A PLATFORM TO...a new commission by ====\\DeRAIL Platform for Art + Architecture

A PLATFORM TO…  is a limited edition book commissioned by ====\\DeRAIL Platform for Art + Architecture that features ====\\DeRAIL’s 2017 two public art commissions on the West Toronto Railpath. The book documents ====\\DeRAIL directors’ ongoing journey as emerging cultural producers to push the definition of public art, to critique and reshape current planning processes, and to identify new opportunities in public landscapes that go beyond the purely functional to create places (and experiences) that better reflect the life, identity and aspirations of a particular place.

In a commissioned essay by art curator/critic Rebecca Carbin and in a series of images by photographer/filmmaker Martin Reis, A PLATFORM TO… captures a unique moment in time to document the transformation of three decommissioned monitoring wells into a place for the public to PLAY, to REWIND, to PAUSE, to RECORD and to share new experiences. During 2017,  ====\\DeRAIL invited two artists to consider the theme of pause along the West Toronto Railpath - to draw people into an experiment that would inspire new ways of understanding a familiar place beyond its usual functionality. Using the idea of pause as a critique on the singular A to B movement of the active mobility corridor, our program invited audiences to consider how we might think differently about our city and our shared public landscapes: to pause, to listen, to observe and to imagine new creative possibilities for the various nodes and niches along the West Toronto Railpath.

====\\DeRAIL 2017 included two commissions Pause Platforms, a series of three, 8ft diameter wood and raw steel platforms inspired by the design concept proposed by Andrew Jones and fabricated by Marek Kubat, and “We Pause At Twilight”, a place-specific, participatory audio-choreography created by Cara Spooner.

Numbered edition of 100.

The book is available to purchase at Art metropole in Toronto and CCA in Montreal.

DeRAIL 2017 Book July 2 2018_Martin Reis 20072.JPG
DeRAIL 2017 Book July 2 2018_Martin Reis 20070.JPG

Discussing the Marginal at Urban Space Gallery

As part of the exhibition "Discussing the Marginal" (Nov 25 - Jan 21, 2017) curated by Marcin Kedzior, ====\\DeRAIL joins the conversation at Urban Space Gallery Thursday Dec. 15th 6:30-8:30pm

Marginal Spatial Movements in Toronto
Helena Grdadolnik, Director, Workshop Architecture Inc
Kristina Ljubanovic, AGO
Michelle Senayah, Director, The Laneway Project
Graeme Stewart, Tower Renewal Project
Victoria Taylor and Gelareh Saadatpajouh, co-Directors, ====\\DeRAIL Platform for Art + Architecture

Curated by: Marcin Kedzior

Literary marginalia allow readers to physically inhabit the space of a book, inscribing a position from which to comment on, interpret, and translate a text. Over time, texts build up multiple layers of reading in a way that sometimes builds a temporary collective consensus of meaning and sometimes remains in a perpetual state of re-interpretation. 

In the urban realm, millions of ways of living negotiate in the same space. These are not just interpretations, but more urgently, desires, uses, and formations of publics. Increases in privatized spaces, along with stricter zoning and program, limit the power of genuine public uses. 

Space as a commodity, fixed zoning and program dictates, infrastructure as efficiency—each of these emerge as contemporary Towers of Babel that limit the language we have to discuss value, use and movement respectively. In each case a dominant language is assumed that flattens urbanity and reduces subjectivity to a single scale and sphere. 

 The marginal is always a space of plurality that resist the imposition of a generalized and homogenous framework on life. Alternate forms of thinking, living, and physicality develop in the margins, on the periphery of the dominant city. Common languages emerge in which people exist at various public scales and modes of reality simultaneously. 

 This exhibition is simultaneously a map of Toronto's marginal spaces, an abstracted landscape in conversation with the structure of the space, seating in an expanded hallway, and most of all a space for Discussing the Marginal. This exhibit maps marginal spaces in Toronto including surface parking lots and space adjacent to highway, railway and hydro corridors. A series of diagrams examine unexpected scalar relationships between the most everyday components of Toronto. The space of the exhibit is both a map and an inhabitable public space. Through a series of discussions, various movement in Toronto including Laneway Project, DeRAIL, Undergardiner, Greenline, ravines, etc., are brought together. These spaces elude conventional ideas about program and call into questions stable concepts about a city. 


