In Principle & In Practice
In Principle & In Practice, 2006
Granite block, honed on sides, polished on top
Pool: 46’ x 143’ x 12”d. Letters: 9” thick x 24” tall.
Ohio Judicial Center, Columbus

This project was commissioned in conjunction with the renovation of the 1933 Art Deco Ohio Departments Building to create a home for the Ohio Supreme Court. The reflecting pool and surrounding plaza were part of the original building. I chose to treat the 8” x 8” black tiles that line the pool as a sort of graph paper on which to install words central to the principles and practice of Western jurisprudence. The letters are three tiles tall and 9” thick, a dimension designed to place the top face of the letters just at or slightly below water level. When the pool is filled, jets of water, naturally occurring ripples, and reflections obscure and distort the text. In winter, the letters sit starkly against the black tile or become blanketed with snow. These tenets of the judicial system written in stone—JUSTICE • TRUTH • HONOR • WISDOM • COMPASSION • HONESTY • EQUITY • INTEGRITY • REASON • PEACE—are subject to constantly shifting conditions. They can be blurry, even difficult to read. The conceptual core of the project is the tension between the solid, seemingly immutable text, and the conditions—both physical and political—that make the concepts fluid and elusive.


In Principle & In Practice