AURORA BALLEALIS
Design Team: Public City Architecture

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AXIS BRIDGE
Artist: Chris Ried

Chris Reid’s collaborative sculptural installation Axis Bridge, encourages us to engage with the landscape near 1000 Pacific Avenue, and explore historical and current ties to place and community.  The former Canadian Pacific Railway Station is located at the northern edge of Brandon’s original centre. The renovated rail station is now home to Westman Immigrant Services, which welcomes and assists recent immigrants to Canada. The Winter Garden brings to mind historical Station Gardens that once graced rail stations across Canada. These traditional gardens served as friendly reminders of “home” to European immigrants. Reid’s Winter Garden gives a nod to this historical tradition while creating a contemporary garden filled with organic, lacy, wooden cutouts. The twisting garden shapes contrast with the rigorous symmetry of the Beaux-Arts style Brandon railway station. Stone, brick, marble and oak stand as a monument next to the temporary garden structure which turns commercial plywood into curving shapes, returning it closer to its original tree form. Colourful plants and animals meld together, turn into abstracted forms and give reference to culture, identity, and place.  This Winter Garden began through conversations, and informal gatherings of artists and community members. Transforming the sidewalk’s bike rack, the plant-like shapes grow to form sides of a shelter.

Viewing the temporary sculpture on Pacific Ave, past the train tracks one sees the 8th Street Bridge stretch across the background. Behind the Winter Garden, trains painted with colourful graffiti pull up and move along, snaking underneath the bridge. The structural design of the 8th street bridge influenced the skeleton of Reid’s sculpture, which pays homage to this historical landmark scheduled for demolition in 2017. The Winter Garden and its surrounding landscape become ephemeral, an image that won’t last.

URBAN AVIAN ECOLOGY
Design Team: James Culleton, Chris Pancoe, Michael Koch-Schulte
Avian Urban Ecology is a place of discovery and reflection. Stepping into the garden we catch glimpse of painted wooden birds perched throughout the trees, and find ourselves immersed in an interactive soundscape.  The design team which created Avian Urban Ecology is interested in bringing art outdoors and making it available and accessible to all. The Winnipeg-based artists, James Culleton, Chris Pancoe, and Michael Koch-Schulte, were all born and raised in Manitoba. They believe that public art can impact the quality of life for the residents in our communities. Avian Urban Ecology encourages us to stop for a moment within the cityscape and consider nature and our connection to it. What pockets of the city have we not yet fully discovered, and what do these spaces have to offer us? How can time spent with nature benefit our minds and contribute to our personal wellness? Our movements in the garden affect the interactive aural composition created by Koch-Schulte, which utilizes technology so that we, the audience become a part of the artwork and environment. The artists contemplate North America’s declining bird population and believe that society has the ability to adapt to the needs of birds. As we take moments to reflect during our day, we may realize our connections to our community and nature, and consider the adverse changes that occur when our ecosystems are threatened, and our responsibility to react.

PAST PROJECTS

Liz Wreford, Landscape Architect with PUBLIC CITY, finds inspiration from the Prairie landscape and northern lights for Aurora Ballealis which contains thousands of green and blue ice globes. Community members and organizations prepared the ice globes and placed them on-site with the design team. This community project explores “possible gardens” and ways “we might help to understand the power and poetry of the prairie landscape and the community that shapes it. The vast prairie ecosystems that once occupied the southern part of Manitoba were seas of flowing grasses – the windswept home to thousands of species of birds and mammals, havens of biological diversity, and a rich garden in a state of flux from season to season. The constant push and pull of ecosystem change provided a complete landscape mosaic that supported all forms of life. PUBLIC CITY is interested in creating public spaces that are expressive, engaging, accessible to all, and that help to create a better sense of Manitoba’s identity.” PUBLIC CITY.