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Accompanying Onsite Gallery's current exhibition, Survival Architecture and the Art of Resilience, this online panel moderated by Michael Piper of the University of Toronto's John H. Daniels Faculty will present and discuss practices of collaboration, creation, and community research that aim to address systemic issues of oppression, with speakers including artist Cindy Blažević (Toronto, ON); Jessica Kirk, Wildseed Centre for Art & Activism (Toronto, ON); Rowan Lynch, Hearth (Toronto, ON); and Derrick Meeking, Empowerment Plan (Detroit, MI). Presented in partnership with John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design, University of Toronto.

Online event; Zoom link will be sent to registered attendees. Click here to register.

ASL interpretation provided.

Moderator:

Michael Piper is an Assistant Professor of urban design and architecture and director of the Master of Urban Design program at the John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design at the University of Toronto. His research and teaching focus on the relationship between design, equity, and political-economic contexts with particular attention on the social and formal transformation of North American suburbs. He is a co-founder of tuf lab, a research group that brings together urban design and urban planning faculty at U of T. He is also a founding partner of dub studios, a design studio with offices in Toronto and Los Angeles where he manages urban design projects. Current projects and coursework focus creating multi-family housing in North American single-family suburbs and cultural spaces of citizens underrepresented in mainstream design and planning. He is a co-coordinator of Engage-Design-Build, a research and outreach program in partnership with the Toronto District School Board that connects with underrepresented youth about their communities and the design lead for Toronto Housing Works exhibition. Michael is from Atlanta and has also lived in Alaska, Abu Dhabi, New York, Los Angeles, Croatia, Paris, Columbus, OH, and Boston.

Speakers:

Cindy Blažević is a visual artist whose research-based practice uses photography, performance and multimedia to investigate identity, belonging and systems of power and exclusion. Deeply invested in activism and social engagement, she has spent years exploring Canada’s penal system, immigration policies and constructions of citizenship, often through collaborative processes with diverse communities. Through both documentary and fiction, she critiques the systems within which she operates. Her work has been exhibited and awarded internationally. Blažević was the inaugural Artist in Residence at Osgoode Hall Law School, York University, Toronto. She currently lives in Toronto with her three rambunctious kids and her partner, Pascal. You can see her work at cindyblazevic.com.

Jessica Kirk is a cultural worker, curator and community organizer based in Toronto. She is the Executive Director of Wildseed Centre for Art & Activism, a project of Black Lives Matter Canada that serves as fertile ground for Black creativity and organizing in the city. She holds an M.A. in Social Justice Education from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, and her thesis was written on Black geographies and critical creative practice within and beyond the city.

Founded in 2019 as an artist-run space, Hearth seeks to provide a site to present projects within a context that values collaboration, experimentation, and community. As a structural element in the makeup of a house, and a tool providing warmth, light, and food; a hearth gathers us towards itself, and towards each other. Hearth is located on Ulster St. just east of Three Star Variety (621 Bathurst, Toronto, ON, M5S 2R2). See hearthgarage.com or @hearth.garage for information on past and present programming.

Derrick Meeking is native Detroiter with a professional background in nonprofit management, workforce development, local economic development, and social enterprise business models. His experience spans over 12 years which creates a unique professional profile rooted in a desire to improve the quality of life for historically disenfranchised people and marginalized communities through education, research, grassroots activism, and the promotion of innovative community economic development solutions. Derrick currently serves as the Director of Workforce and Programs at the Empowerment Plan, where their mission is to “End generational homelessness through employment”. He holds a Bachelor's of Arts in Political Science from the University of Michigan and is currently pursuing a Master of Science in Nonprofit Administration from Louisiana State University.

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Venue & Address
Online event
Cost
Free
Email
egove@ocadu.ca
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Humanizing Our Communities with Art and Design
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Show when event is over
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Image: Cricket Shelter: Modular Edible Insect Farm (2016) by Mitchell Joachim and Terreform ONE. Courtesy of Mitchell Joachim and Terreform ONE.


New Onsite Gallery exhibition presents Survival Architecture for the climate crisis

On September 15, Survival Architecture and the Art of Resilience opens at Onsite Gallery, a highly anticipated show that demonstrates art and design’s role in helping humans adapt to an increasingly turbulent world.  

A diversity of international artists, architects, activists and designers have been brought together by California-based curator Randy Jayne Rosenberg to use creative ingenuity as a critical tool in a time of environmental crisis.  

The 24 innovative projects that comprise the exhibition take the form of large-scale and portable interactive architectural installations, photography and drawing, each a prototype for adaptable and sustainable housing as humans continue to be displaced by floods, draughts, extreme heat and food insecurity.   

As Francisco Alvarez, Executive Director of OCAD U Galleries, including Onsite, the university’s public exhibition space notes, “Some of the works in the exhibition are cheap, practical and already in production. Others are wild, extravagant and fantastical. Wherever they fall on the scale, the projects demonstrate that creativity mixed with caring can produce paths towards practical solutions for survival and resilience in the face of a dangerous, changing world.” 

