Andy Goldsworthy builds walls that have renounced their mission, forgotten the boundary line that they were supposed to demarcate, and gone for a walk. They wind their way around and between trees, up and down hills, and into and out of ponds.
Last year part of ‘The Wall that Went for a Walk’ at Grizedale Forest in the Lake District got blown down by the wind.
This month ‘s Art Monthly reports that Goldsworthy declined the Forestry Commission’s offer to repair the wall. Goldsworthy said that:
‘I knew that change would continue after the making of The Wall and that I could not dictate or determine what that change would be’
The writer and physisist David Bohm identified the tendency of us human beings to defend our thoughts and opinions, to take up fixed positions. Bohm wrote:
we often find that we cannot easily give up the tendency to hold rigidly to patterns of thought built up over a long time. This kind of thought leaves no room at all intellectually for any other possibility
Goldsworthy has resisted the temptation to attempt to defend his wall, and recognised that no fixed state is sustainable over time.
Even if the Forestry Commission fixed it this time, for how long would they keep repairing it: 30 years, 100 years?
The act of repairing the wall would have seen the wall take back its mission as a wall again, holding back nature and holding back time. The wall that went for a walk doesn’t hold back anything.