Five Circle Project: Vancouver, CBC-TV

CBC Television Studios, Vancouver, BC, March 2002

The Five Circle Project: Vancouver is an installation based on twenty sites in Vancouver, and was completed during an artist residency at CBC Studios Vancouver from March 12 to 21 for the ZeD Beta v.1 pilot. ZeD is an interlacing of television and the internet and invites viewer participation via the net.

The underlying structure of the 5 Circle Project are the archetypal symbols of circles and spirals -- which speak of our interconnectedness with the Earth, and the Universe. The circle and spiral are found world-wide -- in all peoples. The circle is an expression of unity, completeness, and integrity - and speaks of the journey of life, of wholeness, of the sun and the moon. The spiral is found throughout nature, as in the structure of sunflowers, nautilus shells and in galaxies in space.

These symbols are also used in sacred geometry, which is the embodiment of harmonic waves of energy, melody and universal proportion, and speak of our connections to the larger whole. It is believed that sacred geometry can be understood by people on an intuitive level, and according to geometer Robert Lawlor, enable(s) the mind to become a channel through which the 'earth' (the level of manifested form) could receive the abstract, cosmic life of the heavens.

The Five Circle Project begins with a map of Vancouver, and overlays it with five concentric circles, radiating outwards from the CBC studios in downtown Vancouver. The concentric circles are reminiscent of raindrops falling onto water; radiating outwards, and this image reflects the large amounts of rainfall that generally fall on the west coast -- it also happens to be similar to the CBC logo which is made of airwaves radiating outwards into space. Theoretically, this piece could continue into infinity, with sites chosen along it at different points -- inviting viewers to journey, and to question their place, not only in the land, but also in the Universe.

Four sites were chosen on each of the five circles, beginning with true North, East, South and West for a total of 20 sites. For the first four days natural materials were collected along the sixteen sites along the four inner circles and brought back to the studio to became part of an installation which was then exhibited, as a work in progress, on air for one week and online at the CBC ZeD site. Each day the sites shifted slightly so that by the final day the sites radiating outwards from the CBC studios actually formed a radiating, or Fibonacci, spiral.

The main frame for the installation is five feet by five and half feet with12 horizontal tracks that house 144 clear jewel cases filled with natural materials -- ranging from leaves and bark to water and seaweed. Once the piece was completed it presented the viewer with a large window to natural materials found in the Vancouver area.

While I was working on this project, I was very aware of taking from the land, and wanted to give, or leave something behind, in return. As a gesture of giving back four trees were planted on the final day, one at each of the last four sites on the outer circle. It is interesting to note that I had a difficult time finding trees native to British Columbia in the nurseries around the Vancouver area. I was told that most people don’t want native trees because they grow too big. The trees that were planted are a native to British Columbia and were chosen for multiple reasons including their historical and magical meanings: Western Red Cedar, Western Hemlock, Douglas Fir and Red Alder. 

Special thanks to Tracey Tarling, Hannele Sairanen, Michelle Sylliboy and Douglas Phillips for their help.