Balmforth's Failed Obelisk redefines our relationship to the obelisk, an object that is synonymous with technical achievement, triumph, human egotism and a hubristic connection to the divine. The obelisk symbolises stability, permanence and irrefutable authority, connoting a very specific type of power. Failed Obelisk takes the form of a traditional obelisk, with a detached apex suspended by a spring that appears to be coiled through the body of the monument. The image suggests a hypothetical former state of unity - broken when the accumulated tension of the compressed spring was released, forcibly disengaging the upper section. Through its sheer size and symbolic associations the obelisk is imbued with a palpable sense of potential energy. This latent energy is embodied in the mechanical function of the coiled spring, creating an opposition of tensions within the edifice. Failed Obelisk is a structure composed of the forces that will annihilate it, a testimony to the tendency towards instability within closed systems.The symbolic authority of the obelisk is, ultimately, fatally undermined by the failure to contain the mechanical forces concealed within. The release of the spring's pent-up energy destroys the symbolic integrity of the monument. Failed Obelisk renders the obelisk austere symbol of an inflexible and oppressive power, absurd. The result is a ruined monument to humiliated authority.