Temporary Contemporary 2020 now on display in the Trafalgar Library

The 2019-2020 Temporary Contemporary program invited proposals from artists and designers across Canada to envision and implement a public site-specific installation at the Trafalgar Campus in Oakville. Artists were encouraged to propose works that considered the unique Trafalgar Campus community and respond to its history and surrounding natural landscape. The chosen artwork, Indeterminate Growth, is now on display in the Trafalgar Library.

Indeterminate Growth engages with Oakville’s local histories by exploring the contemporary relationship between nature and technology. To create this site-specific installation, artists Sam Cotter and Fraser McCallum worked in the Faculty of Animation, Arts, and Design’s furniture studio at Sheridan’s Trafalgar Campus, as well as in the Davis Campus’ School of Skilled Trades & Apprenticeship.

  • A gilded metal frame in the shape of a greenhouse. The frame sits on a raised white platform that holds plant life. The display is in the Sheridan Library at the Trafalgar campus.
  • Up-close shot of the plants growing in the white base of the greenhouse structure.
  • A shot of the side of the metal greenhouse structure.
  • A gilded metal frame in the shape of a greenhouse. The frame sits on a raised white platform that holds plant life. The display is in the Sheridan Library at the Trafalgar campus.


The greenhouse-like structure is composed of a CNC-cut plywood base, beneath a welded steel shell that houses over a dozen plants, of which climb up onto lattice supports. Programmed irrigation and light systems elicit subtle plant movement over time.

Indeterminate Growth responds to Oakville’s settler agricultural histories, and in particular, the town’s industrial-scale plant cultivation during the 20th century. If we consider the greenhouse a symbol of environmental management, the artists ask: How can we maintain ethical stewardship of plants in a mediated environment?

Sam and Fraser want us to pay closer attention to the capacity of plants to “delight and surprise,” and consequently, reclaim the greenhouse as a structure that can respect plant agency. Through its focus on the unpredictable and slow nature of plant growth, Indeterminate Growth encourages viewers to pause and take note of the work’s gradual evolution amid the day-to-day rush of contemporary life.

The Faculty of Animation, Arts and Design, Creative Campus Galleries, and Library & Learning Services welcome you to join us at the opening reception for Indeterminate Growth on Thursday, January 30 from 6 – 8pm in the Trafalgar Campus Library.

One Comment on “Temporary Contemporary 2020 now on display in the Trafalgar Library

  1. The ethical stewardship of plants should in my opinion include non genetically altered seeds and natural non pesticides used as history has proven for 1900 years. Natural fertilizers and mixed rather than one crop is what we can use nature to it’s fullest capacity as the early settlers of Oakville must have done prior to commercialization of the farm industry. History should not be forgotten and now the future is left to our imaginations.

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