New Circadia transforms the Daniels Faculty’s new 7,500-square-feet Gallery into a cave-like atmosphere – a soft utopia designed as an antidote to our technologically-infused lives.
Have our tech-infused lives caused us to forget the benefits and pleasures of losing ourselves in states of repose and reverie?
The Daniels Faculty is pleased to launch the Architecture and Design Gallery, a unique, experimental space — the only gallery of its kind in Toronto — located in the lower level of the Daniels Building at One Spadina Crescent.
Curated by Professor Richard Sommer and New York-based designers, Pillow Culture, the Gallery’s inaugural installation, New Circadia (adventures in mental spelunking), prompts participants to ask: What would happen if we disconnected from standard time and external stimuli within a dream-like space specifically designed for relaxation, reflection, and repose?
New Circadia (an approximate translation from Latin for “New Day”) has been conceived to engage the city and the University of Toronto community alike in an immersive environment — an underground, cave-like, soft utopia.
“Architecture today is inextricably bound up in the urbanization of the planet, and it needs to pay as much attention to the marking of time, as it traditionally has to the shaping of space,” says co-curator, Richard Sommer, Dean and Professor at the Daniels Faculty. “With New Circadia, we are acknowledging architecture’s complicity in an increasingly stressful and zombie-like world by presenting an antidote to the over-mechanization of everyday life and our plugged-in, 24/7 culture. Might it be time to put architecture to sleep?”
The interactive installation will be made up of three zones. Beginning at the east entrance of the Daniels Building, visitors will enter a subterranean space through a Transitory Zone or “mouth of the cave,” illuminated with an artificial skylight created via digital technology.
Here, visitors will store their belongings and choose from a variety of body wearables or “spelunking gear”.
Then, moving though a felt envelope, participants will enter the main cave space, an uncanny Dark Zone, with a large yet soft rock-like lounge-scape, animated with responsive sound and light. Oneiroi, a participatory project by architect and Assistant Professor Petros Babasikas and artist Chrissou Voulgari, will invite visitors to anonymously record their personal dreams and listen to those recorded by others. Throughout the installation, visitors will be encouraged to make use of the cave’s soft infrastructure, including its felted floors and walls, to engage in self-directed rest and meditation.
Inspired by both the 1938 Mammoth Cave Experiment (the first staging of a scientific research laboratory for studying natural human cycles of sleep and wakefulness) and the synesthetic happenings of the 1960’s and 70’s, this haptic installation will offer visitors a variety of experiences, including a series of thematic lectures, multidisciplinary performances, dialogues, film screenings, and nocturnes. New Circadia’s events and programming will be organized around six time-based themes: story time, deep time, wasting time, break time, marking time, and dream time.
“We have transformed the new Architecture and Design Gallery into a soft utopia to conjure a greater sense of geological, mythical, mechanical, and biological time, and to explore how we might nurture a more sustained interior life by incubating dream-like states of rest, reflection, and reverie,” say co-curators Natalie Fizer and Emily Stevenson of the interdisciplinary design studio Pillow Culture.
Both the space and programming of New Circadia is aimed at demonstrating that idling, whether by sleeping, dreaming, napping, or meditating, is not lost, unproductive time, but rather an essential state of mind and body, connected to experiences vital to our survival and evolution.
Exhibition support is provided through the Lorne M. Gertner Fund.
Please join us in exploring New Circadia at the launch event on November 7, 2019 at 7:30pm. Click here to register for this free event.
The installation and affiliated events will run until April 30, 2020. Children must be supervised at all times.
Gallery Hours: Tuesday to Sunday, 9:00am to 9:00pm
Please check the Daniels Faculty website and/or social media for details on upcoming talks and events associated with the installation.
For more information, please contact:
Account Manager, Kriss Communications
About the Architecture and Design Gallery
The Architecture and Design Gallery at 1 Spadina is dedicated to showcasing and advocating for the important ways that design shapes our cities, landscapes, and daily lives. Its unique exhibitions and installations will explore and promote experimental and prescient forms of contemporary architecture and urbanism — in all their artistic, scientific, and cultural dimensions. Located on a landmark site in Toronto, at the nexus of one of the world's leading research universities and a thriving downtown creative sector, this flexible 7,500-square-feet facility — the only one of its kind in Toronto — will harness a rich network of local and international collaborators. The Gallery will also draw on the talents of the Daniels Faculty and U of T’s remarkable community of scholars, urbanists, and design professionals to test ideas, provoke needed debate, and foster a deeper understanding of the role that design plays in imagining and building a better world.
Capital support of the Architecture and Design Gallery has been provided by the Estate of James Drewry Stewart.
This project has been made possible in part by the Government of Canada.
Ce projet a été rendu possible en partie grâce au gouvernement du Canada.
About the John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design
The John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design at the University of Toronto provides interdisciplinary training and research in architecture, art, landscape architecture, forestry and urban design. The oldest school of architecture in Canada, and now among the largest schools of its kind in North America, The Daniels Faculty’s mission today is to educate students, prepare professionals, and cultivate scholars who will play a leading role in creating more culturally engaged, ecologically sustainable, socially just, and artfully conceived environments. Located in the heart of Toronto —a vital and expanding creative hub for architects, artists, landscape architects, curators and urban designers— the Daniels Faculty is a community of students, scholars, artists, technologists, and designers committed to modes of teaching, research and practice that are tuned to a changing planet and the evolving needs of society.
About Pillow Culture
Pillow Culture — designers Natalie Fizer and Emily Stevenson — Explores current material technologies to prototype and develop pillows, and pillow-like constructs that contribute to human comfort, beauty, and well-being. Working in collaboration with designers, scientists, and engineers, their mission is to increase an awareness of the history, culture of the pillow, and broaden attitudes towards their place in our lives. Projects include: a set of giant upholstered boulders, a 20-foot dayglow pink inflatable, an elaborate sex cushion for the post-menopausal woman, and a soft public bench for the City of Boston. They are currently involved in a radical rethinking of the sleep aid.
NEW CIRCADIA (adventures in mental spelunking)
Concept and Curation
Richard Sommer, Daniels Faculty
Natalie Fizer, Pillow Culture
Emily Stevenson, Pillow Culture
Laura Miller, Daniels Exhibition Director
Sound: Mitchell Akiyama, Daniels Faculty
Oneiroi: Petros Babasikas, Daniels Faculty; Chrissou Voulgari, Toronto
Lighting: Conor Sampson, CSDesign, Montreal
Graphic Design and Wayfinding, Glen Cummings MTWTF, NYC
Design and Fabrication Team
Anton Skorishchenko, Lead Fabricator / Installation Manager, Daniels
Sutton Murray, Lead Designer, Pillow Culture
Robert Lee: Lead Installation Fabricator, Daniels
Zainab Al-Rawi, Exhibition Research and Design, Daniels
CODE ETC, Oneiroi Development
Marienka Bishop-Kovac and Phat Le, Oneiroi Installation Team
Daniels Staff Leads
Bohden Tymchuk, Supervisor; Workshops, Facilities, and Special Projects
Nene Brode, Manager, External Relations & Outreach
Sarah Whitehouse, Facilities Coordinator