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Melting Point

Toronto, ON

For one night, Fort York Historic Site was besieged by the forces of Art and her passionate and curious acolytes. The archaic fort’s defenses were bested, and while the vestiges of a violent past may linger, fresh ideas and hopes swept buoyantly over the ramparts. For Art’s joyful appropriation of the historic military site, the darker socio-political forces of speculation, commodification and capitalization were kept at bay.

Located at a high point on the original shore of Lake Ontario, Fort York was sited to defend the town of York (now Toronto) from southern invasions. Over time, the fort has stood its ground as the lake’s edge was pushed further away. The site has also resisted the encroachment of railways, expressways, and mushrooming condominium towers. Situated in this context of protection and resistance was ‘Melting Point,’ an immersive installation merging light and sound.

From the mouths of Fort York’s two south-facing cannons poured sparkling tributaries of light. Accompanied by the sounds of low cannon rumbles, trilling harps, and rolling waves, the work laid a defense against the swirling market forces beyond, countering hard with soft, and dark with light.

Two blankets of a combined 1,000 coloured incandescent lights spread outward and downward from the cannons of the fort's Circular Battery. The coloured lights were dynamically responsive to changes in the audio accompaniment and evoke the patterns of lava flows running into water, changing from yellow to red to blue.

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Toronto, ON

Commission for Scotiabank Nuit Blanche (curator: Magda Gonzalez-Mora)


Project Type

Lead Artist

Omar Khan 
Jeff Lee 
Ontario Arts Council
Friends of Fort York
Kearns Mancini Architects

Nick Kozak

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