What makes you a Canadian? We are more than we’ve ever been. This place we call Canada is now the home to over 36 million unique voices who are dispatched to build this country together.

Where is our common ground? What unites us? Divides us? Where are we going? And what make you feel like you can relate to this massive land and its people between sea and shining sea?

Lend us your voice, and share your thoughts on twitter #WhatMakesYouCanadian

We're extremely honoured to be in company of so many great creatives to animate DXI 2016, in support of the Design Exchange. Also, thrilled about this year's honouree, Tyler Brule of Winkreative, Monocle and Wallpaper Magazine. Charles Bombardier recently named 'The Most Innovative Person in Industrial Design' is this year's Honourary Chair. Join the gala to experience installations by SPACE ANIMATØR, RAW Design, Sarah Kennleyside and Joe Clement. 

Project team: Gelareh Saadatpajouh, Victoria Taylor, Cassandra Alves, Nicole Tarasick, Markus Doerr, Armita Ghasabi, Jay Ding

Graphics: Nicole Tarasick


Playful and participatory, SPACE ANIMATØR takes over the Design Exchange Link for the DXFundraiser party on November 4th to design an experience for the VIP guests to walk the unique Canadian landscape and take part in a collective effort to build the country. 

Team: Cassandra Alves, Victoria Taylor Landscape Architect, Nicole Tarasick & Jay Ding. 



====\\DeRAIL is launched along the West Toronto Railpath

Earlier this year, SPACE ANIMATØR co-founded and co-curated ====\\DeRAIL Platform for Art and Architecture with landscape architect, Victoria Taylor. ====\\DeRAIL is a curated program of site-specific exhibitions, events, competitions, and publications with a mission to foster, support, interpret, celebrate, and expand public understanding around placemaking, landscape, and urbanism. It aims to provide an alternative platform for dialogue and collaboration across disciplinary, geographical, and ideological boundaries at the intersection of contemporary art and architecture. Taylor and Saadapajouh’s vision for the program is to inspire Toronto to expand the public dialogue around contemporary art, placemaking, landscape, and urbanism.

For its inaugural commission in Spring 2016, ====\\DeRAIL presented the installation titled MOBILE INK FACTORY by Jason Logan of Toronto Ink Company. Through the Doors Open Toronto weekend, Logan led participants along a section of the West Toronto Railpath park to learn about the unique character of this urban ecosystem, and then invited participants to make ink from the natural and handmade elements collected during the exploratory walks. The bottles of ink were kept as a souvenir of place, time, and experience. Educational, playful and participatory, MOBILE INK FACTORY drew attention to biodiversity and the inherent colours of the West Toronto Railpath park to celebrate new ways of understanding a familiar place beyond its usual functionality. For photos of the event, click here.



New York: The Endless City

My recent visit to NYC was inspiring and I got to revisit some old and new sites as it is relevant to the kind of projects that Space Animator is engaged with at the moment. If you are an urban explorer, below are a few hidden gems that you can experience on your next visit.



Hidden sound installation by Max Neuhaus in the midst of chaotic and overwhelming Times Square. Originally installed in 1977, the sound art is a rich harmonic sound texture emerging from beneath the subway grating, resembling the after-math of a gong bell. Be patient, trace this static noise in contrast with the rapid changing visual environment of Times Square.

sound layers-new york-7.jpg

Direction: North end of the triangular pedestrian island located at Broadway between 45th and 46th Streets in New York City. Opens 24hours a day, 7 days a week.


Instructions: download the audio and image files to prepare for your walk. When you arrive to the starting point, put on your headphones and listen to the audio tracks. Save the photos to your phone or print for your soundwalk journey.

