As part of the Project Common Ground event being held at The Cambridge Galleries from July 6th to September 30th 2012, vlan paysages presents its reflection on the capacity of urban infrastructures to generate public spaces: The lantern gives power to the space.
Located at the intersection of a source of energy production and it’s elements – water, electricity, light and shadow, wind, cycling and walking – the work reflects the potential of our urban infrastructures, in this case a small power station in a residential area of the city of Cambridge, to generate public spaces. As these structures are approached from a landscape perspective, we can explore their processing, and reuse them back into urban regeneration.
The lantern borders a heavy traffic corridor of transit, a bicycle path in a park, the Grand River (which divides the city of Cambridge) and a sidewalk two blocks away from The Cambridge Galleries. The actual installation of the courtyard surrounding the power station evokes a lantern.
Reflecting tape in a bright yellow colour are woven through the wire fence to form words – 1.5 m in height – which refer to both the historical and symbolic site in a poetic nature. Weaving technique was used to form the words echoed when the textile industry was one of the economic engines of the industrial era. A bench adjacent to the space offers a more detailed perspective. These words refer to the river and its hydropower potential, essential to the development sector at the time, while also suggesting a possible transformation of the place.
Since 1999, vlan paysages develops an approach in which kinetic and sensory experiences can build engaging and precursor projects. Micheline Clouard and Julie St-Arnault, founders of vlan paysages, tackle projects by reading the interpretation of sites in which we experience space, temporality, movement, evolution and sensory. The firm works with municipalities and the potentials of transformation and organization of its landscape. The approach vlan paysages is supported by the desire to build landscape experiences which engage with the perception of the space especially in the actual & future mechanism. The development of the lantern allows the Quebec firm to continue its reflection on the city, the landscape and its current issues, through an exploration tool that is part of their practice: the installation.