I was invited by the City of Toronto Archives to animate an aspect of their collection and do a site-specific installation in their building for Doors Open Toronto 2016. I was drawn to an image of Toronto New City Hall; which remains a symbol of abundance and achievement for one generation’s vision of the future. Still seen as “too futuristic” by some, New City Hall still carries with it the socio-political struggle of its creation with the international design competition lead by Mayor Nathan Phillips and the conflicting architectural and aesthetic styles.
And while tensions ran high between local politicians, planners and architects who promoted the idea of an
international competition and others who resisted what was perceived as radical change the building still stands as a monument to our ambition and dreams for the future.
Although concrete Brutalist monoliths like this are considered outré or unfashionable, it is apt to reflect on our past in light of a saturation of glass condominiums that are currently in vogue. These competing ideas of modernism exists alongside one another in the ever-changing city of Toronto. I wanted make an intervention with this archival image; and, furthermore, resituate it within the rarely seen halls of documents and archival boxes.