- installation by Anna Gustafson
Snow Fence is a double spiral labyrinth*, 50’ in diameter and 4’ high, constructed of flexible and easily obtained snow fencing. Made of red-dyed wood slats, this iconic Canadian article will create a large, dramatic installation with minimal materials, which is easily mountable anywhere in the world.
Snow Fence is inspired by the Classical Greek myth of Theseus slaying the Minotaur. Of all the Athenian youths sent into the labyrinth to be sacrificed, he was the only one to survive. When Ariadne heard that he was to be sacrificed to the Minotaur, she gave him a spool of red thread to unroll as he made his way through the maze, so that he could then find his way out again. This knowledge allowed him to focus on defeating the Minotaur, because he could clear his mind to face one challenge at a time.
In this case the red snow fence is both the labyrinth and the red thread. However instead of creating danger, fear and anxiety, the never-ending pathways of Snow Fence inspire journeys of exploration and discovery. Each of the two entrances lead to the center which is neither a goal nor destination, but a turning point on the journey. From opposite sides, two people embark on a dialogue of discovery, traveling in their own spiral. Crossing paths in the middle, at journey’s end they realize that each completed where the other began. Through this shared experience, they perceive that though traveling on different paths, there is an equality and balance in their common humanity.
Deceptively simple and elegant, this installation will be startlingly beautiful whether on green grass, white snow, red earth or grey sand. The open-slat structure reveals patterns of movement and casts shadows on the ground, changing as the sun crosses the sky. It will engage, intrigue and inspire participants of all ages to walk along the generous 4’ wide walkway.
The construction of Snow Fence is an opportunity for community participation in the creative process. Though of great value as an art installation, once erected it will also be a unique platform for actors, dancers, musicians and other performers to create their own work with and in response to the space created.
* "Beautiful!! Technically, however, the Snow Fence is not a labyrinth; rather, what I would characterize as mirrored spirals. In order to classify as a labyrinth, the design should contain at least two "switch-backs" or turns within the path where the walker changes rotational direction -- clockwise to counterclockwise or vice versa."
The Labyrinth Society