Category Archives: Urban

Lee Deigaard, Vixen. Vector (2013-17)

 

““Vixen. Vector” is a photographic series and installation that follows a former street dog essentially exploring Cartesian geometry on the streets of New Orleans (as she defies Cartesian dualism). She conducts a visual conversation with me using her body (and secondarily, the lines of the leash) to underline and express fleeting alignments and discoveries within urban (but also natural) spaces. I take photographs, shot from the hip as it were, cued by her pauses and interactions. How she moves, and how I move relative to her reveal angles of discovery and an essential and consciously rendered geometry. ” (from email exchange, June 2011)

“Lee Deigaard, Vixen. Vector
An arrangement of photographs chronicling sympathetic alignments and other canine geometries.

Former street dog defies Cartesian dualism, illuminates Cartesian geometry on the streets of New Orleans.

In my work, exploring levers of empathy (particularly between species), capturing the incidental signifiers (gesture, transient expression) relies on a convergence of reflex and impulse, situation and timing. On daily walks, tiger dog moves through the big city, carrying nothing, wearing nothing; her body is her vehicle and her expression. Photographs from our outings reveal fleeting and yet deliberate synchronicities and alignments– of limb and leash, shadow and sidewalk crack– created by a dog finding her place and translating her role within it. Through companionate mirroring of animate and inanimate forms, she delineates subtle harmonies. Her everyday geometry, its ephemerality and its searching sequences, are both improvisations and statements. To see the city through her is to discover a cursive- of routes and scent trails, of scribbled street runes. It’s an experience of deep reading.

Rescued from the streets, she retains aspects of a wild creature, like a coyote or a vixen, and the decisions she makes about where to go– the ways she exercises her autonomy, posits her theories of whereabouts and motives, and hunts the evidence– carry added poignancy.

Lee Deigaard lives and works in New Orleans, Louisiana and in rural Georgia. Her studio practice engages wild animals and collaborates with animals who are friends and family. Her work explores animal protagonists and the emotional spaces and physical landscapes where humans and animals co-habitate.” (credit)

Modelab, Ghost Walker (2014-15)

“Like photography negatives, urban design comprises information on what is not visible and only can be inferred by its contours. In this manner, urban geography becomes a catalogue of defeats and absences that can be interpreted from what once existed.

Based on Mexico City maps from 1867 and 1892, superposed on a 2014 Google map of the Juarez and Cuauhtémoc neighbourhoods, this project seeks to create an appropriation of histories through an artistic and scholar exploration of a specific street that ceased to exist more than a century ago.

Following the techniques of the Situationist’s dérive and Andrei Monastyrsky’s work with the Collective Actions Group, Ghost Walker: An Impossible Walk Through Mexico City’s History is a longitudinal study of a specific urban space, witness of a myriad of processes and modifications throughout 150 years

Ghost Walker (2014-15) has been presented at Muca Roma in Mexico City (2016), and as part of the group exhibition “Walk With Us” at the Rochester Arts Center (2022).

Participants: Sandra Calvo, Ramiro Chaves, Erick Meyenberg, Raul Ortega Ayala, Sergio Miranda Pacheco, Manuel Rocha Iturbide, Modelab.

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Modelab is an artistic initiative aiming to promote interdisciplinary projects at the intersection of public space, history, and cartography.

Formed in 2014 by Claudia Arozqueta and Rodrigo Azaola, Modelab projects have taken place in streets, parks, billboards, beaches, museums, vacant retail stores, and other spaces in Australia, New Zealand, France, Mexico, Taiwan, and the Philippines.” (credit)

Daniel Crooks, On Perspective and Motion – Part II (2006)

On Perspective and Motion – Part II from Daniel Crooks on Vimeo.

video still of people walking in a warped reflection

“I Love walking, particularly as a flaneur getting Lost in the back streets of foreign cities. I also spend a Lot of time watching and filming people walking in cities. It might have something to do with my training as an animator analysing people’s ‘walk cycles’.

There is something about the speed of walking; that rate of movement with a particularly human scale – not too fast, not too slow – the Goldilocks point for objects moving through a frame. And walking is not only a Linear movement through space, it also contains the internal pendulum cycles of swinging arms and Legs, the sine wave bobbing of the head, the Last-second infinitesimal raise of the toes.

