Project Overview: The Encampment
June 8-24, 2012 at Fort York National Historic Site
Commissioned by the City of Toronto and Luminato, Toronto Festival of Arts and Creativity, for the Bicentennial Commemoration of the War of 1812
The Encampment is a multi-media installation in 200 canvas tents on the grounds of Fort York National Historic Site, each featuring artwork created in response to the life story of someone who lived (or died) during the War of 1812.
For The Encampment, I took on two tents, interpreting the lives of Lieutenant-Colonel John Vincent and Lieutenant-Colonel Ralph Henry Bruyeres through photographs of forts in Eastern Canada and poems. My photographs are from an ongoing 8"x20" series called Holding The Fort that has been underway since 2006, and my poems were written specifically for The Encampment with different styles of poetry, highlighting the person's individuality. Each character's tent differed greatly from the other's, and were located at opposite sides of the Fort York grounds, to extend the connection between the photographic images for the visitors to the exhibition. I selected two military men from the story bank provided by the organizers, in order to make a close connection between my images and their lives, however the majority of stories represented by The Encampment collaborators were those of civilians.
Toronto, May 30, 2012 - The Encampment, by art duo Thomas+Guinevere (Thom Sokoloski and Jenny-Anne McCowan) replaces "a dig for artifacts" with "a dig" into the collective memory of a public space and its history. It launches next week at Fort York National Historic Site as part of the Luminato Festival and City of Toronto Bicentennial Commemoration of the War of 1812.
From June 8-24, the grounds of Fort York National Historic Site will transform into a large-scale 'temporal village' and a glowing sculptural grid against the night sky as 200 tents house individual art installations inspired by the people who shaped Toronto's past.
Thom Sokoloski and Jenny-Anne McCowan have done previous versions of The Encampment, on different themes, at Toronto's Nuit Blanche (2006), in New York City (2007), and Ottawa (2008). This incarnation of The Encampment focuses on the civilian history of The War of 1812.
A team of over 100 Creative Collaborators under Thomas+Guinevere's direction have been working together over the last seven weeks at Fort York to conjure what might have been the 'zeitgeist' during the War of 1812. Each of the 200 tents houses a visually expressive installation that represents a story of an individual from the war, many of which touch on themes of love, loss, survival and patriotism, as well as those of collaboration, deception, greed and betrayal.
Each installation is inspired by the story of an individual living in the Canadas during the War of 1812. Many of these individuals remain unrecognized as part of our history. They include First Nations, European immigrants, African Canadians, as well as European and Native loyalists expelled from the United States after the American Revolution. Though the majority did not play a role in the military history of the War of 1812, collectively, they defined the zeitgeist of our nation. Their stories are as varied as the people who lived them and include themes of patriotism, betrayal, treason, profiteering, pacifism and family loyalties.
Thomas+Guinevere is an art studio run by Thom Sokoloski and Jenny-Anne McCowan. Their collaboration began in 2006 when Thom was commissioned by Scotiabank Nuit Blanche (curated by Clara Hargittay) to create Confinement of the Intellect in Trinity Bellwoods Park. It was later re-titled The Encampment and presented in New York City on Roosevelt Island (2007) and Ottawa in Major Hills Park (2008). In 2010 they developed the first draft of The River Peace, inspired by Mahatma Gandhi's satyagrahas, for Nuit Blanche in The Distillery Historic District. In 2011 they were in residence in the Aboriginal community of Mapoon in the Gulf of Carpentaria, Queensland, Australia, where they researched and developed Ghost Net, a large-scale installation that takes as its metaphor the massive fishing net debris drifting and entangling marine life in the Pacific. This coming August they will be in residence in Socrates Sculpture Park in New York City undertaking a development workshop to construct prototypes of The Scarecrows, a new work that blends the collective ideas of the mysteries and energies of Astoria into effigies of protection.
The Encampment - A Thomas+Guinevere Creation
Conceived by Thom Sokoloski - Produced by Sherrie Johnson Productions
June 8-24, every evening from 7:30pm-11:00pm
Fort York National Historic Site, 250 Fort York Blvd., Toronto. – Free!
Detailed Information: www.thomasandguinevere.com
To Editors: For photo downloads and background of previous versions, visit http://thomasandguinevere.com/media/
Media Contact: Dianne Weinrib / Sarah Mackie, DW Communications
The Encampment / Thomas+Guinevere home page (opens in new window).
Thomas+Guinevere - Media page (opens in new window).
Some of Stefan's Holding The Fort / The Encampment photographs are in Photos - Holding The Fort on this site.
Photographs of the two tents' installations and other images from The Encampment will be posted on this website in the near future.