[Podcast #5 / Interview] I talk with HWDSB Trustee Tim Simmons about Sanford Avenue School

This is a phone interview with Hamilton, Ontario’s school board chair and my local Trustee Tim Simmons, who was gracious enough to give his full attention to a blogger wearing a citizen journalist hat. I was impressed with his willingness to confront the issues and to attend the community meeting next week.

Podcast #5 is available here and on iTunes. This episode is 31 min 45s.

I voice concerns and ask Mr.Simmons questions about the decisions and process that has led to the likely imminent demolition of Sanford Avenue School – a beautiful 1932 historic building in my neighbourhood. Apologies for the poor quality of the phone recording – we do the best we can with what we have. There is nothing scandalous here, but lots of revealing insight into the process and even a sense of hope and common ground, I believe.

Buildings like these are an artist live / work loft dream come true, and many other people find this structure equally as appealing for many other uses – including developers who have not had a chance to propose a plan to save the building and incorporate local community goals.

You can find out more about the state of crisis of this structure on my original blog post here.

If you are reading this before Dec 4th, 2012 and you live in Hamilton, particularly Ward 3, then please consider attending the Wever Hub special community meeting that day at 6pm at Cathy Wever School to voice your opinion. It’s important, especially for future generations in the community.

reminder: Oct 13th artist talk & tour 1pm @ Barton Village, Hamilton

Join artist Christopher Healey for a talk and guided tour of the project starting at Woodlands Park on Saturday, October 13th, from 1pm to 2pm.

“(Project)ions of Community” A augmented-reality mobile device art installation throughout Barton Village

[Hamilton, Ont] New media installation projects scenes and sounds onto neighbourhood from another urban village – Parkdale, Toronto. Artist offers free public talk and guided tour of the work starting at Woodlands Park on Saturday, October 13th, from 1pm to 2pm.

Using an internet connected iphone or android mobile device installed with the free app “Aurasma Lite”, certain areas and angles throughout this neighbourhood will activate a work by local resident and artistChristopher Healey. For example, standing on the north-east corner of Wentworth and Barton and facing west is a “trigger image” that will bring up a video overlay of Parkdale from a similar vantage point. The contrast between the two communities can be disorienting.

More about Aurasma technology can be found via this presentation at TED Talks. Though a mobile device is not required for attendance, those who want to participate fully in the experience are advised to download this free app beforehand from your App Store or Google Play.

Maps, trigger images, a video demo, download links and more information is available at http://www.projectionsofcommunity.chrishealey.name

See the original press release here.

Media contact:
Chris Healey
email

-30-

projections of community invite
map of location auras

Augmented-reality art “(Project)ions of Community” unveiled in Barton Village


[Sept 20 2012 Hamilton, Ont]  New media installation projects scenes and sounds onto neighbourhood from another urban village – Parkdale, Toronto. Artist offers free, public talk and guided tour of the work.

Using an internet connected iphone or android mobile device installed with the free app “Aurasma Lite”, certain areas and angles throughout this neighbourhood will activate a work by local resident and artist Christopher Healey. For example, standing on the north-east corner of Wentworth and Barton and facing west is a “trigger image” that will bring up a video overlay of Parkdale from a similar vantage point. The contrast between the two communities can be disorienting.

The work is about the perceptions of this neighbourhood  – one of the poorest in Canada. Many strongly associate Barton Village with elevated levels of danger and violence, and consider it an area to be avoided entirely, if possible. By designing a location based interactive experience that encourages walking and careful consideration along Barton Street, the work offers to engage participants in a wider discourse about notions of community and transformation.

Healey states: “This work is not about the people who live in Barton Village – it’s about the people who don’t live here. Projecting expectations on a community is a powerful force, perhaps as powerful as taking a walk through it. My work addresses this by contrasting the shared experience of one neighbourhood, The Village of Parkdale, with the expectations of another area, Barton Village. Hopes, aspirations and critiques are examined through the spaces and architecture of these two areas.”

Join artist Christopher Healey for a talk and guided tour of the project starting at Woodlands Park on Saturday, October 13th, from 1pm to 2pm.

Maps, trigger images, a video demo, download links and more information is available at http://www.projectionsofcommunity.chrishealey.name

More about Aurasma technology can be found via this presentation at TED Talks.

Media contact:
Chris Healey
email@artlistpro.com

-30-

Storefronts of Barton Village

Photos from my iphone 4 on a walk through one of the poorest neighbourhoods in Hamilton, Ontario. This is where I live, and am interested in the notions of abandoned signs, blocked windows and unused doors within communities as formal compositions. These photos are research for my current studio practice, and one can’t help but think about the potential of this area for arts and culture. I think it would transform the area but is that what the current residents would want? I don’t know.

ALP VIDEO EXCLUSIVE: A search for art in one of Canada’s “worst” neighbourhoods

A walk through in photos and audio commentary of Hamilton’s Barton Village, where I live. Looking for art and at derelict storefronts, one realizes there is a lot of potential for this to be an area where galleries / studios could thrive. Amazed that one of the most widely acknowledged poor neighbourhoods of any major Canadian city is only 45 minutes away from downtown Toronto.

For me as an artist living in the area, this slideshow is a record of a time and place to refer back to as the neighbourhood changes.

Commentary by Chris and Jen (dumb critics) as we discuss the state of the area, the local BIA and artists working in the community.

The Consultant puts a $ value on the Art Crawl: Performance art alarms, amuses

Photos by One Gus Eckstein 
Hamilton, Ont. June 11 | With recent community issues in the James Street North area involving gentrification and the arts community, a surprise performance art work at Art Crawl evokes a specter of speculation for these galleries and their public.

The consultant on James Street during the June 10, 2011 Hamilton Art Crawl

If you know your eastern Ontario art history, you may remember Ottawa-based The Consultant from series such as “How to appropriate real estate from an old lady and develop condominiums on it” and documentaries such as “How to effectively eliminate arts budgets for your city”.

Now, apparently, it was Hamilton’s turn to attract the critical and conservative eye of this artist (and in collaboration with One Gus Eckstein no less). Embarking on a valuation spree, The Consultant assessed galleries by 1) storefront visibility 2) quality of art and 3) suitability for redevelopment as retail and condominium space. Gallery staff were handed a valuation form at the end of the inspection.

Reactions varied but generally the gallery culture was confused, reserved and somewhat alarmed. One entrance caused two children to flee in panic and almost resulted a damaged art work. This effect was unintentional. One gallery administrator yelled afterwards “is this performance art!?”

This is the only photo of One Gus Eckstein known to exist.

The general public was more festive in their interactions with The Consultant, and a few clued in right away to the detached and aloof nature of the performance. There was some fear in the throngs looking for the quaint aspect of art as the two costumed men involved are over 6’4″ and combine for over 500 pounds of artist.

a random public collaboration with one of The Consultant's valuation forms.

A taunting fan of the performance earned a valuation form from The Consultant. The foppish young man responded by re-branding The Consultant as “Punch Bot” and re-purposing the valuation form as a collaborative public sculpture.

This is hopefully the beginnings of more performance art and costumes on the streets and spaces of art crawl.