RAIC Awards–Allied Arts

A consistent theme that permeates anikolab’s work is the quest for a visual and experiential language of the invisible, translating the ephemeral and unseen into cultural forms. anikolab’s research combines organic ingredients and inorganic phenomena–from insects and plants to rainstorms– with the technologies of immersive digital interface, artificial intelligence and material engineering.

The late Aniko Meszaros’s creative collaborators have included cultural theorists, visualization software engineers, physicists and biotechnologists. Aniko’s plant anima project originally began with the assistance and involvement of Dr. Don Cowan and Dr. Peter Bentley at the Biotechnological Engineering and Evolutionary Computer Programming departments of University College London. The computational aspects of the work were expanded through consultation with the software developers at Oculus Inc. and other innovators. 

Communication, in its tangible and reflexive expression, are engaged directly through the design of the Global Village Square project, generated out of the interdisciplinary research and work at the McLuhan Program in Culture and Technology. This exploration of interactive representation was fundamental to Aniko’s understanding and illustration of public art and space. The public genre of art-making melds aesthetic practice into life experiences, and anikolab’s role endeavours to allow each member of the public to engage and potentially contribute to the work as part of his or her daily routine.

This desire was most recently expressed through anikolab’s commission as the public artist in the design, development and site management for the multi-site work Roots for the Toronto Transit Commission’s renovated Victoria Park Station. In response to the rapidly changing environment of Scarborough, anikolab developed a suite of work to complement and amplify aspects of the ecological architecture of Stevens Group Architects.

The opportunity to be involved in the design and development of an entire new branch of community infrastructure, especially in the role of public artist, is both rare and unique. As a participant in this collective process, anikolab’s approach to the creation of public space and artwork was to create a reflective palimpsest embodying the continually changing identity of the diverse communities they serve.

Jury Comments

The range of Aniko Meszaros’s practice and the seriousness with which she pursued a profession utilized all of her architectural skills in a parallel path of design. Her work is exquisite visually, highly visceral and synthetic, yet really probes the edges of form-making. It is unusual to see this depth of ability and maturity in a younger practitioner. The works are evocative, rich and compelling. At times, they truly support the surrounding architecture, becoming integral to our appreciation of space. Yet they often appear to be more disconnected from architecture, but nonetheless provide a spatial sensory experience indicating a seriousness of intent, imagination, elegance and the ability to move the human spirit.

The jury for this award was comprised of Marie-Odile Marceau, FIRAC; Robert Mellin, FRAIC; and Janna Levitt, FRAIC.