As a subject for exploring normally unseen temporal structures, walking is almost perfect. There is a fundamental familiarity to it that offers the viewer a thread or a bridge between the known experience of the everyday and the abstract objects of our imagination.” (credit)

Diane Borsato, Touching 1000 People (2003)

Touching 1000 People

Performance intervention and photographs

2003

I read a study that suggested that when people are subtly touched, it can affect their behaviour and well being. For a month I went out of my way to delicately bump, rub past, and tap 1000 strangers in the city. I touched commuters, shoppers, cashiers and taxi cab drivers on the street, on the metro, in shops and in museums. The exercise was like a minimalist performance. I was exploring the smallest possible gesture, and how it could create an effect in public.

The action was performed for one month in various locations in Montreal in 2001, and repeated for ten days across the city of Vancouver in 2003.

EXHIBITION HISTORY

Vu, How To Draw Winter, Solo Exhibition, with catalogue essay by Amish Morrell, Winter 2006, Quebec City

Artcite, The Moon in my Mouth, Solo Exhibiton and Visiting Artist Talk at University of Windsor, Spring 2006, Windsor, Ontario

Truck Contemporary Art in Calgary, Sleeping with Cake, in ‘Mountain Standard Time: Festival of Performative Art’, Fall 2005, Calgary

Mois de la Photo, How to Eat light, Solo Exhibition curated by Martha Langford at ‘Occurrence’, Fall 2005, Montreal

CAFKA – Contemporary Art Forum Kitchener, Solo Exhibition as part of ‘Peace of Mind’, 2005, Kitchener, Ontario

Gallery TPW, Warm Things To Chew For The Dead, (Solo Exhibition), during Contact 2004: Toronto” (credit)

Diane Borsato, The China Town Foray (2008-10)

“The China Town Foray, Intervention and photographs, 2008 – 2010

I invited the Mycological Association of Toronto (an amateur mushroom hunting club) to go on a mycological foray in “Chinatown” or, the Chinese supermarkets and medicinal shops in Markham, Toronto. With field guides and magnifying glasses, we debated Latin species names and toured the suburban marketplace in the same manner that we would research and identify Ontario fungi in the forest or field.

Special thanks for the work and expertise of Alan Gan, and the participating members of the Mycological Society of Toronto.

The event took place in various locations in Markham, Toronto, in the summer of 2008. In 2010, the urban forage was repeated in New York City, with the collaboration of the New York Mycological Society. Special thanks to guest mycologists Paul Sadowski and Gary Lincoff.

EXHIBITION HISTORY

AGYUTerrestrial / Celestial and Walking Studio, curated by Emelie Chhangur , Spring 2012, Toronto

Articule GalleryTerrestrial/Celestial, Presented as part of Mois de la Photo, curated by Anne-Marie Ninacs, Fall 2011, Montreal, Canada

Umami Festival Performance, The New York Foray, Urban foraging events with the New York Mycological Society. Curated by Yael Raviv, Spring 2010, New York City

Mercer UnionThe Chinatown Foray, Solo exhibition, main space, Fall 2009, Toronto” (credit)

Omar Mismar, The Path of Love Series

“For a period of 30 days, I took a walk every day, navigating the city using Grindr, a geo-location gay mobile app that tells the users the vicinity of gay men around them. Each day I picked a man I desired, and tried to get as close as possible to him using the app. I kept a record of my routes and traced them into paths.” (credit)

Maraa Collective, The Olfactory Chambers of Ward No. 88 (2014)

an agenda

Credit: Center for Sustainable Practice in the Arts

Maraa Collective (2008-)

This walk took place in Bangalore, India in October of 2014, and used the format of a tourism walk to critically examine the processing of waste and the caste system. The walking route followed the same route as the street sweepers and waste sorters. In India, the Dalits caste has been traditionally responsible for clearing excrement.

This work may remind some of Mierle Laderman Ukeles’ work in which she shook the hand of every sanitation worker in New York City, shining a light on their labor and demonstrating respect for their work.

CreditL

Lucia Monge, Plantón Móvil (2010-)

Lucia Monge (1983-)

“Lucia Monge started bringing people and plants together as Plantón Móvil in Lima, Peru. This is a participatory, walking forest performance that occurs annually and leads to the creation of public green areas.

“Plantón” is the word in Spanish for a sapling, a young tree that is ready to be planted into the ground. It is also the word for a sit-in. This project takes on both: the green to be planted and the peaceful protest. It is about giving plants and trees the opportunity to “walk” down the streets of a city that is also theirs. This walking forest performance culminates with the creation of a public green area.

