June 8th, 2020

Dale Hodges Park was the recipient of the Shared Footprints Award from the Emerald Foundation at the 29th Annual Emerald Awards that celebrate environmental achievements across Alberta. This project was one of the programs largest single undertakings and is the culmination of many disciplines collaborating together. Led by Watershed+ Lead Artist, Sans façon, the award is shared with O2 Planning + Design, Source2Source, AECOM, Wilco Contractors Southwest Inc., and the staff at City of Calgary Public Art, Water Resources, and Parks.

Thank you to the Alberta Emerald Foundation for this honour and their continued efforts in featuring environmental achievements and stewardship across Alberta.

Parts per trillion by Steve Gurysh

June 1st, 2020

Watch the newly released film by artist Steve Gurysh. Parts per trillion takes us on an extraordinary and beautiful journey, delving into the creative process from inception through to fruition.

Steve had the unique opportunity to work alongside employees and within the processes of the Utilities & Environmental Protection Department of the City of Calgary. Parts per trillion is the culmination of research, engagement with employees and citizens, development, and distillation over a period of three years. Archiving the remnant traces of human activity, Parts per trillion provides insight into the effects we have on nature and our watershed.

This work was developed while Steve participated in Watershed+ Dynamic Environment Lab, a City of Calgary Public Art Program.

Parts per trillion from Steve Gurysh on Vimeo.

Reservoir by Peter von Tiesenhausen – Dynamic Environment Exhibition

November 14th, 2019

In Reservoir, Peter von Tiesenhausen collaborated with sound artists Jen Reimer and Magnus Tiesenhausen and cinematographer Dave McGregor to capture the immense space and presence of the Saddleridge reservoir through sound and video. This project was developed while the artist was embedded in the UEP Department during the Watershed+ Dynamic Environment Lab.

Hidden beneath two soccer fields, the Saddleridge reservoir provides drinking water that originates from the Bow Glacier and watershed to north-eastern Calgary. With the capacity to hold 38 million litres of water, the reservoir has remained sealed to the outside world for forty years, sitting in darkness and silence as it supplied water until it was opened for scheduled maintenance in the spring of 2017. The underground concrete chamber is unlike any surroundings we are familiar with. The smallest of sounds will echo throughout the vast empty space and certain frequencies build upon themselves, intensifying in resonance. The improvised sound performance and fleeting images explore the unique nature and ambience of the space and combine to create Reservoir. Once maintenance was completed the colossal chamber was refilled, restoring it to silence for the next forty years.

This work is on view at Contemporary Calgary as part of the Dynamic Environment exhibition until January 5, 2020.

Previously shown at TRUCK Contemporary Art and the Art Gallery of Alberta in 2018.

Surfing Underground By Stokley Towles – Dynamic Environment Exhibition

October 31st, 2019

Stokley Towles gives the public a glimpse into the working lives of Calgary’s Water Services employees through his performative piece Surfing Underground. This work was developed while participating in the Watershed+ Dynamic Environment Lab where he was embedded into the UEP Department.

Towles is a storyteller fascinated with the seemingly mundane. For the last decade, the artist has scrutinized various municipal systems that allow a city to thrive while going largely unnoticed by the public. During his time in the UEP Department, Towles’ focused on its employees and wanted to answer the question: What is it like to spend your career working in a hole? Over two years, Towles followed construction crews tasked with repairing water and sewer pipes listening to their stories and insights.  

Surfing Underground combines their anecdotes with images and artifacts in a compelling performance that reveals the hardships and nuances of working underground. Touching on a multitude of issues ranging from personal space: “Working in such close proximity, you get to know the other crew members, the shampoo they use, their deodorant”; to things like safety: “Place a pebble in the crack of a dirt wall. If the pebble moves, the wall is coming down”. Towles’ performance provides an intimate stage for getting to know the people who care for our infrastructure. He prompts audiences to look at the mundane and scratch beneath its surface to see the remarkable.

This work is on view at Contemporary Calgary as part of the Dynamic Environment exhibition until January 5, 2020.

Photographs courtesy Jeffrey Heyden-Kaye.

Flow Paths by Tim Knowles – Dynamic Environment Exhibition

October 30th, 2019

Flow Paths are a series of drawings by Tim Knowles that capture the movements of the Inglewood Bird Sanctuary inhabitants. Knowles developed this project while participating in the Watershed+ Dynamic Environment Lab where he was embedded in the UEP Department.

The Inglewood Bird Sanctuary is a natural reserve of 59 acres on the west side of the Bow River intended to give migratory birds a place to rest. To date, 270 species of birds, 21 species of mammals, and 347 species of plants have been recorded at the sanctuary. It’s an environment bustling with life; a space in constant flux and Knowles wanted to “map the movement of everything”.

In 2018, the artist undertook an intensive residency where he started to catalogue the activity in the sanctuary by using a GPS enabled tablet with detailed satellite imagery. He collected data on the flow and tracks of birds, animals, and people. He recorded the industrious work of the beavers and the paths they took with their felled trees. Knowles used the information to create a series of drawings that expose the inner workings of the sanctuary. Patterns of animal behaviour become clear and viewers can infer the relationship between animals and their environment. These insights influenced the continued restoration of the sanctuary after the 2013 flood, informing the routes of water channels and paths as well as the artist’s own original design for a hybrid structure that is part log jam, part bridge, and part bird blind.

This work is on view at Contemporary Calgary as part of the Dynamic Environment exhibition until January 5, 2020.

Photographs courtesy Jeffrey Heyden-Kaye.