March 23 — July 22, 2023
254 Niagara Street, Toronto, Canada
Wed to Sat, 12-5 PM, or by appointment
Opening May 23, 2023, 6-8 PM
Gallery Party Saturday, May 13, 1-5 PM
859 Queen Street West, Toronto, Canada
Mackenzie Place concludes a trilogy of Pari Nadimi Gallery exhibitions focused on the consequences of the architectures we construct. Each exhibition presents a variation of the internationally ubiquitous concrete tower apartment building, inviting us to consider the evolving significance of these buildings. Radiant City (2014) examines tower apartment neighbourhoods across Toronto, while Skip Stop (2019) focuses on the rise and fall of this building type in Toronto’s Regent Park. Mackenzie Place examines a unique tower apartment, located far from its usual urban context, making it a symbol of both the reach and the edge of global capital and settler colonization.
Anthropologist Lindsay Bell, a former resident of Hay River (Xátł’odehchee) in Canada’s Northwest Territories, introduced me to the town’s “High Rise,” a lone concrete tower built in 1975 far from its typical urban home. In 2013, we began a research-creation collaboration focused on this town and its tower. Mackenzie Place engages you in what the building sees, how it is seen, and the lives lived within its walls. The installation is anchored by a multi-channel film that immerses you in the inexorably evolving landscape around the building, sometimes beautiful, sometimes banal. Voices reading aloud from Lindsay’s book Under Pressure tell the building’s story and the stories of those who have made it their home. Large illuminated prints depict the building as it is experienced on the ground: simultaneously omnipresent and ignored, a monument that nobody asked for. A portfolio of smaller prints—52 images shot of, in, or from the building—sits below five of Bell’s field notebooks, gesturing toward the parallel processes of art and anthropology.
Mackenzie Place explores the legacies of colonialism through an unlikely lens, by holding the viewer’s attention on the structures of development and how people live within them.
Hay River’s High Rise was built on a gathering place of the K’atl’odeeche First Nation and Dehcho Dene peoples. Pari Nadimi Gallery is located on the historical domain of the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishnabeg, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee, and the Wendat peoples. I travelled to both locations from the unceded territory of the Acjachemen and Tongva peoples. Indigenous presence in these lands date back over 10,000 years; colonial actions have irreversibly transformed them in a small fraction of this time.