Image by Daniel Ehrenworth

Urban Disaster/Catastrophe/Survival Actions
Curated by Makiko Hara

Liberty Village area

Urban Disaster/ Catastrophe/ Survival Actions will address the universal human ability to accommodate and survive memories of war, disaster and catastrophe through strategic creative survival actions. The intent of the projects is not to examine the ongoing disaster of catastrophe, nor to manifest some socio-political message on the global situation of disaster. Rather, it proposes an unexpected temporal physical and intellectual territory where we can put ourselves into a flow of imagination — to question how we can creatively revitalize our life, regain a joy of living, and share the aspiration of renewal.



FIRE AND SAUSAGE: Small Mercies, 2009
Tom Dean (Toronto)
Visual Art

FIRE AND SAUSAGE: Small Mercies is a social sculpture. It engages and arranges people. Audiences congregate around a fire, a cooking station, clustered radially around food and a fire. The form remains, enlarging and diminishing, a stable form centered around food and fire. All the complexity and richness and pathos of a social cluster, strangers and friends with some common purpose and focal point, a clustered audience before a spectacle and themselves a spectacle, figures joining and departing the cluster and flowing from one site to another.
In this primitive simplicity, this threadbare luxury, this diminished and qualified paradise, some peace and pathos, the possibility and absence of peace, and perhaps on this night, around these fires, some brief manifest.


Position!, 2009
Babak Golkar (Vancouver)
Light Installation

Babak Golkar projects streams of pulsating light from various searchlights into the sky. While the location of the searchlights varies, the pulsation will stay constant, spelling out the words “WE ARE SORRY” in Morse code, creating a visual sense of anxiety and emergency. While absorbing the piece visually, the open-ended nature of the sentence “WE ARE SORRY” will allow the viewers to imagine, assume, impose and ultimately “project” different contexts onto the work, and thus creating new meanings each time that the work is experienced.


Invade, 2009
KUO I-Chen (Taipei, Taiwan)

A life-size shadow of an airplane will be projected onto the ceiling of a supermarket. Accompanied by the sound of roaring engines, it intermittently moves across the ceiling as if an airplane slowly approaches, flies overhead and disappears into the horizon again.


The Apology Project, 2009
Maria Legault (Toronto)
Performance Art

A cluster of 55 people wearing large brown paper bags over their heads and bodies will congest a public walkway and personally apologize to every person who ventures through them. This uncanny human blockade will disrupt the regular flow of traffic and provoke reflection about passive aggressive behaviour.  


Surrounded in Tears, 2004-2009
Oswaldo Maciá (London, UK)
Sound Installation

In collaboration with Michael Nyman and Jasper Morrison, Maciá has turned to the semiotics of the raw material of crying, creating a moving sound installation compiled of one hundred individual cries. 


Randy & Berenicci, 2009
Randy Gledhill (Vancouver); Berenicci Hershorn (Toronto)
Multimedia Installation

Randy & Berenicci present a retrospective of their critically acclaimed video and installation works spanning the last two and a half decades of the 20th century. This will be the first compilation of a body of work that focuses on the concepts of catastrophe, ritual and rebirth to be presented in the city in which it was created.

Randy & Berenicci create a trompe l’oeil effect as a framing device for their video installation that implies a visual sense of archaeological ruin and long forgotten apocalypse, a vision of a lost ground zero from some unknown cataclysmic event.


Please Do Not Disturb, 2009
Skeena Reece (Vancouver)

Please Do Not Disturb is a durational interactive performance piece where the artist will try to live a normal life in the space ‘behind glass’ – interacting with the audience through email, phone, two-way microphone and a projected computer monitor. It is also a social experiment – exploring the history of Aboriginals on display, public spectacle, freak show and Facebook.


BICITYCLE (Bike City), 2009
Kyohei Sakaguchi (Tokyo, Japan)

BICITYCLE (Bike-city) is a project that examines mobile living, the life-style of homelessness and the innovations necessary to survive on the street in Tokyo, Japan. Because they are constantly forced by the authorities to move, the squatters build their homes to be easily dismantled and reassembled elsewhere. The houses are by necessity constructed mostly from accessible, economical and ecological materials – recycled discarded scraps of Toronto.


A SULTRY WORLD, 1995-2009
Norico Sunayama (Gifu, Japan)
Live Installation

The artist is perched 3m above ground, sitting atop a chair in the centre of a voluminous scarlet velvet dress. Participants are invited to crawl under the hem of the enormous flowing skirt and enter the sensory chamber created underneath, to reflect on female vulnerability as a source of empowerment.


Flash animation projection

Employing their usual mix of animated black and white typography, jazzy music and humor, YOUNG-HAE CHANG HEAVY INDUSTRIES create a new work telling a story specifically for Scotiabank Nuit Blanche in Toronto.



Rescue Bubble, 2009
Tomer Diamant (Toronto)

The Sci-Fi cliché of an ominous alien presence is conjured in a spherical array of more than 300 glowing traffic pylons. Has the rescue bubble emerged to save our world or devour us all?


Dance of the Cranes, 2009
Brandon Vickerd (Toronto)
Performance Art

Dance of the Cranes is a collaborative performance piece consisting of a 13 minute choreographed dance performed by two high-rise construction cranes.


Jason de Haan (Edmonton); Scott Rogers (Calgary)

THE END IS NEAR HERE IS NEAR THE END is painted in photoluminescent pigment. As the text is viewed the glow paint slowly fades into the night.


The Lost and Found Forest, 2009
The Lost and Found Collective: Jerome McGrath (Toronto); Rina Grosman (Toronto)
Multimedia Installation

Enter this manufactured forest made up of thousands of nails, string, and sound, only to exit and find yourself in downtown Toronto again. This exhibit offers Torontonians a sight and sound portal to the past, recalling the trees we have lost.


Take Shelter, 2009
One Off Collective: Maggie Flynn (North York); Meiko Maruyama (Fukushima, Japan); Stephanie Nicoló (Toronto); Jessica Thalmann (Thornhill); Annie Si-Wing Tung (Toronto)

Viewers are invited to build a shelter using cans of food and cardboard boxes. The audience may take food if needed and people are encouraged to bring non-perishable food items to contribute to the installation.

Curator Biography:

Makiko Hara has been curator at the Vancouver International Centre for Contemporary Asian Art - Centre A since 2007; where she has curated solo and group exhibitions of local, national and international artists including Koki Tanaka, Lida Abdul, and Louise Noguchi. Prior to Centre A, Hara had been an independent curator based in Tokyo and Montreal since the early 90’s and co founder of the art collective Tokyo Art Speak. Hara has curated numerous contemporary art exhibitions and has served as project coordinator for several international exhibitions including the International Triennale of Contemporary Art in Yokohama (2001/2005) and The Echigo Tsumari Art Triennale (2003). Hara has also served on several juries including the VIVA Awards, the City of Richmond and City of Vancouver Public Art Programs, and the Canada Council for the Arts.