MaRS to launch interactive art installation about the environment during Nuit Blanche
Event to feature a new, custom soundscape composed by Daniel Lanois
Toronto, ON (September 17, 2019) – MaRS Discovery District will be opening its doors to the public for Nuit Blanche, producing a groundbreaking interactive art installation that marks a rallying cry for our planet and a call for everyone to work together for a sustainable future.
Nuit Blanche, a city-wide, all-night art celebration, will be held October 5, 2019 from 7:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m.
The multimedia exhibit, titled Transformation, will feature a stunning 3D projection, large-scale sculptures, an interactive display, informative videos and a new, moving soundscape composed especially for this project by Grammy Award-winning producer Daniel Lanois.
Running all night at the MaRS Centre, Transformation incorporates stunning visuals and projections, moving sound, and impactful poetry by some of Canada’s most respected artists. The exhibit, brought to 3D life by interactive media company Occupied VR, aims to create a visceral experience that will leave an indelible impression on visitors. The main entrance for the event is at 661 University Avenue, just south of College.
Our environmental crisis is real and escalating at an alarming rate. Plastic waste is clogging our oceans and landfills, contributing to health issues both in humans and wildlife. In addition to pollution, a recent report by the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) states that to limit global warming to 1.5°C — which would still have devastating consequences on our environment — our carbon emissions would need to be reduced by 45 per cent from 2010 levels by 2030, and reach net zero by 2050. To achieve these targets will require drastic measures that are only possible if we act collectively — citizens, big business and entrepreneurs alike.
To set the scene, two manifesto videos will offer alternate views of our future, one foreboding, the other uplifting. First, a spoken-word rendition of text specially selected by renowned Canadian author Margaret Atwood from her short story Hardball, warning that the future will roll toward us “like a giant iron snowball” if we don’t act now. Then, a call for collective action to develop a sustainable plan, arguing that we can effect change if we start with ourselves, our habits and choices.
As visitors proceed through the MaRS Centre, visitors will “wade” through a virtual plastic-clogged river projected on the atrium floor, seeing firsthand the effects of excess plastic waste on our ecosystem. While walking, visitors must dodge massive, discarded plastic objects — 20-30-ft. sculptures of everyday items designed by US-based artists Jana Cruder and Matthew LaPenta — prompting them to re-examine their own behaviours around single-use-plastics.
Continuing through the MaRS building, a giant, glowing orange orb reminds visitors of the increasingly catastrophic effects of earth’s rising temperatures.
Lastly, visitors will wander through a tunnel illuminated by touch-sensitive, energy-efficient LED light panels designed by Toronto-based startup Nanoleaf, arranging their own beautifully-lit pathway as they walk. The exhibit will also feature a video montage displayed on screens throughout the building of the many Canadian startups working to improve our environmental sustainability.
The entire experience is enhanced by a haunting soundscape that suggests a more beautiful future.
Yung Wu, CEO, MaRS Discovery District:
“It’s never been as critical as it is today to take action on behalf of the planet. We need to work together to ensure that future generations are able to enjoy productive and healthy lives. With this interactive exhibit, we hope to alert visitors to the sheer scale of the environmental crisis we’re facing, while informing them of the many creative solutions being developed by our innovation community to help address this complex issue.”
Fezz Stenton, creative director, Occupied VR:
“I’ve designed a wide range of immersive experiences, using lighting and projection to both transform real-world spaces and create completely virtual environments, but this work at MaRS is especially exciting for our team at Occupied VR because of the sheer scale, complexity and size of the project. I’m looking very forward to filling the MaRS atrium with projections and lighting that complement the custom soundscape composed by Daniel Lanois. I’m also motivated to bring to life such a compelling call to action for our planet through the lens of art.”
About MaRS Discovery District
MaRS is North America’s largest urban innovation hub. A registered non-profit, MaRS supports high-growth startups and scale-ups tackling key issues in the health, cleantech, fintech and enterprise sectors. In addition, MaRS convenes all members of the tech ecosystem to drive breakthrough discoveries, grow the economy and make an impact by solving real problems for real people — in Canada and around the world.
About Nuit Blanche Toronto
Nuit Blanche Toronto is the city’s annual all-night celebration of contemporary art, produced by the City of Toronto in collaboration with Toronto’s arts community and funded by the Government of Ontario and Tourism Toronto. Since 2006, this award-winning event has featured almost 1,571 art installations by approximately 5,600 artists and has generated over $398 million in economic impact for Toronto. Information and updates are available at http://toronto.ca/nbto.
MaRS Discovery District