From One to Z
1998
Eastern Washington University campus, Cheney, WA

“With its deliberate mixing of numbers and letters, From One to Z is, by implication, about the vast panoply of human knowledge. Appropriately located in front of the new JFK Library at Eastern Washington University, the 70-foot meandering stream spatially defines a plaza, a mall, and their connections to the rest of the campus. Bornstein, once again chose to reveal the hidden history, geology, and geography of a place. Working from a terrain dotted with basalt boulders, or glacial erratics, formed some 16,000 years ago by the catastrophic Spokane flood, she made a waterway evoking this geological history. The stepping stones are bronze “tokens”, modeled after tiny clay Sumerian forms dating from 8,000-3,000 B.C. Long dismissed as inconsequential, these tokens have recently been found to mark the common origins of abstract counting and writing. (The fact that this monumental discovery was made by a woman scholar-Denise Schmandt-Besserat…was also appealing.) In their compression of knowledge, the tokens were the computer chips of their day”. “I find it remarkable that these once discarded artifacts illustrate the dynamic interconnection between, technology, cognitive skills, economy, mathematics, communication and social structure in prehistory. They illustrate the development of sculpture and picturemaking as part of the public process”.

"Enlarged up to one to two feet in From One to Z, the tokens, with their strange and varied shapes and simple, enigmatic markings, lie in the water on a flat bed of inlaid stones as though randomly tossed there by the elements. In this case the hidden voices are those of both this place and another place, the wild prehistoric Americas and the “cradle of civilization” across the world are brought together in the library, representing the flow of knowledge in both time and geography.”

Lucy R. Lippard, “Sliding into Place”, 1998 

ACRL Washington Newsletter Spring 2007, No. 60, pages 23-24

Bronze stepping stones: Largest: 3’
Water feature: 30’, river rocks
Commissioned by Washington State Arts Commission, Olympia, WA
Fabrication credits: Fabrication Specialities

Copyright © 2017 Gloria Bornstein