The art of a liv­ing city

StarMetro Toronto - - Toronto - Here one day, and the next, and the next by Paul Chartrand aqua Cir­cu­lus by astrid Greaves, Carla lip­kin, lisa Gre­gory and sarry klein salmo salar: the Once and Fu­ture Fish by Vi­vian Wong. Car­bon Con­nec­tion by Cat bluemke. Photos ed­uardo lima/metro

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.

air Qual­ity

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.

land Use

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.

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