From 1994-1995, as a senior studio art major at Hamilton College, I tried creating a space where people of all faiths could unify in spirituality rather than in doctrine. I had spent my junior year living in Paris and my sophomore and junior summers in Egypt. Travels in Europe and North Africa led to a great appreciation of churches, mosques, and temples.
Before 1994, I had never touched power tools, but when I decided to create an enterable building, I picked up a drill and winged it. The most interesting part of my thesis project was the interaction with passersbys. Everyone wanted to know what was happening and then they wanted to engage in conversations. Rather than existing solely as a sculptural form, creating the structure and discussing spirituality in sub-Arctic upstate New York wind and snow, became a performance piece.
From students and faculty who had remained on campus over winter break, there were reports of the thunderous crash of the structure. In retrospect, I was grateful that it met its demise before completion, so that it didn’t fall on visitors seeking peace. By winter break, everyone had enjoyed a chance to experience the art and to voice their thoughts.
The collapse of my unifying spiritual construction marked an eerie foreshadowing of imminent world issues.