Located within the new Bentway Staging Grounds activation, Logan MacDonald premieres Fountain Monumental, a series of 20-foot-tall images that re-imagine the original shoreline of Lake Ontario. Fountain Monumental invites us to consider the unique history of our city’s waterways, while also imagining a decolonial future that prioritizes ecological preservation.
Responding to the geographic site where the new Bentway Staging Grounds public space pilot is situated, artist Logan MacDonald premieres Fountain Monumental, a series of 20-foot-tall images that re-imagine the original shoreline of Lake Ontario (which traced the same path as the Gardiner Expressway today).
MacDonald challenges the notion of historical accuracy and authorship by creatively collaborating with digital tools to produce these arresting images. At Bentway Staging Grounds, he presents a revisionist history and a speculative, fantastical present and future, which considers what the ancient shoreline of Lake Ontario might look like today if it had been preserved differently. Taking inspiration from the epistemology of Tkaronto/Toronto, the city’s Mohawk namesake that means “where there are trees standing in the water,” MacDonald imagines an alternate world where old growth pine and spruce trees are honoured and take on the significance of fountains and other monuments that we typically place in our urban public spaces.
MacDonald used digital tools to craft images that play with signifiers of the past, layering his text instructions into the outputs themselves, creating artwork that fuses human and digital ingenuity. Each image appears like an old photograph or landscape painting that has been subtly subverted to critically reimagine Canadian history. Acknowledging that algorithms shape our daily experience and perceptions of the world, MacDonald creatively questions which contemporary tools we can subvert to step outside of our mainstream colonial histories and create a new way of seeing our urban spaces.
Standing as landmarks within this new public space, a site celebrating the perseverance of water and plant life found beneath the Gardiner Expressway, this temporary art presentation invites us to consider the unique history of our city’s waterways, while also imagining a decolonial future that prioritizes ecological preservation.
The archival images presented in Fountain Monumental are courtesy of Toronto Public Library.
Over the duration of the Staging Grounds project, The Bentway will commission artists to present original, rotating artworks on the scaffolding towers that line the site facing Lake Shore Blvd.
- Waterfront BIA
- CityPlace and Fort York BIA
- Maxine Granovsky Gluskin and Ira Gluskin