In May 2013, eleven houses will be demolished on 5th avenue NW in Sunnyside. Small and weathered, the entire strip of homes will be re-developed into one dense apartment block, taking shape over the next few years. Done in the name of progress, efficiency, and value per square foot, this is a familiar Calgary tale – wrecking balls followed by a flurry of worker bees, and a new beige structure emerges from the rubble of outdated-bordering-on-antique architecture. For better or for worse, this is just how Calgary works.
Despite the nostalgia of working in a neighbourhood soon to be destroyed and redeveloped, WRECK CITY is an optimistic experiment, creating wildly exciting potentials for the participants. Artists will be free to radically alter the architecture of entire houses, re-shaping and using materials from the homes themselves, without the need for repair at the end of the project. The project will pay tribute to the history of the spaces, serving as a swan song for the lives lived within these homes, and a celebration of the mysteries held within their walls.
With the blessing of the Housing Developers, the ensemble of Curators will select 30+ Artists to participate in the transformation, producing a neighbourhood of magical and critically-engaging spaces. The artists will work for one-month inside the houses, and then open up WRECK CITY to the broader community, inviting Calgarians to view and interact with the transformed houses for nine days between April 19th and 27th. Viewership from all-ages (especially kids!) and all types of people will be encouraged.
Instigated as an epilogue for 809 Gallery, (an influential garage-based gallery scheduled for demolition along with the other homes on 5th Avenue), the Curators organizing WRECK CITY are some of Calgary’s best and brightest rising stars. Together they have founded galleries, instigated long-term collectives, run festivals, toured art around the world, and measurably influenced the structure of independent art in Calgary. The ensemble has adequate technical and administrative experience to successfully complete a project of this scope, including involvement with similar pre-demolition projects in Toronto (www.leonadrive.ca) and Calgary (www.housedemolitionproject.wordpress.com).
An active reflection on Calgary’s demolition addiction, and playful comment on the potential of re-using domestic spaces prior to redevelopment, WRECK CITY is an opportunity to create an interactive portrait of an entire neighbourhood, as painted by a subculture of artists.
While we are encouraging the artists to use recycled and re-appropriated materials wherever possible, there will be some necessary expenses to make this project a reality. The biggest expense (and the most necessary) is insurance. In order to allow the public access to the neighbourhood, we need to spend $700 on insurance (as quoted by an Insurance Broker). This will leave us $300 for hardware and promotional materials. We've applied for other funding to help cover Artist Fees, but $1000 from The Awesome Foundation would be an amazing contribution, and ensure that WRECK CITY can come to fruition.
Funded by Calgary, AB (February 2013)