You’ve turned right in the empty space and you’re standing in front of the founding piece in the exhibition. A dazzling white, gallery wall-sized canvas.
You can just about make out the fine black lines and squiggles and shapes.
You step forward two steps to take a closer look. It’s an outline of planet Earth from above. Our seven continents and seven seas. And scattered over those seven continents there are billions and billions of tiny black dots.
After a few minutes standing in front of it with your eyes wide and thoughts alive, you quietly take four more steps forward towards a small plaque on the right hand side of the artwork.
“There are now over 7 billion humans roaming this 4.5 billion year old planet amongst around 10 million other species, in a galaxy of maybe 2 trillion galaxies or more.
We are all dots”.
Your face is filled with disappointment. You were expecting a little more information than that – something new to learn perhaps. You knew that the world’s population has almost trebled in the last century. You knew that there were billions of us and billions of others.
With a puzzled frown and a disappointed sigh, you take three crab-like steps to the left until you’re back in front of the installation.
Your eyes adjust to the proximity as you start to notice that what before had appeared to be patches of overlapping dots are actually just closely knit clusters.
You’re at the bottom right hand corner of the piece, staring at the dots in Australia.
There are so many of them – you didn’t quite realise how many until you paid attention. And each and every dot is slightly different. There are different shapes and sizes, some of them are smudged and not one single dot is perfectly round.
It’s almost too much for the eyes to take. You stare forward in a trance-like state looking for meaning until you realise you’ve momentarily forgotten about the rest of the world.
You take seven steps backwards across the perfectly polished wooden floor and when your feet stop together side by side it’s as though a light bulb switches on inside your head.
Your lips part a little, your eyes gaze up to the top left corner of the ceiling and your head tilts with them down towards the right.
You whisper the word out loud as a proud smile takes over your face and the energy within you settles. Your breathing begins to deepen and your shoulders start to relax.
You stay there, standing peacefully still, for minutes that feel like hours. You feel happy for some reason. You feel calm and still. And it’s more than pride or contentment for having found what you were looking for. There’s something in the meaning that makes you feel at ease.
Perspective; the insignificance of self and others.