CREATION : DESTRUCTION

CURATED BY LAYNE HINTON & RUI PIMENTA 

FOR NUIT BLANCHE TORONTO, OCTOBER 5TH, 2019

Graphics by Layne Hinton.

 

ABOUT

A NOTE FROM THE CURATORS

All things reside on the borders of creation and destruction.

 

Inspired by its geographical area, this exhibition challenges our understanding of these seemingly contradictory concepts not in opposing terms but as extensions of each other, forces that both deplete and feed each other. There is nothing more primal, more essentially human, than the paradoxical relationship between creation and destruction. It is the essence not only of the natural world but our place in it, all of which can only be found somewhere in between creation and destruction.

In keeping with the Art Spin mandate Hinton & Pimenta have taken a site-specific approach, first selecting some unique and interesting venues, and then working with artists to respond to them with new artworks. Taking its curatorial inspiration from a geographic area that encompasses various sites including, a military fort, an old garbage incineration plant, and a decommissioned animal slaughterhouse, all of which embody the dualism of creation and destruction, this exhibition provides an engaging context for thinking deeply about this profoundest cycle of life.

- Layne Hinton & Rui Pimenta

Co-Curators

Nuit_Blanche_Toronto_2019_Signs_PriamTho

ABOUT THE CURATORS

Layne Hinton and Rui Pimenta are the curatorial duo behind Art Spin. Since 2009 they have been activating decommissioned venues and unique public spaces to produce large-scale group exhibitions along with curated bicycle-led art tours to showcase a multi-disciplinary range of new programming in alternative sites, most notably the reanimation of Ontario Place’s West Island for in/future in 2016. At the heart of their curatorial practice is a passionate interest in pushing the possibilities of what constitutes public art through site-specific/site-responsive practices via ephemeral modes of presentation.

ARTISTS

Kim Morgan & Kaitlyn Bourden, Max Dean & Jared Raab, Placeholders Collective: (Aylan Couchie, Jason Baerg, Logan MacDonald, Vanessa Dion Fletcher, and Ryan Rice), Studio F Minus, Gareth Lichty, Christina Battle, Francesca Chudnoff, Jonathan Schipper, Markus Heckmann

CREDITS

Creation : Destruction was produced by The City of Toronto and would not have been possible without Programming Supervisor Jeanne Holmes, and Production Supervisor Dan Surman who were instrumental in producing the entire exhibition area, along with their amazing teams of installers,

producers, and project managers. More thanks to the entire Special Events team at the City of Toronto and the many many volunteers who contribute to this event every year.

Curatorial research funding for this project came through the generous support from the Ontario Arts Council and the Canada Council for the Arts.

Many thanks to TAS, who worked with us to develop multiple projects on their site, specifically to Mazyar Mortazavi and Kelly Rintoul. We worked closely with Ilana Altman and Sarah Munro at the Bentway, the Fort York Historic Centre, City of Toronto Transportation Yard, and Stackt Market, and we greatly appreciate all of the work and collaborative energy that these folks put into this project.

ABOUT NUIT BLANCHE

Saturday October 5 2019, Sunset to Sunrise

 

Toronto’s free all-night contemporary art event invites adventurous residents and visitors to take to the streets from sunset to sunrise. Experience Toronto transformed by hundreds of Canadian and international artists. One night only, all night long.

 

Each year Nuit Blanche Toronto transforms different neighbourhoods in the city by inviting different curators to curate temporary public artworks that are produced by the City of Toronto. Art Spin Co-Curators Layne Hinton and Rui Pimenta were invited to curate an entire exhibition area as part of the 2019 event.

