COLLABORATE

At the beginning of our collaborative process, we were just interested in working together. Our team is comprised of artists Caitlind r.c. Brown & Wayne Garrett (www.incandescentcloud.com) and designers Matthew Kennedy & Mark Erickson (www.studionorth.ca), approaching public art with a shared interest in public space.

Site Visit at Aitken Place Park during construction

We first met in 2013 during WRECK CITY in Calgary. Ivan Ostapenko, Matthew Kennedy, and Mark Erickson were collaborating on an architectural intervention (pictured below) in one pre-demolition house involved in the project.

Caitlind & Wayne were working in the same house, installing a tube slide that penetrated the outer walls of the house and bisecting floors.

We quickly noticed a shared interest in materiality and phenomenology, especially in relation to light-based works. Not long after WRECK CITY, Matt & Mark established Studio North at Blank Page Studios in Calgary. Intrigued by each other’s processes, we began looking for opportunities to collaborate.

CLOUD by Caitlind r.c. Brown & Wayne Garrett
Parade of Light ‘EcoFloat’ by Matthew Kennedy, Mark Erickson, and Clayton Blackman

Our collective experience in the realm of public art and architecture – with an emphasis on Light Art in particular – led our team to apply to develop a new light-based public artwork for Aitken Place Park, a park currently under construction in East Bayfront, Toronto. We were awarded the commission in July 2016.

The presence of a space informs the possibilities for public artworks, depending on complex variables like place, culture, geography, functionality, environment, weather, and much more. Public spaces build the infrastructure for interpersonal experience, and parks possess an especially valuable role as unprescribed, accessible, green spaces – open to all.

Early models of Aitken Place Park at the show suite

Within this context, public art is under pressure to fill both public space and public imagination. Durability, longevity, and ongoing significance become important concerns. Add the variable of light, projected across the urban porch as an ethereal, atmospheric entity – but with very real, pragmatic requirements – and this project holds some intriguing challenges.

We are already several years into the collaborative process of developing our proposed artwork, LIGHT KEEPER, and we’ve needed all our shared skills as artists, designers, architects, machinists, and experimenters.

Early lighting tests, out the window of Blank Page Studios

We’ve learned more than we thought possible about spectral light and analog outdoor projections, but perhaps the most interesting part of this project has been learning how to work together as two teams, uniting around rainbows.

Team photo during our Site Visit.
Left to right: Mark Erickson, Wayne Garrett, Matthew Kennedy, Caitlind Brown