Plantón Móvil started in 2010 while I was walking around Lima, my hometown, and noticing how many trees and plants had their leaves blackened with smog, were being treated as trash cans, or even used as bathrooms. I started to put myself in their place, and thought I would have left town a long time ago. Instead they are sort of forced to sit there and accept this abuse because of their planted “immobile” state. I wondered what it would be like to encounter a walking forest that had taken to the streets like any other group of people would do, demanding respect.

Plantón Móvil, however, is not a group of people carrying plants: at least for that time being we are the forest. I find it important to make this distinction because it changes the nature of the gesture. This is about lending our mobility to plants so that they can benefit from the speed and scale that draws people’s attention. In return; we may momentarily borrow some of their slowness. Essentially, it is about moving-with as a form of solidarity.” (credit)

Alana Bartol, Sight Unseen: An Un-camouflaging for Guildwood (2014)

“The ghillie suit is traditionally used by military snipers and hunters to camouflage the human body, allowing the wearer to blend into various natural landscapes. Sight Unseen: An Un-camouflaging at Guildwood was part of a series that repositioned the ghillie suit in the open air of suburban space and areas slated for development.

For Restless Precinct, I created a series of “un-camouflagings” in Guildwood Park in partnership with the Community Arts Guild Youth Theatre Troupe, an offshoot of Jumblies Theatre. The project evolved over six weeks, exploring concepts of visibility and belonging through our relationship and engagements with nature and each other. Participants learned how to create their ghillie suits, and together we developed movements in response to the site. Guildwood Park (now Guild Park and Gardens) contains over seventy architectural fragments and edifices. The research revealed that the park was once the location of Bytown II, a military training base for radio operators in the Women’s Royal Canadian Naval Service during World War II. A custom camouflage headpiece was created for a sculpture entitled Musidora (artist unknown) and installed for the duration of the exhibition. This work was a gesture toward acknowledging the invisibility of bodies, histories and contributions at Guildwood Park, including a site specific
work created by Ana Mendieta. The culminating performance took place as part of Restless Precinct’s opening events.”

Amish Morrell, Henri Fabergé, Christine Atkinson, Epic Ravine Marathon (2015)

ravine

ravine

“On November 15, 2015, more than thirty people, including artists, adventure racers, casual joggers, track champions, walkers and other members of the general public, ran from Old Mill subway station in Toronto to Sherbourne subway station, following four major urban watersheds. The route followed the Humber River from Bloor Street to the Black Creek, crossed the North York hydro corridor north of Finch Avenue, joined the West Don River and followed the main artery of the Don River to the finish at Bloor Street, passing under Highway 401 twice. Covering fifty-five km in total, the route took more than 9 hours and almost entirely followed riverbanks and ravine trails. Two people finished the entire distance.”

Credit: Morrell, Amish and Diane Borsato. Outdoor School: Contemporary Environmental Art. Douglas and McINtyre, 2021. Page 62.

“Toronto’s ravine system provides city-dwellers with an urban oasis that’s not often explored. But on Sunday, a small group of Torontonians will run a day-long marathon through these expansive green spaces.

Organizer Amish Morrell, who’s the editor of C Magazine, says these runs aren’t competitive. “It’s not a race at all, it’s really an adventure.”

Morrell notes that his friend and performance artist Henri FabergĂŠ started doing conceptual running routes a few years ago. Together, along with artist Jon McCurley, they ran from Kipling to Kennedy (35 kilometres above ground).

About a year ago, Morrell mapped out a marathon route through Toronto ravines – areas that he regularly explores and runs through. He even cross-country skies the ravines in the wintertime. “A lot of this kind of evolved out of finding different ways of moving through the city,” he says.

For Sunday, he’s planned a 55 kilometre trek between the Black Creek, Finch Hydro Corridor and Don River sections of the ravine. “I would say 90 per cent of it is trail in the ravines and about 50 per cent of that is totally kind of secret, clandestine paths,” though Morrell stresses that the event may not be for everyone.

“It’s a pretty DIY, kind of punk event,” he says. Anyone who decides to join needs to be well-prepared with proper equipment and supplies – a detailed list can be found on the Epic Ravine Marathon Facebook page.

And, don’t expect a timed race. “Our motivations are more about exploration, curiosity, discovering places and learning things about them,” says Morrell. He knows the distance may be daunting and expects many of those who join his small group will tag along for the first 10 to 15 kilometres.

Morrell says that while most of the route is accessible via the TTC, being the in the ravines provides an alternate way to view Toronto. “It totally shifts and transforms your experience of the city.”

Photo by Kevin McBride in the blogTO Flickr pool.” (credit)