The exhibition contributes to the urgent conversation around the climate crisis and sustainability, within the backdrop of the country's current political race. As Alvarez remarks, “In a time of a federal election in Canada, the exhibition underlines the need for proactive environmental policies to better protect citizens and natural areas.”  

The exhibition, which runs until December 11, 2021, is arranged based on four themes, each representing an aspect of survival architecture: 
 

Circular 

Referring to the concept of the circular economy, the works in this category imagine an alternative to the current linear manufacturing model of take-make-waste, moving instead towards maximizing the use of materials through reuse, repair and eventual decomposition. AirDrop House by Australia-based Andrew Maynard Architects elegantly demonstrates this circular approach. An emergency shelter for flood-afflicted areas, AirDrop is made of a spongey material that’s capable of absorbing and filtering polluted waters. Once delivered from the sky via military aircraft the shelters expand, up to 7 metres and then harden in place. Seeds that are embedded in the shelter material are cultivated by flood waters’ mineral richness and set to work on the areas’ ecological recovery. 
 

Portable 

Portability is essential for tools and housing meant to provide comfort in times of distress. EMPWR Coat by The Empowerment Plan, based in Detroit, is a piece of clothing by day and a sleeping bag by night. The coats, which are offered for free to community members, have made a measurable impact on their recipients, who, on average make one less emergency room visit per year due to hypothermia. 
 

Visionary 

Survival architecture is required for an ever-evolving version of the present and must be adaptable for the needs of the future. Cricket Shelter: Modular Edible Insect Farm by Brooklyn-based visionary design firm Terreform ONE and its lead designer, Mitchell Joachim, is inspired by the United Nations’ identification of insect-based protein as a contributing solution to global food insecurity. Insects require 300% less water to cultivate than other protein sources, such as livestock. Cricket Shelter is a pioneering intervention that addresses both housing and food security.  
 

Resilient 

Our ability to survive the catastrophes that climate change continues to bring will be measured by our ability to adapt. A key characteristic of emergency housing is its nimbleness and usefulness in the face of instability.  A Better Shelter is a collaborative project by the IKEA Foundation (the Netherlands) and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) that reinvents temporary housing for those impacted by natural disasters and global conflict. Flat-packed and assembled in just four hours A Better Shelter is an alternative to the tents the UN typically distributes to displaced survivors. Equipped with solar panels, a lockable door and a lifespan of up to three years, since the initiative began over 10 years ago, 60,000 modular shelters have been disseminated across the world serving not only as homes but also as clinics and classrooms.  


What’s Next? 

The exhibition is complimented with numerous public events, the first of which is Enduring Resilience and Flow: The Lower Don River on September 23, 2021 at 2pm where artist and cartographer, Daniel Rotsztain will lead a walk that explores the Lower Don River and its importance to Anishinaabe and Haudenosaunee peoples.

Visits to this exhibition must be booked in advance. Book your visit online
Check out the exhibition publication for more information about each work in the show.

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News Summary
The critical role artists and designers play in responding to the climate crisis is showcased in Onsite Gallery’s latest exhibition.
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Banner Image
A white modular structure made of insect incubators, photographed outdoors in front of blue sky.

Join OnSite Gallery Curator, Lisa Deanne Smith, and your fellow alumni community for a special exploration of the exhibition, Among All These Tundras. The exhibition viewing will be followed by a social gathering.

Cost
FREE
Email
cjeyarajah@ocadu.ca
Phone
416-977-6000 ext. 4780
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Venue & Address
Onsite Gallery (199 Richmond St. West)
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ocadu
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Close to 300 people escaped the cold and enjoyed the opening night of Onsite Gallery’s latest exhibition, How to Breathe Forever. The group exhibition underlines the importance and interconnectedness of air, animals, land, plants and water. Featuring work by local, national and international artists, How to Breathe Forever invites visitors to consider an expanded personhood that attentively collaborates and exchanges with living things.

Curated by Lisa Deanne Smith, Onsite Gallery’s Curator, features the work of international artists including OCAD U alumni Rouzbeh Akhbari, Mary Anne Barkhouse and Maryanne Casasanta, alongside DaveandJenn, Li Xinmo, Qavavau Manumi, Felix Kalmenson, Naufus Ramírez-Figueroa, Ningiukulu Teevee and Flora Weistche.

The public opening reception featured remarks by Archer Pechawis. A performance artist, new media artist, filmmaker, writer, curator and educator and member of Mistawasis First Nation, Saskatchewan, Pechawis thanked Onsite Gallery, OCAD U and the exhibiting artists for their creativity and vision. President Sara Diamond congratulated Lisa Deanne Smith, who personally thanked the exhibitors in attendance: Mary Anne Barkhouse, Maryanne Casasanta, DaveandJenn, Rouzbeh Akhbari and Flora Weistche.

The exhibition is presented with the support of the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council and Nexus Investments, the free exhibition runs through to April 14, 2019.

Onsite Gallery
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Dark room with people in foreground and works of art, neon light
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Poster
Archie Pechawis speaking at podium in gallery
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