The site-specific installation ‘Factoria’ was produced during a creative research residency in  Saskatoon as part of a Canada Council for the Arts sponsored Artist and Community Collaboration Program, connecting the College Art Galleries with the Meewasin Valley Authority, and the Interdisciplinary Centre for Culture.

Factoria was a planned utopian industrial city in an area of Saskatoon now called Silverwood Heights. Robert E. Glass, a Chicago entrepreneur,  proposed to build Factoria on a 470 acre site which was promoted as having abundant natural resources, including spring water that was claimed to be “the purest in Canada”.  An archaelogical review of the Factoria site for the Meewasin Authority details the extensive development that took place in a short period, including a spring water bottling plant, a brick and farm manufacturing company, a hotel, restaurant and row houses. In 1914 the dream of an industrial city died, in part due to the failure to extend of an overhead power line from Saskatoon to the new developments, but mostly because of the economic slowdown caused by the outbreak of the war and the ensuing credit freeze.

The Factoria installation was inspired, in part, on the idea of ‘accidental monuments’ similar to the famous Hollywood sign, which was originally intended to last for 6 months as a temporary commercial sign to promote another planned neighbourhood, Hollywoodland. I was interested in creating a temporary monument to not only placemark and reveal Factoria’s hidden histories but also, through the material choices of solar powered LED’s and recycled materials, to suggest an environmentally sustainable present and future.

Factoria was exhibited as part of Formerly Exit Five: Portable Monuments to Recent History, curated by Shauna McCabe at the College Art Galleries in 2010. Check out the blog on YZO for more site background, pics and video.