Calm Before the Storm

Slowly, gently, a transformation is taking place. Spring, a late occurrence in Calgary, is shifting the colour palette of our city, and with the change in temperature, comes a subtler change in temperament. If we lived in a place that was always warm, always green, always bearing fruit, how could the sun affect us in this way? How would we mark the passage of time? And yet, as any seasoned veteran of the Canadian Prairies knows, one ought not to trust the sun. Spring is fickle, and she will appear when she damn well pleases.

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In the same way, the incredible calm of our Neighbourhood of houses – this pre-demolition strip of homes we are beginning to dissect – is, in all likelihood, the Calm Before the Storm. For many artists, this is a familiar feeling, bordering between pre-panic and unflinching potential. For those who have already started working on WRECK CITY, now is a time for building, growing, making, under-painting, diagramming, and experimenting. Asking: will it work? Or: how can I make it work?

For those Artists still in planning phases, the Calm Before the Storm is on par with cocking back the spring on a confetti canon.

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Diagram by Lea Bucknell, an Artist behind WRECK CITY


The Neighbourhood, whether it realizes or not, is morphing. These homes, standing as monuments to times long passed, will soon be exploding beneath wrecking balls and the sharp teeth of demolition diggers. The land, exposed again, will prepare for new homes, new inhabitants, new stories, and a changed aesthetic. In the meantime, our Artists are easing that transition…

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WRECK CITY has sprouted signs! DIRT, they read, or TRADING POST. Artists are creating road-signs in our little village of creative folks – tin can phones! With over 100 people passing through this space, building an infrastructure for Project Communications is a must, in one way or another.

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The Artists themselves are appearing one by one, each on their own schedule and with their own preparatory process. Popping up like daisies! Today, Lea Bucknell and Morris Fox worked onsite in the same quadraplex, one wall separated, building white and black worlds, soon to be transformed by light of different sorts…

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Elsewhere, signs of progress are making their marks. Fences are transforming into gateways and doors. Paint is spilling over through glass and out onto the facades of homes. Garbage is piling up, and being re-absorbed into the project elsewhere – a strange, junk-based form of breathing. WRECK CITY is slowly and surely opening the flood-gates, as if to say “Let the storm come! We’re ready for her.”

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New entries into the space of Lane Shordee

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The beginnings of a cloud, by Mynthia McDaniel and Jane Durham

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The outer windows of Morris Fox’s space

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Faces on the doors, presumably the work of Jack Bride?


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