Cultural Captials Niagara Region Canada Day Art Installation ~ July 1, 2012


Cultural Captials Niagara Region Canada Day Art Installation ~ July 1, 2012

the idea girl says
lots of pics in a cool video

yt notes quotes:

The Cultural Capitals of Canada had 2 representatives for their 2012 celebrations in Ottawa. Calgary and Niagara were both selected as Cultural Capitals during this year: Calgary was celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Calgary Stampede and Niagara was enjoying bicentennial celebrations of the War of 1812, as well as it’s other plentiful cultural and artistic assets.

The challenge was to engage the capital’s Canada Day visitors to experience being creative collaborators of an art installation, while celebrating and sharing what each visitor enjoyed about the abundant Niagara Region.

Art installation is work that is often site specific and takes into account a broader sensory experience, as opposed to solely viewing work hanging on a wall or residing isolated on a pedestal. In this case many participants had expressed never having been involved in a collaborative art project on a large scale. When multiple senses are involved- in this case visual, tactile, auditory, and perception of the exterior world – the cognitive connection to the art is heightened.

On July 1 we invited people to recall and draw what they appreciated most about Niagara, along with adding their name and hometown, onto a colourful metal disk. Families, teens, kids and adults from Canada and worldwide, drew, wrote and coloured imprints of their Niagara. Some drew images freehand, some using stencils, some writing poetry. Each enjoyed their individual creation.

The second part of the experience took the form of building the topography of the Niagara Region collaboratively. The parameters specified for this piece by the federal government was that it was to exist within a 10′ x 20 foot white tent. By hanging the disks along a framework [made from a total of 6000 feet of hanging ball chain], the ball chain and disks outlined the topography from Lake Erie, up the escarpment, down the falls, along the plains and out to Lake Ontario.

What was unapparent from the exterior, appearing as if by magic, was that inside the structure the Niagara River was cut out of the chain passage, along it’s meandering path from lake to lake.

Each participant was asked to enter the site from the Lake Ontario end and meander up the Niagara River and hang their disk, completing, with their contribution, 1/1200th of the project. What looked like a wall of hanging chains each 4″ apart, opened up to an unexpected tactile and visual pathway. Each ball chain, hung like thousands of water droplets, ends with the tinkling of the 4″ colourful stainless steel disks that gently resonate like falling water as they collide. While children are always open to experiences that combine multiple senses, adults aren’t always in the environment of exploring as freely our basic senses.The spacial cognitive dissonance and surprise element of the art caused a combination of laughter, accomplishment and the occasional outburst of, “Holy expletive! This is the coolest thing I’ve seen!

With 1200 metal disks we involved thousands of participants from around the world to create a colourful, musical, sensual, visual and enjoyable interpretation of the Niagara region.

The Canada Day installation in Ottawa was a collaboration between Rammpro and The Brain Farm. Both are successful St Catharines based a design firms run by contemporary artists. The accumulated achievements of Ryan Mallette of Rammpro and Luke Gillett and Kim van Stygeren of The Brain Farm span clientele like Molson, Sony, Niagara Symphony, and a Guiness book World record, to artwork for billionaires’ residences and contemporary art in 2 museum collections. The opportunity to create an installation piece that looked over the spectacular Parliament buildings was one of an ongoing series of collaborations between the two firms.

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