Helping Shape and Share the Newest Stuart Collection Piece with the Masses

Special Collections & Archives sources information for internationally-acclaimed visual artist Ann Hamilton and creates website allowing online visitors from around the globe to learn about “CONCORDANCE”

Big news in the art world: UC San Diego welcomed its newest piece, “CONCORDANCE,” to its famed Stuart Collection, one of the nation’s foremost site-specific, contemporary art collections. Created by artist Ann Hamilton and currently under construction, “CONCORDANCE” is an 800-foot long stone pathway of words that extends from the new Blue Line trolley station entrance into campus along Rupertus Walk.

To source the walkway’s phrases and quotes from prominent UC San Diego authors and scholars, Hamilton asked Special Collections & Archives (SC&A) for help conducting research of the university’s archives. SC&A Director Lynda Claassen and colleague Nina Mamikunian—Archive for New Poetry curator and Literature, Theatre and Dance Librarian—quickly got to work identifying and reviewing several materials in the Library’s manuscript collections. Together, they provided useful information to the artist, which ultimately shaped the final product.

Soon thereafter, creating a website to virtually showcase and articulate the artwork was brought into the discussion. The site would provide people walking on the path—as well as those unable to visit campus in person—the ability to readily source the 1,300 quotes in the piece. Electronic Resources and Digital Projects Coordinator Matt Peters spearheaded the creation of the site with the help of Library Web Manager Jenn Dandle. Collectively, the team logged approximately 60 hours on the project. The end result: a virtual experience that allows visitors to take a dive deep into the contents of the pathway.

The text in “CONCORDANCE” is organized along a central spine of words and woven throughout is the Kumeyaay poem “Yeechesh Cha’alk” (“A Woman’s Heart”), the story of the first woman composed by Kumeyaay scholars Alexandria Hunter and Eva Trujillo. It can be read in both directions, whether one is entering or leaving campus, and brings together seemingly separate disciplines (social justice and revolution, environmental activism, technological advancement and cultural mythology), which are punctuated by the words of poets affiliated with UC San Diego’s Archive for New Poetry, a special collection housed at and curated by the Library.

Just as one can read the physical artwork from several directions, one can navigate the website in several ways: orienting by spine word, by individual lines of “Yeechesh Cha’alk” that are interspersed throughout the piece, or by the index of works used in the piece arranged alphabetically by author. Online visitors can also read the complete uninterrupted text of “Yeechesh Cha’alk.”

By arranging the quotes not by subject matter but by word-in-common, Hamilton achieves a fluidity as one thought flows to the next in an almost stream of consciousness manner. She plays with the idea of linearity; the text of each line is uniform in size and shape to its neighbor, but the sheer size and scale of the piece prohibits one from reading it left to right. Instead, as one walks the path, the reader picks up fragments from each quote allowing them to compose their own poem and make new connections.

Linearity is also reflected in the website. One can read a full quote or just as easily the reader can click a link and be taken to the full work that the quote is pulled from. Each quote is accompanied by the citation with a direct link to the work in the Library’s catalog.

Described as an “ocean of words” by Stuart Collection director emerita Mary Beebe, “CONCORDANCE” celebrates the artistic, scientific, activist and political contributions made by UC San Diego faculty, graduates, scholars and others connected to the university.

At its heart, “CONCORDANCE” and the accompanying website capture the spirit of the university and the work that students and scholars do here. It invites participants into a realm of exploration and invention. It piques interest and dangles a thread, those fragments of thought that ask to be pulled, researched and examined so that new discoveries can be made and new ground can be broken.

“The Library’s collaboration with the artist on this piece, both in physical and digital format, is impressive to say the least. I am so pleased to see this type of partnership take place between a Stuart Collection artist and UC San Diego’s Special Collections & Archives and look forward to seeing how this work helps engage our students and the wider community with the arts on campus,” said Jessica Berlanga Taylor, newly appointed Stuart Collection director.

The Stuart Collection team plans to unveil the finished work in early 2023. While the pathway is under construction we invite you to explore the website at

This story was originally published in print in Explore magazine in June 2022. As of July 2022, the pathway has been renamed, KAHNOP • TO TELL A STORY.