“Imposter Cities” exhibition opens June 2 in Toronto

Imposter Cities—an exhibition on view at MOCA Toronto from June 2- July 23, 2023—explores the ways Canada’s buildings and cities double as other places in film and television. Through clips, video interviews, and green-screen opportunities, this multimedia project is a playful critique of cultural self-presentation, examining movies as powerful sites of architectural experience, expression, and authenticity. The exhibition is part of the Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival in Toronto.

Conceptualized and curated by Thomas Balaban, David Theodore, and Jennifer Thorogood, Impostor Cities was initially commissioned by the Canada Council for the Arts for the 2020 Canadian Pavilion at the International Architecture Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia. The exhibition is now being fully realized for the first time in a site-specific composition for MOCA Toronto.

Impostor filming locations are a key part of Hollywood North, Canada’s multibillion-dollar film industry. Financial incentives, skilled crews, and well-equipped studios attract international productions that refashion our photogenic yet generic cities as elsewhere. These movies show Canada’s cities as shape-shifters, where the ability to change is framed as a cultural strength rather than a weakness. A counterproposition to the belief that architecture is founded in geography, climate, and history, Impostor Cities suggests new possibilities for architecture’s transformative capacities.

Alongside the exhibition at MOCA, the project continues to have an outlet online at https://impostorcities.com/