The most utopian presentation of the night was from the second panellist, filmmaker and landscape architect Joseph Clement, who directed the 2016 documentary Integral Man, about Integral House and its original owner, James Stewart. Clement’s approach to the evening was to share a collection of his own personal photographs, a quietly stunning series of views taken amid his daily life in the city that showed it under the influence of plays of light, shadows and reflections. Several offered visions of the city’s pervasive concrete – a legacy particularly of development from the 1950s through 1970s – touched by fleeting ephemeral transformations. 1Toronto’s legacy of concrete architecture of the second half of the 1900s is often decried as brutalism, but on closer inspection reveals a complex and sophisticated architectural lineage. Michael McClelland and Graeme Stewart’s 2007 anthology Concrete Toronto: A Guidebook to Concrete Architecture from Fifties to the Seventies attests to this. A sidewalk encased in construction scaffolding is marvellously changed by shadows created by its zigzag fencing. A watery reflection from opposite windows creates a patch of seeming transparency on the imposing and impenetrable limestone fin walls of the city’s courthouse. And in perhaps the most utopian of the collection, a photo taken of Toronto from beyond one of its harbour islands gives the impression that the city’s waterfront boasts a thick greenbelt and a natural sand beach. Clement’s poetic documentation of these imaginary realities amid the city’s built form inspired both a dreaminess about other possibilities and new appreciation for the latent merits of what already exists. – Kate Lawrie Van de Ven
Kate is a doctoral candidate in Cinema and Media Studies at York University. Her research explores Toronto’s many film festivals, their relationship to their urban communities and how different kinds of festival space impact understandings of Toronto as a particular kind of place: a festival city. Her broader interests include film festival cultures, media literacy, education and social justice; contemporary visual culture; and cinematic urbanism. She has published on spectacular representations of Paris and hotels and motels as cinematic purgatories as well as writing broadly for and about film festivals. She previously studied in the film departments at UCLA and Queen’s University. Please see more at Academia.edu .
|↑1||Toronto’s legacy of concrete architecture of the second half of the 1900s is often decried as brutalism, but on closer inspection reveals a complex and sophisticated architectural lineage. Michael McClelland and Graeme Stewart’s 2007 anthology Concrete Toronto: A Guidebook to Concrete Architecture from Fifties to the Seventies attests to this.|