The History of MaRS

We’ve started researching the history of the MaRS building since we are currently considering installing our voices of innovators piece in the lobby.


Here’s some info from the MaRS website:

Long before MaRS acquired it, the Heritage Building was famously associated with excellence in innovation. Formerly the ‘College Wing’ of the Toronto General Hospital (TGH) from 1913 to 2002, it was both a brilliant architectural centrepiece and a contributor to some of the last century’s most significant medical breakthroughs: insulin, the artificial kidney and the pacemaker, among many others. But its research legacy runs deeper. The new hospital site on College and University was not built simply to update the Toronto General’s facilities. It also enabled a cutting-edge research collaboration with the University of Toronto, inciting the University’s first serious exploits in biomedical research. The health legacy represented by the Heritage Building lies not merely in the numerous innovations it has produced, but in the innovative institutional relationships that birthed them.

Since its official opening on June 18, 1913 and through most of the 20th century, the TGH College Wing stood at the centre of a dynamic discovery district not unlike the new “Discovery District” envisioned by MaRS. It was built upon strong linkages between the TGH, the University of Toronto (which included Connaught Laboratories until 1972), the Ontario Ministry of Health, the City of Toronto, the Hospital for Sick Children and other hospitals of the area, all of which are key partners in the MaRS initiative today.

Indeed, the monumental discoveries that arose in Toronto are in large part products of this history of cross-institutional collaboration. In the story of insulin’s discovery and refinement, this collaborative environment might have been the deciding factor. The innovation legacy represented by the Heritage Building thus represents not just a distinguished lineage of medical breakthroughs, but a progressive institutional approach to innovation that echoes today’s push for “convergence innovation.”

Artistic Research: Installation environments that consider your body

Artist Ernesto Neto Wants To Get Inside Your Nose

Ernesto Neto’s new installation anthropodino opens May 14 at the Park Avenue Armory. The installation contains 1,650 lbs of spices, and will be on display through June.

People tend to think of your work in those very formal terms, like space or material. What else are you thinking about in approaching the Hayward show?

The works have a lot to do with urbanism. The world we live in is so deeply populated. Just think about the Internet. I’m also thinking about a space full of things, like a forest, or like a cell phone, or like a photograph machine — a kind of space where you have to put a lot of things together in a really small space. This is the kind of space we are living in today. Everybody is full and busy. Our time becomes so short, and we have to divide into many little spots of time for everyone we work with and live with: our family, our friends, and our business partners. I’m asking, “What can we do in this confined area?”  — Ernesto Neto

The Heart Library Project: St. Vincent’s Public Hospital, Sydney by George Khut

Eye Ear You

We realize we may have a create some kind of floating but non-functional installation to indicate to participants where the sound is. Here are some images we find inspiring. Inspirational installation images:

Jellyfish on queen st. w
An exhibition in Glasgow 2009

More to come.

Visiting Toronto’s Downtown Labyrinth

Chartres Pattern of Labyrinth

As part of our investigation into how sacred spaces function in the public realm we visited and walked the outdoor labyrinth in Trinity Square, between the Eaton centre and Trinity church (Thanks for telling us about it Dave Wolfenden).

A labyrinth is not a maze, it’s an ancient design intended to create a meditative, open or reflective state in the walker.  We found the length of the segments made us feel like hurrying up and slowing down. How close or far we were from the centre made us relaxed or frustrated.

We stood in the middle together and listened to the sounds of the city, the artificial waterfall, the roar of air conditioners, a helicopter chopping, the clang of metal being dropped on a construction site.

When we came out we sat on a nearby park bench and observed one man praying outside the labyrinth. He created a private space within a public space. Other people sat on the edges of the labyrinth on little grass mounds. One man listened to his ipod, two young women talked to each other.

It turns out there are many passionate labyrinth makers and walkers in Toronto. The Labyrinth Community Network who are behind this Trinty Park labyrinth.

In our modern, often chaotic culture and times the opportunity to step into an oasis of calm is rare. Labyrinths provide such an opportunity. Toronto Public Labyrinth is situated in the heart of Toronto’s bustling metropolis.

The group spearheaded the creation of Toronto Public Labyrinth at Trinity Square Park which officially opened September 14, 2005. LCN worked in collaboration with the City of Toronto and The Church of the Holy Trinity on this labyrinth and its predecessor, the grass labyrinth, installed in July 2000.