 

PROJECTS & SITES

Kim Morgan & Kaitlyn Bourden

 

Anatomy of an abattoir

Nuit_Blanche_Toronto_2019_AnatomyOfAnAba

THE PROJECT:

When a Toronto abattoir closed in 2014, some of its original contents were left inside. Anatomy of an Abattoir attempts to revitalize these neglected objects and make them part of the building’s exterior. In the lead-up to Nuit Blanche, the artists cast objects around the site—ducts, machinery and architectural details—in latex rubber. These castings, installed outside the building, gives the space’s interior a second life beyond its walls, inviting us to consider the past and the present by turning the structure inside out. For years, even as the city grew around it, this abattoir resisted change, remaining an active site of production, industry, destruction and consumption. Calling back to this history, the building will be given a rebirth through sculptural interventions. The building’s once-secret interiors are rendered playful, beautiful and uncanny, lingering like ghosts brought to life outside the space.

Special thanks to NSCAD University, Couzyn Van Heuvelen and Brian Bourden.

THE SITE: 2 Tecumseth, previously Quality Meats​

For years, even as the city grew around it, the abattoir persisted, remaining the last active site in a once heavily industrialized neighbourhood until it closed its doors in 2014. When it opened as a City-operated slaughterhouse 100 years prior, Hogtown’s meatpacking industry was booming—at its height this plant processed 6,000 pigs per day. 

 

The abattoir is a place of slaughter in the name of human sustenance, a contentious space that many would hide away, rather than address the daily sacrifices made to fuel the city. Now slated for future development, it leaves behind a powerful reminder about the relationship between accountability and denial.

This project was produced with generous sponsorship from TAS.

MAX DEAN & JARED RAAB

THAT MOMENT

Nuit_Blanche_Toronto_2019_ThatMoment_Pri

THE PROJECT:

This video work explores the exact moment when a creative act turns destructive: when a playful or loving touch becomes something more violent, when a caress becomes a slap.

Screened, appropriately, in an abattoir—a building that once signified the full spectrum of activity ranging from slaughter to sustenance—this video uses the visual and acoustical properties of hambone music and body percussion to develop, explore and examine the precise moment when one kind of gesture turns, almost alchemically, into its opposite, revealing the complexity and contradictions of both our intentions and our humanity.

THE SITE: 2 Tecumseth, previously Quality Meats

For years, even as the city grew around it, the abattoir persisted, remaining the last active site in a once heavily industrialized neighbourhood until it closed its doors in 2014. When it opened as a City-operated slaughterhouse 100 years prior, Hogtown’s meatpacking industry was booming—at its height this plant processed 6,000 pigs per day. 

 

The abattoir is a place of slaughter in the name of human sustenance, a contentious space that many would hide away, rather than address the daily sacrifices made to fuel the city. Now slated for future development, it leaves behind a powerful reminder about the relationship between accountability and denial.

 

This project was produced with generous sponsorship from TAS.

placeholders-matt-forsythe.png

PLACEHOLDERS

 

Aylan Couchie, Jason Baerg, Logan MacDonald, Vanessa Dion Fletcher (artists), and Ryan Rice (curator) 

LISTEN TO THE LAND

THE PROJECT:

A media projection cast upon a blockhouse—a heritage fortification at Fort York—teased out remnants of Indigenous presence buried in the strata of place and memory threaded through vignettes, accompanied by the creation of a new flag depicting the Dish With One Spoon wampum. Each artist in Listen to the Land takes a different approach. Logan MacDonald counters the longstanding colonial dominance constructed upon the surface of the site, overpowering those histories by projecting imagery of natural elements as both creative and destructive forces. Jason Baerg animates the site’s evolving memory and knowledge through an encoded language of abstractions. The lens shifts from battles, cannons and gunfire to microscopic biological life in Vanessa Dion Fletcher’s re-envisioning of colonial violence to reorient the natural sustainability of site. Aylan Couchie reintroduces Nishinaabemowin, a land-based describing language which predates Fort York by thousands of years. Nishnaabemowin’s function as a placeholder pushes back upon continued colonial naming and claiming of place.

