3 weeks, 30+ artists, a landscape in transition
TORONTO, Sept. 6, 2013 − From the creative curatorial team behind The Leona Drive Project and the Museum for the End of the World comes Land|Slide: Possible Futures, a large-scale art intervention responding to a world in transition – where past, present and future collide. Over thirty local and international artists will install site-specific works exploring multiculturalism, sustainability, and community at the 25-acre, open-air Markham Museum in a massive public art exhibition to run September 21 - October 14, 2013.
“Branded as “Canada’s high tech capital,” Markham epitomizes the 21st century edge city, being the most diverse municipality, in one of the most agriculturally rich regions in the country,” said project lead and Chief Curator Janine Marchessault, director of the Sensorium: Digital Arts and Technology Research centre in the Faculty of Fine Arts at York University. “This ecology and history makes it the ideal location to spark a collective conversation around the history of the land, the people that dwell in it and its possible futures.”
Like the hugely popular Leona Drive Project, which transformed six vacant Willowdale bungalows slated for demolition into interactive public art installations, Land|Slide will bring artists, urban planners, ecologists, educators, civic leaders and the general public together in a unique community engagement initiative. Land|Slide will transform the Markham Museum, including its 30 historic buildings from the 1850s-1930s and over 80,000 historical artifacts, to create a fascinating backdrop against which artists explore and reinterpret some of the most pressing issues facing Canadians today: how to balance ecology and economy, farming and development, history and diversity.
Working in a wide range of media – from film, sculpture, installation and performance to digitized diaries, 3D projections and augmented reality – the invited artists have been commissioned to reinterpret the site and draw out new histories and futures for a world in dramatic transition.
Canada’s pioneering conceptual artist IAIN BAXTER& contributes MARKHAMAZE, a walkable labyrinth cut into the grass and marked off with his iconic ampersand and other symbols capturing the spirit of ecological impact. Radical queer maximalist Allyson Mitchell, a professor of women’s studies at York University, crochets cobwebs into the corners of The Chapman House, which used to be located at the current site of Markham’s famed Pacific Mall. Titled Guh Why Low White Ghost Lesbian, her work examines the empty promise of colonialism and haunts a racist and homophobic history.
Chinese artist Xu Tan’s Echo Wall, built along the mini train tracks in the Markham Museum, invites local Chinese community members and Unionville high school students to perform in his pavilion. Dutch architect Frank Havermans, recently featured at the Hong Kong Architectural Biennale, reinterprets the historical intelligence that he finds dormant in the pulleys of the Strickler Barn to understand the push for urban development.
More project descriptions and artist bios can be found at landslide-possiblefutures.com
An opening day highlight is BAXTER&’s Concert for Car Horn - An Homage to Ant Farm, a tribute to the San Francisco art collective’s 1976 automobile opera CARmen. The concert will be performed live onsite at 4pm and 7pm on the opening exhibition day, September 21.
Complementary programming includes a free guided augmented reality (AR) Land|Slide mobile app allowing visitors to access exclusive geo-locational content and artist talks and docent tours of the site in English, Chinese and Punjabi. In the evenings, a different Land|Slide emerges, with night-time projections and performances including curated Saturday film nights and food programming. Cultural commuters can catch PWYC bus rides from Toronto’s Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art (MOCCA) to Markham every Saturday.
Innovative workshops and panel discussions, coordinated by York Professors Jenny Foster (Environmental Studies) and Chloë Brushwood Rose (Education) tackle issues like: why heritage matters (Sept 22); how hunger is a sustainability issue (Sept 29) and the role of public art in sustainability (Oct 6). The goal of the discussions is to engage communities in Markham that are marginalized by economic and language barriers and empower under heard voices in the urban planning discussions that map the future of development in Markham.
Project Lead and Chief Curator
Janine Marchessault is a Trudeau Fellow, professor of Cinema and Media Studies and director of Sensorium: Digital Arts and Technology Research in the Faculty of Fine Arts at York University. For more than two decades, she has been working with the curatorial collective Public Access to investigate new models of urban public art. Land|Slide extends her ongoing research focusing on urban space and cartographies of place.
Chloë Brushwood Rose is an associate professor in the Faculty of Education at York University and a member of the Public Access Collective. Her research explores the significance of contemporary art and visual culture for teaching and learning, with attention to dynamics of social difference and self-representation. She is currently working on a book manuscript titled More than I Can Say: Digital Storytelling, Participatory Media, and the Challenge of Self-Representation.
Jennifer Foster is an associate professor in the Faculty of Environmental Studies at York University. She studies urban planning and design, focusing on environmental justice and novel ecosystems. Her research explores the ecology, aesthetics and politics of post-industrial urban spaces such as rail lines, factories and terrain vague in cities such as Toronto, Paris, New York and Milwaukee.
Land|Slide: Possible Futures
When: September 21 - October 14, 2013
Hours: Thurs-Sat 12-10pm, Sun, Tues, Wed 12-5pm. Closed Mondays.
Extended Hours: Sun, Sep 22: 12-7pm and Mon, Oct 14: 12-5pm
Where: Markham Museum, 9350 Markham Road, Markham | Map
Facebook: Land|Slide Possible Futures
Media Contact: Amy Stewart, Communications, Faculty of Fine Arts, York University
416.650.8469 | firstname.lastname@example.org