Unlimited Growth Increases the Divide


Happy Monday to all of you.  This morning I woke to a frozen world.  The first heavy frost was on the ground rendering the blades of grass very still with an icy white expression to them.  There was a dense fog on the water that spilled out onto a few roadways.  So the drive in saw me descending into these various realms and feeling decidedly charmed by the whole thing.  Yet another canvas is being created as this day begins that will never be repeated.  It will remain an original for as long as the mind can remember.

And various thoughts ran through the grey matter on this beautiful day here on the west coast.  A phrase has been rearing its ugly head a few times this week.  It is a statement that really gets under my skin.  For all of you who write, it might be a bit of thorn to you as well.  It is the phrase “Words are cheap. Actions speak louder than words.”

Personally I find words to be one of the most powerful tools on this planet.  Actions are in many cases a result of words, be they written or spoken. Words can never be described, nor should they be as cheap. Yes, they are misused constantly.  Are they used carelessly?  Most definitely.  I have a deep love and respect for these things we call words.

It amazes me what you can do with them.  I am sure you’ve had those moments when you’ve read a passage that just reaches inside and imprints the words upon your heart.  That’s not cheap at all.  In fact to me, those moments are priceless.  They inspire me and move me in oh so many ways.

And words cause just a wellspring of emotion, do they not?  They can cut you to pieces if when uttered, their intent is cruel.  The pain that can be inflicted is at times unimaginable in its intensity.  But they can also heal, tremendously so.  Words that are spoken out of love caress the fragile heart so very gently, like a balm they soothe.  They feed and nurture it as well.

Twice this past week I have come upon that aforementioned phrase which is such an abomination in my mind.

The thought that followed this was a building that was across from the college I attended here in downtown Vancouver back in 1993-94.  I was still smoking at the time, so during breaks I would sit outside with a coffee and cigarette in hand.  The building across from me was a small hotel with the words “Unlimited Growth Increase the Divide” written above the entrance way.  Curious about this rather auspicious statement I looked into its origins.
BC Hydro, which is quite a big corporation in these parts, began buying up the entire block.  The man who owned and ran the Del Mar Hotel offered this space to those who were on a low-income.  It was a clean and affordable place to stay.  Hydro tried to buy the property and went after the owner more than a 100 times.  Trust me, this property would have been worth a few million at that time and it would now be worth considerably more.  The owner was successful in staving this giant off and so the corporation built around the small hotel.

The inscription was put on this building as a reminder.  And where are we now?  We have an economy that surely cannot continually grow at the rate that it has.  As we saw in 2008 the weight of unlimited growth began to chip away at the base causing collapse.  I said this before and I will say it again, we must change how we do business.  It’s not about profit for the 1% anymore.  It’s about sustainability and longevity.  It is about fairness and quality of life for all of us.
I have inserted below a little write-up about this rather unassuming little building and the powerful words posted on her mantel.  Time to get a forum happening as to how we begin the process of changing the economy to a model of a more modest and usable format for all concerned.

We are now hearing phrases such as Fiscal Cliff.  Perhaps the time is right to begin to make the changes that are necessary.  The economy affects everyone in this world in some fashion or other.  For the common good, we need to make changes.  It will be painful initially, but no fingers are to be pointed.  If we value honesty, then why don’t we try living by it?

I am at a point now where I understand fully that I am responsible for my life.  I am responsible for my happiness.

I can blame my past.  I can blame everything around me, but at the end of the day theonly person that can change the circumstances of my life is me.

I have experienced some awful occurances in my life.  And you know, I could dwell on this and I could be the epitome of the the victim and all the world would tell me that I had just cause.

Do I?

I was given this life, blessedly so.  And this is what I will celbrate and explore to full advantage.

Happiness is mine, if I want it.  I accept.

Success is mine, if I want it.  I accept.

Love is mine, if I want it.  I accept.

 

About the Inscription

Description of Work:

“UNLIMITED GROWTH INCREASES THE DIVIDE”

The text consists of 7″ copper letters above the entrance to the gallery.
The text is cut from 1/4″ copper plate and installed in its original
red metallic state, inviting a “corporate” reading. However, it will
change with time and exposure, to a greenish, aged surface. The text
will be visually assimilated into the existing green color of the
building, and will remain permanently on the site.

Artist Statement:

“The strategy behind “Unlimited Growth …” is direct. It is directed at
those who operate our free-market economy in their own interests, while
excluding those interests that would be ‘responsive to the needs of the
community’. The subtext to “Unlimited Growth ..” relates to several
aspects of public art including the need to address the use of
site-specific work as a way of intervening in local issues, and in this
instance, acting as a marker of resistance by the economically
marginalized, as represented by a parallel gallery and a hotel
providing affordable housing. Walter raises questions related to the
systems underlying the transactions and power-plays that constitute
normal business in the world of real estate development. In Walter’s
art the museum without walls is also a museum OF walls, walls new and
old, as well as those walls that perpetuate economic class
distinctions. Her text on the façade of the Del-Mar Hotel will stand as
a witness to the various power-plays, including the threat to move B.C.
Hydro’s head office to the suburb of Burnaby, that led to the
development surrounding 553-555 Hamilton Street.” – from “The
Interventions of Kathryn Walter” by Bill Jeffries, Contemporary Art
Gallery, Vancouver, 1990

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