RavineTalk 1: Expect the Unexpected

“Toronto’s Ravines: Expect the Unexpected” explores how to balance ongoing ecological conservation efforts with improved ravine access, expanded use, and enriched cultural programming. This is the first of two special lectures complementing the RavinePortal exhibition.

As stewards of Toronto’s ravine system, Toronto and Region Conservation have worked hard to protect the ravines and their ecology from development and its negative impacts including soil erosion and flooding. But in the process of protecting the ravines, their integration into our rapidly growing city has suffered. In anticipating a demand for increased access, programs and uses within the ravines, the question becomes how can the ravines be better integrated into the lives of Toronto’s residents without reversing the conservation efforts of the past? Steve Heuchert will explore the present potential of our ravines and some ideas for how the audience can enhance them for the benefit of all.

Assuming that the design challenges regarding ravine access and use can be overcome, what types of programming can be organized within Toronto’s ravines to catalyze exploration, education, and appreciation of this vast natural resource? What role can public art play in introducing new populations to the ravines? No.9 Contemporary Art and the Environment has been using the ravine landscapes as a setting for cultural and educational programming for more than a decade, and sees the role of art and educational programming as vital to the future success of the ravines as a defining, interconnected and accessible open space and cultural network. Andrew Davies will speak to these questions and provide an overview of their initiatives to program and animate the ravines.

Steve Heuchert is a Senior Manager, Development Planning at the Toronto & Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) where his responsibilities include management of the TRCA’s environmental planning and development review services for the City of Toronto and Durham Region. Steve also teaches with the Department of Environmental Studies (Planning) at York University where he focuses on the integration of environmental protection and urban design. He has lived in Scotland, England, Florida, New Hampshire and Massachusetts, and frequently spends time in Japan. In all, he has explored and photographed the natural and urban systems. His educational background includes a Masters of Environmental Planning from the University of Nottingham, England and a BES from the University of Waterloo.

Andrew Davies received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Queen’s University and Master in Architecture from The Southern California Institute of Architecture, Los Angeles, California. For five years Andrew was employed at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City where he designed and administered over thirty international museum exhibitions. Since returning to Toronto, Andrew has provided art consultation for numerous major public art projects including the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute at St. Michael’s Hospital, the NXT Gardiner Expressway Gateway Project, the Pan Am Games Aquatics Centre and the City of Toronto’s Master Public Art Plan for the Lower Don Trail. In 2006 Andrew co-founded the charitable arts organization No.9: Contemporary Art & the Environment. As Executive Director of No.9 Davies has overseen the administration and production of 21 major public art installations that have brought awareness to important environmental issues. Under Davies direction No.9 has delivered environmental art and sustainable design education programs to over 12,000 inner-city school students.

Sketches for the Storefront Marketplace St. Paul by Pauline Beaudemont

Appropriating the aesthetics of the Hmong market Pauline Beaudemont conceives of a backdrop for the Storefront Marketplace, in which Agustina Woodgate will set up her radio station this coming weekend. It combines elements of a photo studio, a stage design, and a store interior, especially the ones at the Hmong market.

Everything is sourced from Accent Fixtures, where the Hmong vendors also buy their equipment and material: mannequins, baskets, and other elements.

Supported by: Pro Helvetia, Schweizer Kulturstiftung; Fonds cantonal d’art contemporain, Genève




Place-Making: Using CBS Differently

From a vacant space to an open Library and Workshop area: During Sukkot holiday we’ve been running the urban agriculture and gardening workshops with a combination of small and big scale creations: growing pipes, seed bombs, urban bees, owls, hanging gardens and mind-opening food growing methods. All these took place in the new “book stop” at the 7th floor of the Central Bus Station in Tel-Aviv.

More photos here on Onya Collective facebook page.












A New Plan for Toronto, 1966

Major Parks and the Waterfront 1966

Major Parks and the Waterfront 1966

In the mid-1960’s Toronto experienced a tremendous surge of growth and development. Acknowledging this, the City of Toronto Planning Board (as it was known at the time) put together a report outlining the important issues they saw as emerging in the next 20 years, as a way of guiding development and informing a new plan for the emerging city.

Within this report is a section called “Major Parks and the Waterfront”, which includes important goals with respect to establishing a comprehensive strategy for the ongoing use and protection of Toronto’s ravines:

“Water has given Toronto four priceless gifts: the lakeshore, the islands, the ravines and the escarpment. It is proposed that Council adopt the objective that these assets be protected and enhanced as shown on the General City Plan, preserving them for all time for public use.

Policies will be adopted for each of the major ravine systems so that they may remain in their natural state.  Only those improvements which are necessary to make the ravines usable as continuous areas for walking, riding, picnics, and recreation will be permitted. Where necessary to prevent incompatible development, private lands will be acquired and designated as public open space.

Where it is appropriate to designate parts of the ravine area for the construction of a road or other non-recreational purpose, the design must distract as little as possible from, and where possible promote and enhance, the appearance and recreational value of the ravine.  Where parkland is lost through such action, equivalent amounts will be acquired either in the same area or elsewhere in the City where there is deficiency of parkland.”


Hustling, Archiving: Laurel Consuelo Broughton and Andrew Kovacs

The 2014 installment of Out There Doing It, the LA Forum’s annual series on emergent practice, brings together designers, architects, writers, and filmmakers from across Los Angeles’ cultural landscape. Fellow Worldwide Storefront participants Laurel Consuelo Broughton and Andrew Kovacs each have their own endeavors, Welcome Projects and Archive of Affinities, respectively. In a fateful pairing, they’ve teamed up for Gallery Attachment and OTDI. We asked them a few questions.



What’s design practice in Los Angeles today?

