Urban Textures

    Thursday, August 6, 1998 to Friday, September 4, 1998


    This multidisciplinary exhibition was initiated with a call for submissions inviting artists to consider the potential of language as a medium of urban interaction. The call focused on the ways in which language – particularly in its urban deployment through signage, graffiti and broadcast media – influences and conditions our experience of the city. Artists were encouraged to propose their own negotiations of such themes as texture of daily life in the urban environment, the role of linguistic conventions in the description and classification of sites, and the relationship between formal an informal sites of cultural production – this latter relationship implicitly providing the context for the exhibition itself. The goral of the project is to develop and present alternative ways of viewing, reading and experiencing the city through its sites, textures and modes of inhabitation. The Gallery’s location and institutional typology has made for a bias towards the centretown context in the presentation of the projects. The exhibition emphasizes an approach to language and its uses characteristic of the pedestrian scale of view, encounter and locomotion, which persists in the traditional urban core. Further considerations of the relationship between language and urban inhabitation in the larger metropolitan region may need to take other forms in suburban environment where vehicular movement, speed and spatial dispersion organize the reception of information very differently. These artists’ projects are frequently characterized by a mediation between private and or personal spaces of language-production, and a more – if not always completely – public context of reception and unforeseen transformation. Official spatial and communicative models, the largest and most intractable of which is the city itself, suggest individual strategies of inhabitation, inflection and production able to push their way into cracks and interstices of a given structure.