MAYBE IT’S BETTER WE DON’T KNOW is a site-specific, temporary, conceptual sculpture and shelter designed to engage public commentary on the volume of wasted light from urban light pollution. The work questions the effects on the human psyche as a result of our living daily under the veneer of an ever-present light glow.
When did an experience of the true night sky become a rare attraction?
When did we agree to allow lighting design to disrupt our connection to the stars and galaxies above, or to eliminate the need for celestial skills and the sharing of sky myths that use to guide our daily lives?
Taking advantage of the weather adaptive qualities and inherent strength of steel with alluring affect, the work is a site-weathered ‘skin’ of custom, fire-burnt steel sheets that are layered and fastened at various angles to a modular, welded steel frame. Apertures in the sculpture’s skin invite the ambient adjacent light and the glow of Toronto’s night sky to enter the interior space as an unique interpretation of the true night sky. Daytime, the effect of the apertures experienced as shards of light, contrast against the dark steel passageway. After dusk the contrast becomes more pronounced as the darkened interior space contrasts against the exterior urban night glow. This unique interpretation of the urban night sky emphasizes the surprising intensity of urban light pollution, something that we easily forget as we go about our urban night time lives.
What have we lost when the progress of contemporary life has undermined the common sense of humility and awe that we once experienced by staring deep into a dark sky to imagine the vastness of the universe?
Maybe it’s better we don’t know.
*Special thanks to Moonstruck Lighting Ltd.
VTLA - Landscape Architect Victoria, principal and founder of VTLA, engages with landscape as an artistic and cultural practice through public and private commissions, curatorial projects, teaching, writing and temporary installation artwork. Victoria is a registered landscape architect with the Ontario Association of Landscape Architects and is a full member of the Canadian Society of Landscape Architects. She holds a Master of Environmental Studies from York University and a Master of Landscape Architecture from the University of Toronto. VTLA designs spaces informed and inspired by context, ecology, social engagement and horticultural possibilities. Working independently or as part of a multi disciplinary design team, the studio's professional work includes master plan design, residential projects, planting design, and institutional landscapes. Construction design and project management services are informed by Victoria's established relationships with landscape contractors, plant growers, lighting, irrigation and LID consultants, fabricators, masons and carpenters. With designer Gelareh Sadaatpajouh, Taylor launched ====\\DeRAIL Platform for Art + Architecture as a curatorial project to animate public spaces along urban linear landscapes. Victoria is the co founder and inaugural curator (2012 - 2014) of Grow Op, The Gladstone Hotel's annual Urbanism, Landscape and Contemporary Art Exhibition, is a sessional lecturer and critic at the John H. Daniels School of Architecture, Landscape, and Design, University of Toronto and at the University of Waterloo School of Architecture, and is a featured writer for GROUND Quarterly.
Ken Roy Johnson
Sculptor, Steel Fabricator, Musician Ken received his AOCA from the Ontario College of Art and Design, Toronto, Canada. Ken brings an experimental and mimetic approach to each project that is strongly inspired by site and process and often with themes concerning the sublime. He works with a variety of media, including music, but specializes in metal work. Ken's work has been exhibited at Spin Gallery, Toronto, Canada; Grow Op: The Gladstone Hotel's annual Urbanism, Landscape and Contemporary Art Exhibition, Toronto, Canada; Overflo Gallery, Toronto, Canada; The Presentation House Gallery, Vancouver, Canada; Gavin Brown Special Projects, New York; and Mastien Gallery, Mechelen, Belgium. Johnson currently lives and works in Toronto, Canada and Marfa, Texas.