COLLABORATORS:

Video Mapping: J-S Gauthier, Creative Software Developer: Kyle Duffield, Documentation Assistant: Kaiden Fontaine, Nishnaabemowin Consultant/Audio Performer: Blair Beaucage, Consultation: Immony Men, and thank you to OCAD University Life Science Department.

THE SITE: Fort York National Historic Site

A place marked by military might, the Fort York area was the site of Indigenous presence for thousands of years before this garrison was founded by the British military in 1793. 

 

Its location was selected for the protection provided by the old shoreline bluff of Lake Ontario to the south (now lled in), and Garrison Creek to the northeast (now relegated to the sewers below us). The founding of urban Toronto was made at this site, which fought off American soldiers in 1813, and has since resisted gentri cation and obliteration, evading years of plans to demolish it or divide it down the middle with a streetcar line or a raised highway.

Studio F Minus

Everyone wants a free baby

Nuit_Blanche_Toronto_2019_EveryoneWantsA

THE PROJECT:

Set on the Garrison Common, part of the old military grounds at Fort York, Everyone Wants a Free Baby! plays with themes of birth, power and collective experience. A toy baby will be regularly shot from a customized cannon, slowly descending towards the crowd below, as if dropped by the fabled stork. This project will invite the audience to consider creation and destruction as parallels to two of our strongest and most complex human instincts: the desire to nurture and the need to compete. Pitching violence against tenderness and greed against selflessness, the work will playfully ask the audience to participate in an act of transformation themselves. One of the most recognizable symbols of warfare in Western culture, the cannon, will be turned into a generative tool, literally launching new life into the audience’s midst.

THE SITE: Garrison Common, Fort York National Historic Sitre

Garrison Common was the site of a major battle between British and American forces on April 27, 1813. This open space provided a strategic vantage point for the fort’s soldiers to see enemy troops approaching over land. Counter to this site’s militaristic history, during the 1830s the fort’s buildings were used to shelter immigrants during a housing shortage. At another point, they served as a temporary hospital for those affected by the cholera epidemic. Today, this space functions as the site of countless festivals and other cultural activities, a far cry from its once- bloodied past.

GARETH LICHTY

HOARDING                                 

Nuit_Blanche_Toronto_2019_Hoarding_Priam

THE PROJECT:

co-produced with the bentway

In Hoarding, hazard tape—a material typically used to keep people away from spaces under construction—will wrap a series of “bents” that hold up the Gardiner Expressway. The searing neon-yellow of the tape will act as a vibrant beacon that draws audiences toward the work, offering invitation rather than a caution, permission to enter rather than a warning to stay away. Once inside, visitors will experience a unique, immersive space that evokes the warp and weft of fabric on a loom, the walls vibrating in concert with the wind. Just as the tape’s bright colour will highlight the utilitarian overhead space of the expressway, it's flickering, fluttering motion will transform the wind from an invisible, abstract natural force into something highly perceptible. By repurposing an industrial material that often signifies destruction, Hoarding will transform a hazard into a creative act, while giving audiences an opportunity to stand inside this transformation.

THE SITE: THE BENTWAY

Construction of the Gardiner Expressway, the arterial highway overhead, started in 1956. Even Fort York wasn’t safe from the original proposed route, which would have had it crossing directly over that historic site. Looking back on this car-centric urban planning, the expressway did create a greater connection between the east and west, but it also distanced residents from the waterfront, serving as a barrier to accessing Lake Ontario.

Today, through new and unique public spaces like The Bentway, this barrier is being transformed. What was largely an underutilized space is being reclaimed in a noteworthy example of evolving city infrastructure.

This project was co-produced with generous support from The Bentway.

