At high tide the pattern will slowly vanish as the tide rises.

The printed pattern is made with a mechanical device, a manufactured steel-cylinder, with the graphic pattern as a matrix relief made of truck tires. The cylinder is connected to the beach cleaner tractor which drives from side to side of the beach in the morning, creating the pattern covering the whole beach area.

A Sign in Space by Gunilla Klingberg

Following the lunar and tidal calendar, the pattern is remade again and again at all possible days at low tide. The work A Sign in Space is performed on dates when the tidal calender is synchronized with the the beach cleaners early morning working schedule- the pattern will be created on days when the low tide hour fits the labour working hours.

A Sign in Space by Gunilla Klingberg

Dates when A Sign in Space will be performed at Laga beach

On morning hours (9-12 am):
19th, 20th, 30th and 31st July.
1st, 2nd, 14th, 15th, 16th, 30th and 31st August.
14th and 15th September.

  • Chhhh

    Awesome! Sadly, advertisers will also love the idea…

  • Sofia – WinterStays

    This is a beautiful idea. Too bad it would have all been gone by 9am the same morning.

    • French

      That's its beauty!

  • DOttE

    Can I get an aerial view?

    • http://twitter.com/Dezeen @Dezeen

      We’ll see what we can do…

      Rose/Dezeen

    • http://twitter.com/Dezeen @Dezeen

      Voilà! Just added one above.

      Rose/Dezeen

  • Ginothy

    Looks great. I was half expecting to see a team of ingenious people crafting it by hand by rolling tyres around, so admittedly I was a bit disappointed to see it was produced by a pre-made pattern on a big roller.

    But then it probably isn’t possible to do it any other way on such a large scale and it does look brilliant.

  • Artful

    This appears to be a rip-off decorative version of the art concept created by Carl Cheng in 1988 for the Santa Monica Arts Commission: Art Tool.

    In his version, they roll out a miniature version of the city in the sand. It is still used today and is housed outside by the pier… hmmmm.

    Some pix here: http://johndoecompany.com/SMArttool.html
    or google: carl cheng art tool

  • Chris S.

    Ahh, people aren’t wrong about advertisers! Snapple has done this in the past: http://gingerbabygoesgreen.blogspot.com/2011/01/g… –

    Still pretty neat, though!

  • http://www.studio10a.tv Tom McPhillips

    I truly hate that last comment, nothing is ever entirely new – perhaps you’d have to go back to fabric or wallpaper printing rollers to get to the origin of the idea, just because you’re using a pencil to draw on a piece of paper doesn’t mean you are ripping off the idea of the original human who first put a pencil to paper!

    I like both works, and I think even if the old version influenced the new, (which I really doubt) they are very different works made for different purposes, and both succeed in their own way. Taking an old idea and making it new again is the very life blood of art and design.

  • SPG

    In the Netherlands we’ve seen this concept already for a couple years. There are beach patrols I think that drive around writing poetry in the sand with their tires.

  • Rowena

    I think this is a gorgeous idea, and yes it would be such pollution if advertisers started using it, should be a law against it!