We Are Everything We Are Not: West Wall Project No. 4

In 2007, the Walter and Elise Haas Fund inaugurated The West Wall Project to recognize and support some of the talented artists who have received Creative Work Fund grants. Every 18 months, an artist is commissioned to create an original work for display in the Fund’s offices at One Lombard Street in San Francisco. The Fund then returns the work to the artist who contributes it to a nonprofit organization of his or her choosing, giving the work an additional life and benefiting an agency and its clients.

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Walter Kitundu has created the fourth West Wall project, We Are Everything We Are Not, a kinetic sculpture in the form of a rowboat. When viewers interact with the piece, it responds with light patterns and sounds suggesting the movement of a boat through water. Kitundu’s piece is on view during office hours from January 2012 through June 2013.

Artist’s Statement

Paddling across a body of water initiates a symphony of reactions as waves propagate from the sides of the boat, fish dive away from the bow, eddies drift in the wake, animals ashore react, birds respond. In the distance life returns to normal but it has been inexorably changed, however slightly.

We Are Everything We Are Not is meant to encourage us to broaden our attention to encompass both the intended and hidden consequences of our endeavors. But primarily, it is meant to be a delightful and thought provoking encounter.

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Walter Kitundu is a sound artist, installation artist, and inventor of original musical instruments that navigate the boundary between live and recorded performance. His most recent project was a 27 foot long, bird-themed, interactive, hand built, musical mural commissioned by the San Francisco Arts Commission for Terminal Two of the San Francisco International Airport.

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Kitundu received a 2005 Creative Work Fund grant in performing arts to collaborate with Kronos Quartet, creating original phonoharps and composing a work entitled Cerulean Sweet,dedicated to Sally Wingwall and using elements of sound drawn from jazz great Charles Mingus. Cerulean Sweet premiered at Carnegie Hall in March 2006. In 2008 he became a MacArthur Fellow.

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