Monday, September 30, 2019

Shoreline Dilemma at the Toronto Biennial of Art

Man made changes to the waterfront have been happening for hundreds of years and many of the buildings near the harbour stand on land that used to be in the water. The Toronto Biennial of Art "embraces the unquantifiable fugitive, and unknowable, and like the shoreline, resists the systems that seek to discipline and control". I took in the art works at 259 Lake Shore Boulevard East at an old Volvo dealership with the old car lifts still in place, now it is a treasure trove of art installations, paintings, videos and photographs. The New Red Order by Adam and Zack Khalil is pictured at top.
The Biennial gives the history of the joint; first it was part of Lake Ontario before the land was filled between the Don River and Ashbridges Bay. Then the first tenant was a chemical company in 1945, then in 1954 it was divided in two - half to a showroom with several car dealerships, half to a warehouse that later housed oil and electrical supply companies. I imagine it will soon be the site of a glass-facade condo complex. For now it is a maze of art exhibitions with the entrance on the east side of the building. You can take in the Biennial from September 21 till December 1, 2019.
Visibility is a trap neon sign by Laurent Grasso
From the Biennial's website; "Those who study civic ecosystems argue that old buildings are needed to incubate new ideas, which is what artists are offering here, if only temporarily. Artworks gathered at 259 Lake Shore consider different forms of relations in light of the connections and disconnections that characterize the present. Videos prefigure the catastrophic effects of the Anthropocene; clusters of tin monarch butterflies are programmed to respond to seismic data; intricate drawings document Inuit life before forced assimilation. Directly inside the building’s doors, a massive wooden replica of Toronto’s harbour immediately makes apparent the human-made alterations of the land and waterscape, all in the service of industry."
One of Dana Claxton's LED fireboxes with Indigenous women wearing cultural belongings

See more art after the jump.

Reveries of an Underground Forest by Hera Buyuktasciyan
A collaboration created Lo'bat; "Lo’bat is a jellyfish-like robot with narratives of fear embroidered across its diaphanous belly. With eyes positioned on the opposite wall, the robot comes alive when people enter the space. Installed across the room are English reinterpretations of twentieth-century Farsi poetry produced in collaboration with contemporary authors and translators."
Design on the underside of the Lo'bat parachute

We’re Getting Younger All the Time by Lisa Steele and Kim Tomczak
104 robotic monarch butterflies by Fernando Palma Rodríguez

Sinaaqpagiaqtuut/The Long-Cut is a project by Embassy of Imagination

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