Leigh Christensen



  • Sculpture


  • Steel
  • Wood


  • H1500 x W1595 x D100mm

Leigh Christensen , ‘MainFrame’ (1994), University of Auckland, Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland

Images: Bronwyn Holloway-Smith, Public Art Heritage Aotearoa New Zealand, 2021


A work appropriate for the School of Computer Science, the information sheet installed with the work explains:


This sculpture by Leigh Christensen was acquired for the Computer Science Department in 2010. The sculpture was inspired by the logic circuits that are used in the design of computers.

It represents a circuit for adding two 2-bit binary numbers to produce a 3-bit sum. It also shows how the circuit works, using ball-bearings to represent bits. Large ball-bearings represent 1, small ball-bearings are 0. After the circuit has been initialized the numbers to be added are set-up on the top plank. When the ball bearings are released, after a great deal of activity, the sum will eventually appear at the bottom plank. The logic of the circuit is entirely correct and is typical of the serial circuits used in the very first computers.

‘MainFrame’ was the centrepiece of an exhibition by Leigh Christensen at the Oedipus Rex Gallery in 1994. The exhibition comprised a number of pieces inspired by the computers and their history. We have two other works from the exhibition on display, the ‘Difference Engine’ on floor 2 and ‘Bessie and the Bug’ on floor 5.”