First please allow this bold claim. The appeal of a model train set lies not in the sexual inadequacies of a certain type of man, but in the chance to see a world made of cycles.
Watching Murmur by Ray Lee puts one in mind of these maligned toys. It has been installed in a basement filled with a mechanical whirr. LEDs travel around on wide aerial circuits.
There are no trains but, when the main lights go down, it is not hard to imagine planes. With eight or nine sets of spinning arms on metal tripods, it suggests the air traffic of an entire hemisphere.
But planes and trains are not the only things to circle our planet. Artist Ray Lee is more interested in electromagnetism and other invisible fields. The whirring tripods play music. It is celestial.
In full flow, murmur is breathtaking. It is a landscape with a pulse. These points of light cannot be stopped and you worry there may be just too much activity. But nothing goes wrong.
Which brings us back to train sets. These, likewise, never crash. It could be they too are following invisible fields of energy, or possibly that is just what they reveal. No wonder they divide people.
Murmur can be seen in the show Phase 5 until 27 November as part of the Liverpool Biennial 2010. For more details see the Biennial website.