KAHNOP • TO TELL A STORY
An 800-foot-long stone path of words, is the twenty-second public artwork commissioned by the Stuart Collection at the University of California, San Diego and was built in conjunction with the San Diego Metropolitan Transit System’s (MTS) extension of the Mid-Coast Trolley line north to the University campus.
The text for the UC San Diego walkway pulls from the writing of authors and scholars with ties to the University and its history. Organized by a spine of keywords composed by Ann Hamilton, this concordance of documents weaves together threads of thinking from many different disciplines.
The piece was built line by line, rather than as a singular continuous narrative, and yet clear themes emerge and recur throughout the 1300-line composition. The threshold between land and water, particularly California and the Pacific Ocean, is made present, as is an attention to the micro world of particles and atoms and the macro world of the cosmos and protoplanets. Themes of social justice and revolution, environmental activism, technological advancement, and cultural mythology are punctuated by the words of poets affiliated with UC San Diego’s Archive for New Poetry.
A feminist narrative transcribed by two Kumeyaay scholars exists in bands situated at a regular interval throughout the entire length of the piece, creating its own cadence and rhythm within the larger whole. These juxtapositions form a field of text and an infinite number of paths to be composed and recomposed every time someone walks its surface.