During and after our research trips we were thinking about materials that could be used for the public artwork in Delta Garden. Are there recycled or re-appropriated materials that reflect the City around the site, metaphorically and literally? (see mirror shards above). Could we literally pull materials from our offsite visits? (see prismatic below). What are the opportunities of using various reflective and refractive materials when thinking about this particular place + space?

02 Prismatic
Prismatic (from street signs) cut into teardrops
Mirror shards

Our studio for designing and testing public-art materials is the opposite of fancy: domestic and low-brow (just the way we like it). We often spill out onto the sidewalk in front of our house, or into the backyard. Most of our material experiments pictured on this blog happened at our house, not far from the Peace Bridge, over the course of several months in 2016.

Brass disks
Steel washers

Our criteria for usable materials was building: the objects must be embedded in the sidewalk, and subsequently need to be safe, durable, robust, and considerate of their environment. Physically, the material needs to be capable of dealing with the intense freeze/thaw cycles of our Chinook-prone city without popping. We didn’t know it at the time, but we would eventually travel through a whole series of formal studies: slip studies, a glare study, engineer consultations, maquettes, test plots, destructive testing, and more. Our friends from Calgary Public Art and Parks would give us many hours of feedback, and our trusty cohorts from O2 would share enthusiasm and critique. Ultimately, we ruled out most of the materials pictured here almost immediately for durability considerations alone…

Glass tile

… but in the beginning we were searching for something less tangible, something more akin to the place where beauty + meaning overlap. 

While the process has been arduous and discouraging at times, many of these material experiments are bleeding into our overall arts practice, and becoming other things. We’re still working on a project our first project idea, which was ultimately abandoned: creating a river from hundreds of thousands of Canadian Pennies.


Copyright Statement - Invisible City Survey



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