Starting point: 59th street W and 6th Ave
A digital archive of supporting materials for "Her Long Black Hair" is available through the links below. After you've downloaded the audio material into your iPod/iPhone/MP3 player, print the image files below or open them on your mobile phone while you're at the Park. http://phiffer.org/hlbh/

Art is woven into the fabric of New York city and it doesn't take much to absorb its endless quality... I spent most of my time on High Line observing people and reading. In his book Milan Kundera talks about the beauty of New York and how the view changes with each step,

"as if they were following a winding mountain path surrounded by breathtaking scenery: a young man kneeling in the middle of the sidewalk praying; a few steps away, a beautiful black woman leaning against a tree; a man in black suit directing an invisible orchestra while crossing the street; a fountain spurting water; strange iron ladders running up and down buildings with ugly red facades, so ugly that they are beautiful; and next door, a huge glass skyscraper backed by another, itself topped by a small Arabian pleasure dome with turrets, galleries, and gilded columns. ... Sabina was very much attracted by the alien quality of New York's beauty. Franz found it intriguing but frightening; it made him feel homesick for Europe."  __The unbearable lightness of being by Milan Kundera

Architecture for Humanity talk

SPACE ANIMATØR was invited to talk about the importance of collective memory in building culture and our city. 

Old friends, new collaboration

Old friends and new collaboration with Gardening by Design over a weekend charrette for scheming the Abbott Residence's journey through the garden and exploring variety of options in relation to hardscaping and horticultural elements. 

Weekend Project

A sheet of 4' x 8 ' Douglas Fir Plywood

Two 4' Metal J-Trim that is usually used to finish drywall edges

DIY inspiration board with metal holdings for books and materials. You can find the Metail J-Trim at Rona in the construction isle. 

West Toronto Railpath walking tour

Thanks to local naturalist Richard Aaron and our curious group for joining this week to learn about the diverse urban ecology of the West Toronto Railpath park. For over two hours, Richard shared ethno-botanical tales, railpath history, wildlife facts and plant ID for more than 30 vines, perennials, shrubs, and trees that thrive in this dynamic landscape. 

Learn more about Richard Aaron and his various hikes, workshops and talks throughout the GTA.

The Friends work with the City of Toronto and local organizations to help build a vibrant railpath park community.  Please share this with your neighbours and others who live and work near the railpath park. Send us your email so we can stay in touch.  

New ideas, New people, new Call for Submissions for Grow Op 2016

Exhibition Dates: April 21-24, 2016

ENTRY DEADLINE: September 30th, 2015. Submit a project, an idea, a dream ... And watch it grow op

Gladstone Hotel’s fourth annual Grow Op exhibition, a four-day exhibition celebrates innovative ideas and conceptual responses to landscape, gardens, art, and place-making under this year’s theme, the culture of landscape is open for submissions for 2016!

SPACE ANIMATØR will be part of the jury for the second year for pushing boundaries of exhibition making and re-imagine new territories for place-making and engaging public art. It will be an exciting new show with Graham Teeple and LeuWebb Projects as curators. 

Last year, plants could talk, Septic Mounds were At Work, Leslie Spit was relocated and new creatures added to the encyclopedia of fauna and flora. Bees and beehives re-imagined in the lobby and warm tea ceremony brought curious minds at the table. A mysterious pine forest pulled people in while a roving van harvesting seeds around parks in the city. what's your idea for 2016? 

Festival Talks


Festival Talks was a series of short, candid interviews recorded during the 2013 Toronto Design Offsite Festival. I co-directed the video with ALSO Collective and co-produced it with TO DO. Each 1-2 minute video features local designers, artists, and administrators: Lars and Jason Dressler (Brothers Dressler), Sara Diamond (President of OCAD University), Zahra Ebrahim (Founding Principal of archiTEXT), Joy Charbonneau (architect and artist), Ange-line Tetrault and Michael Madjus (imm Living and TO DO), Tara Lee Towers (fibre artist), Andrew Sardone (Style Editor at NOW Magazine), Vivien Leung (PechaKucha Night Toronto), Vanessa Nicolas (Programs Coordinator at OCAD U Student Gallery), and Noa Bronstein (Director of Exhibitions & Cultural Promotions at the Gladstone Hotel).