You are on page 1of 4

Hammond 1

Taylor Hammond
English 102
Matt Teory
8 June 2014
The Avenue of the People
Located in between First Street and Railroad Avenue on Laurel Street stands a few
citizens of Port Angeles. At least, not the real ones. On August 9, 2008 The Avenue of the
People was unveiled for the first time to the local community of Port Angeles. Consisting of 15
different pieces displayed in a natural-like manner, The Avenue of the People represents the
body language of 15 different individuals within the community. Within each piece contains a
story of their own, for instance one of the sculptures is a representation of the body language of a
pregnant woman from the community. The question that comes to mind is why would the artist
believe that it was important to sculpt the body language of different types of individuals? The
artist, Bob Stokes stated that, The interpretation you can make when you see it is your own
judgment call, (Callis) which leaves us the option of coming up with a message of our own. My
belief is that The Avenue of the People is a piece that demonstrates humanities natural attraction
to herd instinct through the simple characteristics found within body language.
Body language can imply a lot about an individual. It can imply their current state of
emotion, if they are in pain, and even if they are ill. It is interesting nonetheless that all of this
can be implied simply by noticing the body language of one or several different individuals. So
why would Bob Stokes create sculptures of people based purely off of body language? Maybe it
was to express the unspoken story of the few subjects he chose or maybe it was to prove an even
bigger point. If ideas can be expressed through different forms of communication such as spoken
Hammond 2

word or even writing than is it possible that a story can be read just by reading the body language
of a certain subject? Up until now man has focused on the form of communication known as
speaking and writing so why not try another form of communication? Of course the form of
communication we have in place now is highly effective, but since we are at such a high point of
existence than what is there to stop us from trying a different method? A less direct approach?
Maybe a more metaphorical approach that could one day develop into the standard form of
language.
For centuries humans have already applied body language to very important tasks. Tasks
such as a king standing, and maybe even posing, in such a manner that would lead those around
him to believe that he is fit to lead. Or maybe even the posture of a beautiful woman to prove
that she is both beautiful and capable. These various types of body language have been written
down and recorded throughout the world, but not written in the common sense of writing. They
have been painted, crafted, sculpted, countless hours of hard work being put forth to ensure that
the subject resembles the very essence of being that the artist is so painstakingly trying to
replicate in their own way. The end result being the immortalized state of that subject and their
essence, to be remembered and gazed upon for centuries to come. We see these beautiful
creations almost everywhere now, almost like a testament to time itself, on the internet, at
museums, and, if youre lucky, in places that only our family and friends have ever heard about.
Creations like the statue of Augustus, the infamous first emperor of Rome, that has a small child
holding on to the toga next to his right leg. Aside from the importance of the metaphors in place
by the presence of the child in the statue the posture of Augustus shows us naturally that,
Augustus shows himself as a great military victor, (Fischer) just from the body language and
the armor alone. This statue, to this day, is still capable of persuading the average person that the
Hammond 3

man who was portrayed here was a great and powerful leader thereby capturing his very essence
during that era. As this statue shows, posture can bring tell a story about a man without even
saying a single word.
Each individual piece on The Avenue of the People have their own story to tell. As
mentioned earlier the pregnant woman stands as record of the posture that woman held when she
was pregnant, but she isnt the only subject that was immortalized in that instant. There is also
the man who stands beside a light post that speaks of a story where watching the world from a
light post is worth more than the common comfort of watching it through a television screen.
What makes The Avenue of the People so unique is the way it tells a bigger story by combing
several smaller ones. Every piece has their own story of course, but each story equally
contributes to the larger whole. One question we might ask this piece is why are all of the
characters in one place? Is it to show that none of these events would have taken place if there
wasnt anybody around? This could be a possibility or maybe its that every story being told here
effects each other. And isnt that the main foundation of every organization ever created? That
every member plays their role to help contribute to the larger whole? I believe that this very idea
of every members importance to the outcome of the larger whole is what fuels herd instinct. That
sense of belonging or being helpful to others in some way or another. Its also this very idea that
drives the main force behind a common fallacy in critical thinking, the herd instinct. This fallacy
means that you make decisions based off of those decisions being made around you without
questioning the outcome for yourself. This is not to say that this idea of herd instinct is negative,
but to suggest that this idea maybe more apparent than we have may have originally thought. Im
using this point to demonstrate the possibility in which we all have a natural attraction to groups
of people more than we may realize. It happens more than often that a
Hammond 4

The role of this piece I believe, in conclusion, is to show the nature of the human instinct
towards herds by utilizing body language to assist in the realism of the herd on The Avenue of
the People. The body language of each individual in the piece gives us so many clues and details
about that subjects role in society as well as their own personal story that its almost
overwhelming to say the least. What we should take from the this piece is the very nature of
humans in the wild, but recorded forever in history as these statues. Think of it like a zoo, but
incased in ice. To carefully examine every detail of each subjects body language and how they
might contribute to the larger whole as a people. This piece was obviously meant to show the
true nature of humans and Im glad that it was recorded now and am hopeful that it will stay that
way for centuries to come.




Works Cited
Callis, Tom. "Ordinary People Sculpted on Port Angeles Street."
- Port Angeles Downtown Association. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 June 2014.
<http://www.portangelesdowntown.com/avenue_of_the_people.php>.

Fischer, Julia. "Augustus of Primaporta." - Smarthistory. N.p., n.d. Web. 07 June 2014.
<http:// smarthistory.khanacademy.org/roman-sculpture.html>.