Permanent Installation of 700 Walking Canes at Harborview Medical Center Orthopedic Clinic, Seattle, 1997.
The rolling motion of the wainscot echoes the many and various modes of procession through the corridor. My intention in presenting walking canes in this way was to have their recurring rise and fall felt internally, to be experienced in much the same way that ocean waves are experienced by the beach walker. A kinesthetic resonance between this space and its users is a reminder of the rhythms of our own daily rituals, rhythms that change according to age and ability, but nevertheless continue.
Walking Wall is comprised of 700 altered ash walking canes progressing through a service corridor of phones and restrooms, into the corridor-shaped entrance of the orthopedic clinic. From there the canes continue the full length of the clinic waiting room, installed on a 90-foot-long soffit over the gurney waiting area. The wavelike motion ebbs mathematically into a state of full rest.
The motion of the wainscot continues unbroken through the entire 60-foot length of hallway, though the canes are only visible in four separate niches four, six, and twenty feet in length. Because the wave motion is continuous, a person passing through the hallway experiences the artwork as a rhythm sympathetic to their own motion.