Nautilus project

The Nautilus Project was created for the illumine exhibition, honouring the 2001 opening of Arthur Erickson’s Waterfall Building. The work was completed over 5 days and echoes some of the architectural elements found at the site, including the golden spiral which is the form of the outer stairways which lead to the rooftop of the building.

The golden spiral is a mathematical equation found throughout nature in the shapes of seeds, flowers and even galaxies. It has no real beginning or end and can continue growing infintely.

A golden spiral was overlayed on a map of Vancouver with the ‘starting’ point being the Waterfall Building, which is near the entrance to Granville Island, and totally by chance the ‘end’ of the spiral was at SFU, another Arthur Erickson site. Wherever the spiral intersected the places where land and water met a site was chosen, for a total of 12 sites. Upon going to these sites it was discovered that, coincidentally, they were all parks. At each site natural materials were collected and later put into glass bottles. Each site had water as the one consistent element, water from rivers, creeks, ponds, lakes and the ocean – which also reflects Erickson’s use of water at both the Waterfall and SFU sites. 

The gallery installation included a table that was the shape of a golden rectangle, and held 72 glass bottles – 6 from each of 12 sites – filled with natural site materials, and arranged as a golden spiral. The wall above the table held the site map with the spiral overlayed on it, with sites marked. By following the map and counting off the bottles on the table, viewers could find the original location of the site materials. Magnifying glasses were provided for viewers to explore the contents of the bottles. 

The sites were also photographed and video taped, and video stills were presented on the gallery walls that also included GPS readings of the site locations. Maps were provided for viewers to visit the site locations themselves.

Commissioned for the illumine Exhibition opening of the Arthur Erickson’s Waterfall Building in Vancouver, BC, 2001