The World Wall is message of hope, a wake up call to action for those who cherish the unbridled fury of the human spirit and the hope of all people for a future without fear.
The World Wall is art that you enter, contemplate with a quiet ferocity, are affected by, and ultimately blown back into reality with a mission on your mind. The Wall reminds us that if we are not outraged by what is being done to us, we are not paying attention.
The World Wall is a metaphor for the human evolution in seeing and acting that is required to transcend linear thinking and head off the downward spiral into cultural collapse. Like our future, the World Wall is not possible without a deep collaboration between worldviews. The Wall itself is a contradiction—how do we maintain individual artistic expression while blending the creative input of several artists so that the result is a harmonious whole? The World Wall embraces this dilemma; the balancing of spirits, the melding of artistic expression. It is a reconciliation of fears between many factions usually opposed, now collaborating. It is not complete as a work of art without its separate components in place, each piece linked and interdependent upon the rest. But once complete, it trumps the whole because the Wall is synergistic—that is, the whole transcends the sum of the parts like a symphony rising out of the efforts of individual instruments.
The formal nature of the world’s dilemma is the danger of a linear mode of thought as a guide to action in systems which are inherently circular. The circular installation is a break with linear thinking, with the two dimensional expression of painted canvasses. The World Wall pushes us away from the linear structure of single purposeful action into the circularity we see in organic and social systems which blur the distinction between cause and effect. It is not meditative, it is transformative. It suggests to us that our simple linear notions of causality, which lead us to think of actors, the objects upon which they act, and the transformation of these, be replaced by a circular notion of cause and effect.
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The Canadian Environment Awards Citation of Lifetime Achievement
Remarks by Sheila Watt-Cloutier
Vancouver, BC Canada
June 5, 2006
Canada is an immense raw canvas of mostly untamed landscape, vast geographic remoteness, tenuously connected but resolute communities, and a still flourishing indigenous vitality embedded in its core. These characteristics render a remarkable uniqueness to the Canadian consciousness, and a pervading thematic underpinning for the World Wall.
West coast aboriginal tribes have long conceptualized the world as being ‘sharp as a knife’. That edge is the frontier where human settlement and human thought, everything we know as civilization, confronts wildness. That edge is also the place where, in Canada at least, two ways of being in the world, the indigenous and non-indigenous, still co-exist. These two ways of being yield two kinds of human condition, each with its own set of circumstances. They collide at the knife’s edge, usually with disastrous, rarely with brilliant, results. The history of this collision tells us that the world is impoverished each time an indigenous culture falters. Yet these different ways of thought are, as potential, within everyone. We can reach into ourselves and find two versions of life, two ways of speaking and knowing. This is the gift of collaboration, but it is also the imperative of our survival as humanity.
Knowing where that edge is, and restraining its broad sweep across the landscape is critical to our future. In many areas of the planet this boundary has been obliterated; in a few it remains assaulted but intact—Canada is one of those. Canada has the talent and capacity to safeguard this frontier, to keep the world sharp. And this, if sustained, will be one of Canada’s greatest legacies for the future. How to instill in the World Wall imagery of Canada that is both novel and iconic while remaining unclichéd and critically relevant is perhaps the most daunting challenge facing the Canadian project.