“14 degrees and other variations”
WARC Gallery, Toronto, Ontario 2004
mixed media installation: primary source material, bloodwood
An exhibition that focused on topography and metaphor incorporating sculpture, photography and video. “14 degrees and other variations” is a work that explores True and Magnetic North both as geographical reference points and as political accommodation. A distance of some 700 miles separates the organic top of the earth (magnetic north) from the mathematical point (true north) designated by science, logic and rationalization.
Viewed from different parts of our planet, the angle created between magnetic and true north is called a variation or declination. True north is the imaginary point near the north pole that technology uses for navigation purposes. It is a mathmatical function that represents the stamp of mankind. The magnetic north pole is the point created by the earth's evolution where the magnetic forces point downward. Variations change from place to place around the surface of the planet. In Toronto the variation is 14 degrees, in Vancouver it is 17 degrees. It is inside of these variations we place ourselves both physically and of course, metaphorically. Within these variations we find our position in the world giving us posture and a sense of balance realizing we are caught between 'rational' thought and genetic instinct.
Two vessels, carved and shaped by hand from salvaged Brazilian bloodwood using mallets, chisels and Japanese hand planes, represent true and magnetic north forming the boundaries of our variations. They are the edges of the page, the horizon lines of our intellect and clearly there for us to transverse. In the vessel representing magnetic north you can smell the organics of the earth. It is filled with an essence ‘Bakhoor’ prepared for us by Zahra, a Berber woman from Morocco. In the other vessel representing true north you can touch the fasteners for rational thought, technology and construction. It is filled with brass screws, similar to the hardware of our trade.
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