 To ask about design practice is to ask about a very broad arena of production. Our day-to-day constitutes many different activities — writing, teaching, exhibiting, hustling, archiving, documenting, capturing, collecting, looking, seeing, hearing, talking, making, reading, thinking.


Does the urban landscape figure into your approach projects and concepts?

Yes, our current project was inspired by an appreciation for certain oddities we see as inherent to Los Angeles. We are currently publishing a zine called a folly is also an accident, which documents these scenarios. Some of our titles are, Bad Additions, Bad Guard Shacks, Bad Galleries, Bad Details, and Bad Architecture.


Briefly discuss one project from what you’ll be presenting at the OTDI Roundtable on October 16.

We are currently working on a project called Gallery Attachment; while we both have individual practices, the impetus here was to explore an overlap that we share of sensibilities and aesthetic ambitions. With support from the LA Forum and the Storefront for Art and Architecture, Gallery Attachment has grown in scope and will be opening on November 1. It is a full-scale architectural accumulation that will host a series of collaborative events with architects and designers here in Los Angeles. Concurrently, across the street from the site of the accumulation at Jai & Jai Gallery there will be a parallel exhibition of drawings that seek to redefine the architectural component.

How do you “host”? 

We host through different mediums some virtual and some physical. Come to our opening on November 1 at 7pm.

Gallery Attachment is located at 643 N Spring Street Los Angeles, CA 90012.

Pauline Beaudemont, Storefront Marketplace artist-in-residence.

Pauline Beaudemont arrived from Geneva, Switzerland, on Saturday, 11 October 2014.

In her artistic practice, she is interested in concepts such as non-site, spirituality, dreams and mystic phenomena.

Her first solo show at SALTS in Basel, Switzerland, opened on October 4th. Previously, Beaudemont conducted a residency at Fieldwork: Marfa, in Texas, where her aim was to draw a cartography of the subconscious of the region by approaching the town’s onirism in a pseudoscientific and systematic way.

At the HmongTown Marketplace Beaudemont will develop an installation loosely inspired by elements of Hmong culture and aesthetics.

Supported by: Pro Helvetia, Schweizer Kulturstiftung; Fonds cantonal d’art contemporain, Genève

In anticipation for the Hmong New Year.

Investigating the dvd on offer about hunting, cooking, and farming.

Investigating the DVDs on offer about hunting, cooking, and farming.

Colorful fabrics with traditional patterns.

Colorful fabrics with traditional patterns.

Bon apétit. Beef mix with sticky rice.

Bon apétit. Beef mix with sticky rice.

College of Design in exile at the Storefront Marketplace

Tasoulla Hadjiyanni brought her class to the market and held a very interesting lecture on culturally-sensitive housing, with a focus on three different immigrant groups and their ideal way of living: Hmong, Somali, and the Ojibwe. Fascinating research.

Lecture on cultural-specific housing.

Lecture on cultural-specific housing.

A few impressions: Hmong people, the ones who believe in animism, co-habitate with their dead ancestors. They leave space between the furniture and the wall so the ancestors can move freely around the space. The altar, where they honor the dead spirits, should be across from the door so that the spirit can easily find its way when it is called by the shaman.

General Pao Vang, President Obama, and a Native American chief – interesting constellation.

General Pao Vang, President Obama, and a Native American chief – interesting constellation.


Cooking spaces in Hmong, Somali, and Ojibwe culture.

Cooking spaces are large and well equipped. Traditionally, Hmong do not use disposable plates and silverware as this is considered rude. Hospitality especially towards family members is very important in Hmong culture. Gender roles are clearly defined and still very conservative. The women cook and serve the meals to the men who are seated at the table whilst the women have to find a space to eat their food without disturbing the male section.

Ancestor wall above the desk.

Ancestor wall above the desk: a line of Hmong generals.

Different lay-outs.

Different layouts of living spaces: Hmong prefer large communal spaces for family gatherings.

Siblings usually share a bedroom and sleep in one bed as they feel more comfortable that way – very different to the predominantly individualistic way of living in the United States.

Break from class, on the way to the restroom.

Break from class, on the way to the restroom.

Getting ready for our Champ des Possibles event !

Our bran new prints for this weekend’s intervention in the Champ des Possibles (the Field of Possibilities). The Friends of the Champ des Possibles is a group of local citizens who have worked to preserve the site as a community green space and a habitat for biodiversity right next to our Montreal Railway problem.

On the first new print we ask people what would be their favorite way to go from A -> B, over the ground, underground, or with a level crossing and than we ask why. (Pourquoi ?) The other one is a map from the area that shows the different holes and patches in the fences around the railway. All printed in a delicious Garden Green …

IMG_0710 IMG_0712

Free Urban Agriculture Workshops – 12-13 Oct @ CBS


Two afternoons of Urban Agriculture workshops for Sukkot, in the garden and library planted in the 7th floor of the Central Bus Station in Tel-Aviv.

Sunday 12/10, 14:30 – 19:00
// Natural Treasures – Alex Chaykin
// Seed Bombs – Onya Collective / Ariana Kusivetsky
// The World of Bees – Honey Tree / Yossi Aud

Monday 13/10, 14:30 – 19:00
// Hanging Garden – Onya Collective / Avigail Roubini
// Waste Water Pipe Garden – Onya Collective / Gil Cohen + Robert Ungar
// Small Space Agriculture – Agrocity / Amir Elron

Open free for the public, registration via this form: http://goo.gl/forms/Rvq6Bwb1Ii

Facebook event – https://www.facebook.com/events/964876603529236/

The events are organized by Onya Collective in collaboration with South District, Municipality of Tel-Aviv – Jaffa, Tel Aviv Central Bus Station and The Society for Protection of Nature in Israel.
* Part of Next Station events, WorldWide Storefront at Storefront for Art and Architecture, New-York. More details here: http://wwstorefront.org/