Christina BAttle

NOTES TO SELF

Nuit_Blanche_Toronto_2019_NotesToSelf_Pr

THE PROJECT:

Notes to Self is an ongoing series of videos documenting a single, simple, repetitive act: Notes written from the artist to herself on a regular basis are set on fire one at a time, with varying degrees of success. These single-sentence texts feature everything from personal reminders and revelations to reflections on a wide range of news and cultural events. Structurally, these texts recall the familiar form of the social media status update—reactive, reflexive, emphatic. But while most online updates are designed to pile up into a permanent record of a user’s thoughts and beliefs, the notes in “Notes To Self” exist only for a few seconds on video before they are completely destroyed. The project, which has been ongoing since 2014, will be presented as a three channel video installation, creating an endless loop of creation, reflection and destruction.

THE SITE: Fort York National Historic Site

A place marked by military might, the Fort York area was the site of Indigenous presence for thousands of years before this garrison was founded by the British military in 1793. 

 

Its location was selected for the protection provided by the old shoreline bluff of Lake Ontario to the south (now lled in), and Garrison Creek to the northeast (now relegated to the sewers below us). The founding of urban Toronto was made at this site, which fought off American soldiers in 1813, and has since resisted gentri cation and obliteration, evading years of plans to demolish it or divide it down the middle with a streetcar line or a raised highway.

Francesca Chudnoff

HALCYON

191006031147Nuit2019-AndrewWilliamson959

THE PROJECT:

Halcyon is a video and dance performance designed to question the range of ways in which we constantly tune and adjust our self-presentation, both onscreen and in real life. How do we translate what we feel in our bodies into something material? Can we turn it into a colour, a pattern, a sound? Immersed in a deep blue field of colour, live dancers will trigger a cascade of melodic sounds with the movement of their bodies. Nearby, a backdrop of glitching, looping video will evoke an unending process of creation, mutation and disintegration. The result will be an intimate, embodied performance set against a fragmented data-moshing screen. A 12-hour performance that evokes questions of labour, fatigue and the limitations of the body, Halcyon promises to be a meditation on the accumulation of memory, the disintegration of movement, and the relationship between desire and distance.

COLLABORATORS:

Composer: Omar David Rivero. Dancers: Justin De Luna, Danah Rosales, Chenise Mitchell, Nyda Kwasowsky, Peggy Soria and Francesca Chudnoff.

THE SITE: The Bentway

Construction of the Gardiner Expressway, the arterial highway overhead, started in 1956. Even Fort York wasn’t safe from the original proposed route, which would have had it crossing directly over that historic site. Looking back on this car-centric urban planning, the expressway did create a greater connection between the east and west, but it also distanced residents from the waterfront, serving as a barrier to accessing Lake Ontario.

Today, through new and unique public spaces like The Bentway, this barrier is being transformed. What was largely an underutilized space is being reclaimed in a noteworthy example of evolving city infrastructure.

jonathan schipper

Detritus

191006011845Nuit2019-AndrewWilliamson925

THE PROJECT:

In Detritus, the audience will be asked to consider the transient nature of mundane objects—chairs, tires, toilets and more—by watching them be brought into existence only to dissolve back into a sea of salt. No matter how much we may wish to preserve such items, they are both fragile and transient by nature; the universe has other plans. Salt’s significance as both a mineral and a metaphor spans cultures, geographies and centuries. It has caused wars and been the basis for countless acts of colonial violence. But it has also been used to mummify bodies, save lives, perform rituals and build cities. It preserves and corrodes, heals and poisons, all at once. What better material to help us consider the cycles of construction and decay that shift and change our lives, even as we try to hold them in place?

Thanks the 677 Wellington St. City of Toronto Transportation staff.

THE SITE: SALT DOME

(City Transportation yard)

Functioning as a place for storing road salt, this unique structure is located on what has served as a City works yard for close to a hundred years.

Given the conditions of our winter weather, the salting of roads is an essential service in the name of public safety, and it has undoubtedly saved countless lives. Yet this same road salt is highly destructive to road surfaces and other infrastructure; there’s also the toxic effect that salinated melting snow has on creeks, rivers and lakes. This is but one consideration of the long and paradoxical history of salt— and its capacity to both preserve and destroy life.

