cedric bomford

tower block

Red Bull 381 Projects, Toronto, Canada.┬áSeptember 10 – October 10, 2009

Tower Block was constructed on location at the Red Bull 381 Projects Space in Toronto, Ontario over the month leading up to the exhibition opening on September 10, 2009. The project was conceived of as an examination of the layering of architecture and constructed space over time. The installation progressed from a single shed that was constructed and then flattened in the exhibition space, with subsequent structures constructed on top of and around the wreckage.

The project developed structure by structure in a more or less organic process. Each constructed element was completed before the next, and as each was finished the sum of the previous structure suggested the next element to be constructed. The second structure to be built was a small site office, in which we could hold our materials and tools for the remaining work to be completed. The site office has been a critical component of past works, as it was in this one. This structure becomes a private space within a more or less public sphere, a space to think and plan the upcoming work.

The Red Bull 381 Projects Space was an exhibition space located within the offices of Red Bull Canada in Toronto. As such the space had a number of unique characteristics, not the least of which is that it is located within the office environment. The nature of the space suggested a kind of contemporary, hip work environment, with music, open office layouts etc… A key element of the work ended up being an interrogation of the working environment, with a set of work desks constructed under a low ceiling and surrounded with sound-dampening insulation. This claustrophobic space leads to a ramp access to the centre-point of the installation consisting of a tower some 18 feet in the air. This panoptic tower provided the visitor to the installation with access to the second floor of the Red Bull offices.

The final components of the installation consist of a set of bleachers and a witness/accused stand. The bleachers were constructed as a kind of accompanying structure to the tower and the accused stands and provided viewers with a set location to investigate the entire installation. The accused stands were constructed from materials taken from an unused office space behind the Red Bull offices (a source of much of the material used in the installation). In particular four large sheets of plate glass formed the sides and front of the stands. Ladders provided access to the cubicles from underneath.

As a component of the opening a guard kiosk was constructed in front of the gallery’s door on street level. It was anchored to a tree stump left by the city of Toronto staff.