Lingua Aqua

Lingua Aqua

Bear Creek Park Garden, 140 street and 88 Avenue, Surrey, BC, Canada
Artwork creator(s): 
Cassidy, Melanie; Filimowicz, Michael; Marks, Brady; Pasquier, Philippe
Text author(s): 
Quignard, Pascal; Hesse, Hermann; Miller, Casey; Waldo Emerson, Ralph; Sapir, Edward
Installation year: 

The structure is a self-enclosed fountain, with rain curtains and a reflective pool that contains a video monitor. The video shows a variety of community members speaking their native languages and employs a range of visual treatments

A mirror in the underside of the roof reflects the pool, the video images and viewers. Glass panels overhanging the roof are engraved with symbols drawn from a number of languages spoken in Surrey. Four support columns each house audio speakers that play a variety of sounds that complement or contrast with the content of the video. The audio component is transmitted through holes in the columns. These perforated designs form Braille texts related to the role of language across various cultures.

Text of the artwork: 


“You live a new life for every new language
you speak. If we spoke a different language,
we would perceive a somewhat different
world. If you know only one language, you
live only once.”
-Compilation of Czech proverbs (anonymous)

“Language is an anonymous, collective and
unconscious art; the result of the creativity of
thousands of generations.”
-Edward Sapir

“Language is a city to the building of which
every human being brought a stone.”
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Our native language is like a second skin,
so much a part of us we resist the idea that
it is constantly changing, constantly being
-Casey Miller

“Everything becomes a little different as soon
as it is spoken out loud.”
-Hermann Hesse

“Language is for the empty mouth what
dreams are for closed eyes.”
-Pascal Quignard (translated from French by Philippe

“He who loses his language loses his world.”
-Gaelic proverb

“A country without a language is a country
without a soul.”
-Gaelic – Irish proverb

Text theme: 
Diversity and similarity of language across cultures
Artwork theme: 

Diversity and similarity of language across cultures

The similarities and differences that link us and distinguish us between different cultures.



Surrey (2009).  LinguaAqua. <> : City of Surrey- Public Art

Students’ multimedia art destined for Surrey parks

Lavender, Terry (2008).  Students’ multimedia art destined for Surrey parks. <>(July 24) : Simon Fraser University

Surrey Public and Community Art diversity, language and place making

Gillespie, Virginia (2010).  Surrey Public and Community Art diversity, language and place making. Diverse. no. 3 (Été-Summer)