edge/threshold/brink, 2018

Nuit Blanche Toronto Commission

edge/threshold/brink, a new public realm commission, was first exhibited in a group exhibition curated by Karen Alexander for Dream Time: We All Have Stories during Nuit Blanche Toronto 2018 alongside newly commissioned, site-specific works by artists: Gayle Chong Kwan, Dubmorphology: Gary Stewart and Trevor Mathison, nichola feldman-kiss, Ibrahim Mahama, Harold Offeh, Tal Rosner and Christopher Mayo, and Meghan Ross.

edge/threshold/brink is about some of the historical narratives that have defined and redefined the city of Toronto in relation to its landscape. The work is a commentary on the cultural importance of water and land to the Mississauga of the New Credit and the ways the water and land of Toronto have been wrestled into a metropolis. Following a series of conversations with Toronto-based historians and archivists: Dr Alison Norman, Kathy Grant, Barbara Myrvold, John Lorinc and Dr Karolyn Smardz Frost, and tour guide Richard Fiennes-Clinton the work re-presents a 19th century history of St Johns Ward in Downtown Toronto. The Ward, once situated on the footprint of City Hall, was settled by successive waves of new emigrants to the city in the 1800s. Numerous residents who had escaped slavery by means of the Underground Railroad found safety and allegiance in the Ward, and edge/threshold/brink references Cecelia Reynolds’ story in particular.

The work, installed from sunset to sunrise in the Dundas/Trinity Walkway, subtly interrupted and disrupted the everyday perception of this much traversed transitional space, bringing into focus the ‘fault line’ between the former natural state of this landscape and the impact of the new settlers from the antebellum southern states of America.