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What Was Will Be


December 4, 2013
by Canadian Architect

This exhibition at Toronto’s Gallery 44 runs from January 10 to February 15, 2014, and features evocative media installations based on natural disasters presented through the lens of archives from the early to the mid-20th century by Kristie MacDonald and Christina Battle. Exploring the temporality of architecture, What Was Will Be also recalls notions of memory, nostalgia and place.

In her installation entitled dearfield, colorado, Battle pairs video of the now ghost town Dearfield, Colorado with first-hand archival accounts of drought across the prairies and VLF recordings of sferics. Deerfield was an early African-American settlement that was devastated by drought during the Great Depression. Battle’s installation reflects the decaying structural foundations of the town juxtaposed against the blossoming local landscape, which is projected within a room covered in aluminum. As the video imagery reflects on the floor and walls of the gallery, text within the projection recalls the metallic skies and electrified air often described during prairie dust storms.

Similarly, MacDonald’s series of photographs takes as its subject the house in turmoil. Each photograph employs an appropriated image of a tumbled, sideways house, physically displaced during a natural disaster. Some of the images have been righted by the artist while others are projected through an animated device, the legs of which extend and retract, shifting the image and bringing it back into alignment with the horizon. The series title, Structural Relocation, is taken from the technical term for relocating buildings from one site to another, by means of industrial equipment, echoing the role of the artist as engineer.

Through a deconstruction of the documentary and the archive, these records of the past seem to act more as a prophecy in our current context of climate change and urban decay.

The opening reception takes place on Friday January 10, 2014 from 6:00pm to 8:00pm. Gallery 44 is open from Tuesday to Saturday from 11:00am to 5:00pm, and admission is free.

Gallery 44 Centre for Contemporary Photography is a non-profit artist-run centre committed to photography as a multi-faceted and ever-changing art form. Founded in 1979 to establish a supportive environment for the development of photography, Gallery 44’s mandate is to provide a context for reflection and dialogue on contemporary photography and its related practices. Gallery 44 offers exhibition and publication opportunities to national and international artists, award-winning education programs, and affordable production facilities for artists. Through its programs, Gallery 44 is engaged in changing conceptions of the photographic image and its modes of production.

For more information please visit www.gallery44.org/BattleMacDonald or contact Noa Bronstein, Head of Exhibitions and Publications at [email protected].


still from 2012 media installation "dearfield, colorado" by christina battle
still from 2012 media installation "dearfield, colorado" by christina battle


Canadian Architect

Canadian Architect

Canadian Architect is a magazine for architects and related professionals practicing in Canada. Canada's only monthly design publication, Canadian Architect has been in continuous publication since 1955.
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