Relative and absolute
Walking into the room of white blocks arranged with precision, I was immediately unimpressed. In a vacuous room the size of soccer pitch, wooden pentagons, hexagons and octagons rick rack in a herringbone pattern. It felt static and finite. Until I walked around the perimeter. What was initially absolutely stationary and concrete shifted. The chevron rippled and undulated. With every step, the perspective changed and altered. Nothing was precisely the same. It became organic with abounding movement. The artist, Walter de Maria, pushes the boundaries between absolute and relative. And the installation forces you to consider what is fixed and stationary and also bursting with movement.
We think we know something. We count it. Measure it. Arrange it. It has a density and a boundary. And then, like magic, it floats away, shifts beneath the feet. It’s not solid or certain. It makes us question what we think we know to be true. Is truth absolute or relative? It is a quandry for the quantum physicists and chaos mathematicians.
If I am still, then the world (and this art installation) is still, stationary. But if I move, it becomes dynamic.