236 Pender St East,
Colin Campbell, production still from the video Shango Botanica, 1977. Courtesy of Vtape, Toronto.
Until 28 January 2023
07 September–26 November 2022
T. +1 604.683.7395
07 September–12 October, 2013
Curated by: Mark Lanctôt and Jonathan Middleton
Shot in an abandoned former GDR amusement park located just outside of Berlin, Plänterwald is a film about the gradual processes of decay and overgrowth. By choosing as subject a forgotten place of leisure that to this day remains gated and guarded by security guards, Lynne Marsh draws a telling parallel between the spaces of spectacle, of control and of Nature. The passage of time, as indicated by how submerged in foliage the corroding site has become, turns the fun park into a sylvan pastoral.
Captured in the process of returning to nature, the site still retains the human presence of security guards, what the artist has called “guardians of a ‘dead’ space.” As they patrol a place with no clear use or value, they become representatives of corporate law and order that offers protection without preservation. They stand idly by as the object of their surveillance slowly disappears under rampant vegetation. Is this what an eventually depleted future holds in store? Abandoned sites whose guardians, like soldiers cut off from communication lines at the end of a war, are unaware that the old order has fallen?
Plänterwald marks the first of a series of exhibitions and projects curated by Mark Lanctôt and Jonathan Middleton under the title The Troubled Pastoral. The series takes on a broad set of themes including pessimism, psychedelia, altered states and drug use, black comedy, science-fiction dystopia, class struggle (within the context of an increasingly marginal or absent middle class), the industrialization of food production, the ragged edge of suburbia, and various forms of visual, aural, or perceptual interference, including smoke, static, and electro-magnetic radiation.
A reception will also be held in conjunction with SWARM 14 on the evening of Friday, September 13th, from 7PM.