This project was produced with generous sponsorship from TAS.

Markus Heckmann

LAB001 (Licht Am Bau 001)

Nuit_Blanche_Toronto_2019_LAB011_PriamTh

THE PROJECT:

Built in 1925 and closed in the 1980s, the Wellington Street Incinerator (a.k.a. The Wellington Destructor) while grand in design, was built to serve one of our city’s basest needs—the disposal of garbage. In response to this unique and historic site, artist Markus Heckmann will create a work that reimagines a now obsolete space. Once animated by the fires that fuelled the incinerator, the building has for decades been dark. Using light and projection, audiences will have the chance to peer into the imagined and mysterious “soul” of the building. With the brightly shifting focus and movement of the light, the structure’s very presence could appear to fade away. LAB001 will "rupture" the incinerator’s austere architectural shell aiming to reveal the complex dynamic at the very heart of our problematic relationship with material culture: the relentless movement of things from utility to waste.

THE SITE: The Wellington Street Incinerator (aka the wellington destructor)

Built in 1925 on top of the now-buried Garrison Creek, and closed in the 1980s, the Wellington Destructor, while grand in design, was built to serve one of our city’s basest needs—the disposal of garbage.

One can only imagine the smoke that once belched forth, shrouding a city drunk on the still-new promise of growth and opportunity that industry would provide. Today this industrial ruin is the source of exciting conversations about ways in which this heritage structure could be developed to service the evolving needs of Toronto’s citizens, manifesting yet another turn in the cycle of creation-use-disuse-repurpose.

This project was produced with generous sponsorship from TAS, with thanks to Janine Marchessault, and the Future Cinema Lab, York University.

The Fireside PRoJect

Hosted & performed by Michael Louis Johnson

THE PROJECT:

Our Nuit Blanche campfire was a special unlisted project spearheaded by the curators, which was located in the exact centre, or the heart, of our exhibition area. Hosted all night by longtime friends of Art Spin, Michael Louis Johnson, and tended by Ben Herman, folks were invited to gather around the fire and participate in a ritual in which they wrote down something they wished to create, or destroy, within themselves, and then ceremoniously burn this thought in the fire.

A special thank you to our friends Robert and Alex at Just be Woodsy for providing us with log benches and fire wood to fuel the project all night long.

PHOTOS

Photos by Priam Thomas and Andrew Williamson

 
SHOW MORE
 

SITE MAP

The Creation : Destruction exhibition area connected all nine curated projects through a walkable loop centred around Fort York & The Bentway, with a string of unique industrial sites on the north side of the train tracks. In addition to the nine projects curated by Art Spin, there were also five independent projects that thematically aligned with the Creation : Destruction exhibition theme.

CURATED PROJECTS

1. Kim Morgan & Kaitlyn Bourden / Anatomy of an Abattoir / The Abattoir

2. Max Dean & Jaren Raab / That Moment / The Abattoir

3. Placeholders / Listen to the Land / Historic Fort York

4. Studio F Minus / Everyone Wants a Free Baby / Garrison Common

5. Gareth Lichty / Hoarding / The Bentway

6. Christina Battle / Notes to Self / Fort York Visitor's Centre

7. Francesca Chudnoff / Halcyon / The Bentway, Strachan Gate

8. Jonathan Schipper / Detritus / Salt Storage Dome

9. Markus Heckmann / LAB001 / Wellington Destructor

INDEPENDENT PROJECTS

59. Lake Effects Projects / Eulogy for the Coffin Factory / The Coffin Factory

60. LeuWebb Projects / Thermally Speaking / Fort York Visitor's Centre                Ramp

61. John Notten / Stronghold / Fort York Blvd.

62. Christine Dewancker / Daylighting (without you I would be lost)        / Fort York Blvd.

63. Jonathan Tyrrell, Duncan Patterson / Sounding Bodies / stackt          market

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