The art of a living city
In the mission for a cleaner, greener, more sustainable Toronto, progress requires greater awareness.
First released in 2011 by the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority, The Living City Report Card rates the GTA’S environmental health. Oftentimes, that crucial info doesn’t travel far beyond the desks of municipal agencies, environmental NGOS and other specialists who traffic in white papers.
So, to animate the findings, the conservation authority partnered with Evergreen and project curators Crazy Dames to present a public art exhibition — on until Dec. 31 at Evergreen Brick Works.
“It’s a way to raise awareness and engage the broader public in the conversation,” said Ryan Ness, senior manager at the conservation authority.
The exhibition isn’t just great at communicating the report card; with its emphasis on interdisciplinary collaboration, it also helps develop new solutions, said Crazy Dames’ Sara Udow.
Download the app and then search the sculpture’s metropolis with your smartphone to reveal all the squiggly subterranean pipes shuttling the oil that keeps our cities humming. Artist Cat Bluemke’s augmentedreality piece is intended to cause us to think more actively about our own participation in the manufacture and consumption of carbon-based fuels.
Using traditional and digital animation techniques, Gustavo Cerquera Benjumea’s Bad Air visualizes the unseen pollution in areas of high traffic congestion.
Nearly all textiles are recyclable, but 85 per cent still go to Toronto landfills. Paul Chartrand has turned used clothing, like socks and sweaters, into fossilized nests upon which new life grows. The flax plants sprouting there could one day be used to make linen.
1:1 Collaborative’s project, a series of soundscapes installed around Brick Works, asks us to recognize the water systems, both natural and man-made, that are integral to urban life, though they’re almost always made invisible.
With a field recording of a cormorant colony, captured at the Leslie Street Spit and installed as a sound sculpture in Brick Works’ chimney (mimicking a condo), artist Cole Swanson considers the tensions between development, space and resources.
The problems caused by the dense shorebird population mirror the problems caused by intensification just across the harbour.
Lisa Vanin’s three-panel painting showcases the richness and diversity of the Toronto biotope.
There’s an informal contest at Brick Works to count the species Vanin represented in the piece. I’m told the answer’s somewhere north of one hundred.