The Wheel Project

Gardiner Museum of Ceramic Art

Toronto, Ontario, CAN  2002

The Wheel Project was a community art installation at the Gardiner Museum of Ceramic Art, running from February through April 2002. The project was developed by artist Sanjit Sethi in collaboration with Philip Beesley and involved diverse community groups in Toronto. Over four hundred makers including children, seniors, artists and amateurs each made ceramic wheels expressing individual themes. The resulting artifacts formed their own miniature city alive with multiple identities.

The exhibit design flowed through stairwells and lobbies, connecting distant areas of the museum and emerging through the front doors. Steel stands of varying height support individual wheels creating an inflected crowd. Clusters of wheels protrude from pleated wall surfaces. A series of artificial islands supporting were made using computer-controlled rapid prototyping machinery. Groups of wheels are gathered into constellations. Dense masses present complex formations while at the edges individual wheels drift and reach outward. The fluid forces of crowd dynamics are reflected in the patterns that emerge.