There is also the Toronto City of Labyrinths project, whose stated objective is:

Toronto City of Labyrinths is a Project to create a labyrinth within walking distance of every Torontonian inside the city limits of Toronto Ontario Canada.

Labyrinths are placed in public spaces and public events such as neighbourhood street parties and major city festivals like Pedestrian Sundays.

We reflected on other kinds of art and ritual that can create silence and encourage a reflective state of mind in public spaces, Butoh dance for instance. Liz forwarded these links to Shibusa Shirazu Orchestra who don’t create silence but do have butoh dancers in the mix and apparently inspire strong feelings in their audiences.

And here is a segment from a 1960s film all about observing people in a public New York square. We’ll be doing more of this kind of observation as we build our prototypes.

A kind of group wishing – Noplace September 2008 (Tate exhibit)

Noplace video still c. Marek Walczek and Martin Wattenberg 2008

MW2MW: Marek Walczak and Martin Wattenberg, with Jonathan Feinberg, Rory Solomon & Johanna Kindvall

Noplace is a Net Art project focussed on notions of Paradise and Utopia, by Marek Walczak and Martin Wattenberg, who work together under the name MW2MW.

Walczak and Wattenberg reach out to unknown others with participatory ‘Web 2.0’ software and an algorithm to mine the public resources of the web…. systems and algorithms for soliciting creative participation in utopia/noplace, my space…

Michael Shanks, Video as Social Agent

Wider access to technology and the Internet has allowed a broad spectrum of people the opportunity to articulate and circulate their own experiences, ideas and beliefs. ‘More video material has been uploaded to YouTube in the past six months than has ever been aired on all major networks combined, according to cultural anthropologist Michael Wesch’

These public archives have become an essential form of aggregated cultural memory. Those participating are leaving behind millions of temporal artifacts which are often taken up and reworked.

Noplace reuses material uploaded to the Internet under a Creative Commons license, in order to create new and original works, designed around an individual’s input. Placing emphasis on the keywords or tags we use to describe those artifacts.

Sentences people wrote to represent ‘perfect’:

#noplace is thoughts emotions realities we all hold to be truth. leaving actual reality somewhat of a mystery.

#noplace is motherhood, love, children, music, nature,
# noplace is for mothers and children four per second lots of babys lots of pregnancy lots of love but not unique
# noplace is where the heart is.
# noplace is a sea of underwater sleep that endlessly flourishes diving and diving like a coral reef.
# noplace is egg mayo
# noplace is blah. Today, tomorrow. I feel your kiss. Random thoughts, images of nothingness. Believe, create and become you.
# noplace is creative, bold, intelligent, strategic, branded
# noplace is a place to create, we are designers, we are innovative, we are strategic, we brand companies, we plan, we are RBMM
# noplace is where my heart is. I can see my favorite movies and take photos of my experiences. I feel healthy and have good friends. I can wois
# noplace is perfect, relaxing, fun, and full of wonder
# noplace is key west hawaii new york
# noplace is where there is no war. Love is everywhere. Racism doesn\’t exist.
# noplace is nowhere and nobody has been there for so long
# noplace is a place where all the trees are yellow
# noplace is a place where Palestine and Isra‘l is a same country, people loving each other.
# noplace is full of light and color, though tainted by acid tear drops that linger on your lips
# noplace is at home with my cat watching television and drinking coffee while my boyfriend takes a nap.
# noplace is built on a promiseland of freedom, expression, passion and all things good. No suffering and pain, just contented people living in a fh
# noplace is a place to dream
# noplace is dogs teeth bicycle evolution god topography stem cherry steel sport
# noplace is a place in which I am paralysed. I cannot move or speak. No one can hear me. I wish that my thoughts and ideas can be heard.
# noplace is a place for peace. The politicians actually tell the truth! God is with us every day. Love grows there.
# noplace is myself and my lover, united in God\’s immanent presence
# noplace is where I milk cows in the daylight with my rubber boots and large shaft.
# noplace is global understanding/ interoperability/ geographic intelligence / GIS
# noplace is a library / full of books / about the world / and its people / music and laughter / and quiet discussion.
# noplace is red and green / like christmas / and santa claus / it fills our hearts / with joy / and peace.