Which way should the stampede go?
The National Gallery of Canada hosted a talk yesterday with Roxy Paine, the artist/creator of the shiny new One Hundred Foot Line, installed last fall on Nepean Point, behind the gallery. Thanks to the organizing skills of Macleans' columnist Paul Wells, a few of us attended the talk and then had a drink, bite to eat later with the gallery's director, Marc Mayer.
Mayer was chatting about the gallery's plans for this year, including the installation of another sculpture out front of the building. It's this one (see right, image courtesy of the National Gallery) by renowned Saskatchewan artist Joe Fafard (whose nephew, Michel Liboiron, works in the office of Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff, incidentally.)
Mayer posed an installation question to the group. Should the horses be positioned running toward Parliament Hill, or away from it? Perhaps because most of us work on the Hill, and we like horses, Mayer's question was greeted with an enthusiastic chorus of "AWAY!!!" (well, Kady O'Malley and I were definitely of that view.) The director, however, seems to be leaning more to the idea of having the horses stampede toward the Hill. On reflection, that too seems to be an intriguing prospect.
It's an interesting question, and I don't think anything's been decided, so I thought I'd toss it out there to a wider audience. I'll let Mayer know the results of the informal survey, and whether there's any kind of consensus or persuasive arguments either way.
Update: Below are some initial replies, gathered up on Facebook and Twitter. (Note: from Sunday afternoon on, if you have suggestions/comments, it may be best to throw them in the Comments section of the blog, so we have them all in one place.)
@misterdevans: East, toward the sunrise... looking toward the future.
@AnnaAnthro: Can we lead horses to water but not make them drink? Have them run towards the river!?
Donna Jacobs (via Facebook): Towards!
Emily Hazlett (via FB): In light of recent events Egypt, I think they should be stampeding toward the hill.
Jan Lou (via FB): Towards Parliament Hill, definitely. I can see them racing towards those copper roofs in my mind's eye. Then, bring Fafard's gorgeous 'lying down cows' up from Toronto's financial district and put them on Parliament Hill's front lawn > now that's a picture...
@markdjarvis: do they have to go in same direction? if so, towards!
@acoyne: Always twirling, twirling towards freedom.
@AmandaBurcul: Brilliant Simpsons reference!
@kady: And I'm sticking with "Away!"
@Ken_Donnelly: I think it should be placed behind Parliament, with the horses running away, over the cliff!
@natnewswatch: To the Stones tune Wild Horses
@BrianAKilgore: RE:Horses -- so the most people see, most of the time, the front of the horses. Good project!
@ViewFromTheLeft: towards b/c away suggests disengagement & we don't want that w our politics it let's the politicans get away w too much
@BrianAKilgore: Plus so sun shines on heads and nicest background for visitors' photos
From Rick Anderson and Michelle Williams (who know quite a bit about horses)
@RickAnderson: Michelle says: "to water, def not toward traffic“
@RickAnderson: Rick says: towards real Stampede!
@Chris_Holcroft: Perhaps some horses running towards the hill, others away from it to reflect our conflicted attitudes towards government.
@FaithGoldy: Away or towards the Hill... So long as no one approaches the horses from behind.
Kathy Vey (via FB): Madly off in all directions, of course.
Juliet O'Neill (via FB): Like Louis Archambaut's geese sculptures at the Ottawa airport, which are moved to point south in winter and north in summer, the horses could run towards the Hill when in session and toward the GG's when not.