In 1970 Joseph Beuys visited NSCAD in Halifax. It was his first trip to North America. He returned to NSCAD in 1976 to receive an honorary doctorate. On that occasion, he presented a public lecture, which was videotaped on half inch open reel. As he lectured, he illustrated his points on a blackboard. Gerald Ferguson salvaged the blackboard and screwed a sheet of plexiglas over it for protection. This became the first of Beuys\' well-known blackboard works. It is now in the collection of the Art Gallery of Ontario.
\"The Root Problem of the World\" is a two channel video installation that takes the video documentation of the Beuys lecture as its starting point. An edited version of the lecture plays on a relatively small monitor. A widescreen hi-definition video presents a digital version of the blackboard: part reconstruction of the blackboard (which is difficult to see on the video), part subtitled transcription of the lecture (which is difficult to hear), but also an animated riff on the ideas Beuys presents.