June 18th 2015
We first started out in Trinity Bellwoods Park, this time we were lucky to have both our emcees on board; Shamez Amlani in the top hat, and Michael Louis Johnson with the trumpet. We were accompanied by our friend John Cairnes with his bicycle sound system ‘The Empress’ blasting tunes, and the kind folks from Bike Pirates providing free bike tune-ups and getting you all safe and ready for the ride.
Our first performance, a short walking distance away, was Many Little Auditoria by John Oswald. John’s piece included many musicians, performing in a variety of genres, scattered around the top edge of the valley in the park. These acoustic performances were performed in 20 different areas simultaneously for 20 minutes, audience members’ experiences were dictated by the paths and performers they chose to visit and the speed at which they passed from one to the next. A big thank you to all of the participating musicians: Glen Milchem, Heather Segger , Bea Labikova, Bob Wiseman, Selina Martin, Aka Tenten, Tiina Kiik, Rick Hyslop, Michael Johnson, Mark Gane, Jason Freeman Fox, Dave Clark, Scott Thomson, Christine Duncan, Neema Bickersteth, Rebecca Hennessy, Raphael Roter, Kousha Nakhaei, Maryem Tollar, Pat Patrick, Julian Butterfiel, Suba Sankaran, Mary Margaret O’Hara and Andrea Koziol.
The second stop caught many by surprise as we headed down through the CNE to Ontario Place for a special visit to the West Island, which has sat closed to the public for some years now while always tempting us from behind its locked gates. It was an exciting opportunity for many to relive childhood moments from past visits to the park as we rode amongst old amusement rides and carnival pathways. As we rounded the corner of the island we came upon Max Streicher’s monumental installation Quadriga. Four massive inflatable horses, suspended in mid-gallop rose from the side of the island looking out over lake Ontario. While epic in scale and presence, the inflatable sculptures had a ghostly yet delicate presence, making their apparition in Ontario Place that much more mystical.
Riding away from these equestrian monuments we headed to the foot of the cinesphere where we saw a sculptural and sonic work by Marco D’Andrea, Stereo Pyramid. The works strong geometric form beautifully complemented the cinesphere behind it, while its droning ambient noises echoed over the park.
Leaving Ontario Place we headed west to a small parkette that sits on a traffic island between Fleet St. and the Lakeshore Blvd. In the middle of this clearing, participants set off in different directions to explore the urban trail signs installed by Simon Frank and Tor Lukasik-Foss. Their work, Naturivia Toronto, consisted of trail blazes and interpretive signage that aimed to reinvent the nature of hiking trails for an urban, contemporary audience. It was wonderful to witness the absurd choreography of hundreds of participants scurrying about the woods as dusk descended. This work was presented as part of an ongoing partnership with No.9’s Eco-Art-Fest, a summer-long public arts festival that promotes environmental awareness and sustainable living.
Following our nature hikes, we arrived at the foot of the Canada Malting silos to Ireland Park where 5 dancers emerged from an imposing limestone sculpture on the site. This piece titled Shoalmates, choreographed by Christy Stoeten, was performed by Meryem Alaoui, Christine Birch, Amelia Ehrhardt, Julia Male, and Catherine Murray. It takes its cue from the manner in which shoaling fish relate to each other and often adjust their behaviour to remain close to other fish in a group, while each maintaining independent movements.
Our final stop first had a special outdoor screening presented in partnership with Pleasure Dome. We were honoured to premiere a newly commissioned work by Leslie Supnet, projected on a 16mm bicycle-powered projector built by Martin Heath and Petra Chevrier. Supnet’s Ways + Means uses in-camera editing and shooting techniques to convey a hyperkinetic wandering through Toronto. The textures and colours of the urban landscape and the imagery of the city speeding by echoes the artist’s experience living in the city.
The after party was kindly hosted in the beautiful studio space of Clay & Paper Theatre, who graced us with puppetry cameos and an interactive performance. Many thanks to them for allowing us to descend upon them and their space with such a large group. We were entertained for the evening by Pleasure Dome with animated films also by Leslie Supnet, as well as live manipulated projections covering the warehouse ceiling by Peter Rahul, Paul Moleiro and Katie Switzer of the Analog Preservation Network. We were joined by the musical stylings of Dimestore Orchestra with Michael Louis Johnson on vocals and horn, Marcel Aucoin on piano and Wes Neal on bass.
The audience was treated throughout the tour by the Be Good Gelato bicycle that joined us for the adventure, and afterwards with delicious fare cooked up by Bunz Urban Cuisine. Thanks to Will Pimenta and Billy Vastis and co. for their hands at the bar, and to Owen Ardal and Leah Cooke for their hands selling tickets and posters.
Art Spin would not be possible without generous funding from both the Toronto Arts Council and the Ontario Arts Council. Valuable support also comes from Kronenbourg, a special thanks to Steve Reble, as well as Hoopdriver Bicycles, and the Community Bicycle Network. Of course we can’t forget our band of volunteers who continue to ensure your safety on the ride, including many individuals, CBN members and Bike Pirates. More thanks to Priam Thomas for all of the beautiful photo documentation, and Adam Seward for his video documentation. Special thanks to the folks at Ontario Place for letting us into their magical venue, to everyone at Clay & Paper for the same and to Eco-Art-Fest and Pleasure Dome for their partnerships in programming.