Currently in development, The Land That Dreams is a site-specific outdoor 3 to 5 channel video installation that uses the façade of a Toronto house as its canvas.
Viewed and heard while standing on the sidewalk in front of the house, the video and sound installation is an immersion into the history of the 1,972 square feet of land legally known as plan 315, lot 25, or more commonly, 229 Lisgar Street, located in the West Queen West area of Toronto, an area that has seen rapid change in recent history.
Three large 6' x 5' windows at the front of the house would function as screens with rear screen projection (drawing of front elevation of the house is attached). These three would be the main screens, but additional projection may wash over the front of the house as layers. The accompanying soundscape would be designed to be audible from the sidewalk and road in front of the house.
This exploration of the ownership and subjectivity of story would use this small rectangle of land to explore issues of space, time, and history beginning 12,000 to 13,000 years ago. Rather than a top-down approach to a linear, “objective” view of history, the stories of this place would be told through many voices with ephemeral images and heavily manipulated sound design. This installation would tell the stories that are often literally buried and silenced from “History.”
Because the stories are old, and memory and subjective interpretation unreliable, the narrative is fractured and hazy (just like the “official” versions of history). Evocative rather than explanatory, but with solid grounding in historical research, The Land That Dreams would encourage the viewer to experience the memories of the space they are physically located in at that moment.
The tales of the storytellers offer varying perspectives on history, like the characters in Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury and Kurosawa’s Rashomon, they speak with radically different voices; some narratives are more stream-of-consciousness, others more linear. Although the each story-teller covers their own section of time — rather than reinterpreting the same events as in The Sound and the Fury and Rashomon — when taken together, the stories function to challenge and complement one another, with some voices so old, they have disintegrated over time to become little more than fragments.
Locating this video installation on the land to which it refers allows it to both reference and interact with the environment, becoming a part of its own narrative. Partly inspired by the welcoming-to-all, immersive experiences of Bill Viola’s work, the democracy and playfulness of Kelly Mark and the reciprocal relationship of art to environment of Andy Goldsworthy, it opens up art to passersby who might not necessarily go into a gallery space, and allows this piece to develop a relationship with the neighbourhood/neighbours with whom it shares a history.