Launched in 2012, the Temporary Contemporary program is an annual installation of contemporary artwork on one of Sheridan’s three campuses. The program offers an opportunity for creators to incubate and implement new ideas through exchange with Sheridan’s vibrant interdisciplinary community.
Sam Cotter and Fraser McCallum
Plywood, steel, hydroponic system, LED lights, plants
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.
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 several climb 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?
Cotter and McCallum 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.
About the Artists
Sam Cotter and Fraser McCallum are interdisciplinary artists of mixed and settler Euro-Canadian ancestry living in Tkaronto (Toronto). In their collaborative and individual works, Cotter and McCallum exhume recent histories, with a materialist focus on the media and technologies that have shaped the past and present. Both artists hold Masters of Visual Studies from the University of Toronto.
For further information about this year’s Temporary Contemporary installation, including details about Sam Cotter and Fraser McCallum’s public artist talk, visit galleries-sheridan.ca.
This Light is composed of text and images cut from plexiglass and diffraction grating that cast rainbow light and shadows on the interior surfaces of the library, revealing messages and scenes throughout different times of the day. The words “Care Taker Take Care” as well as the hand gestures, some of which are loosely based on Bharatanatyam classical dance, allude to internal conflict, friendship and the ways a small shift in the tension of a hand can communicate deeper meaning.
The installation responds to perspectives shared by members of our Davis community. In Fall 2018, Vettivelu invited students to reply anonymously to open-ended questions like “how far have you traveled?” and “what makes a good life?” They were moved by a few deeply honest responses that came from students who are also parents. “These students shared some of the risks that were involved in going back to school, immigrating, and making large life decisions (like leaving abuse) for the benefit of their children” explains Vettivelu. The medium is also connected to stories that community members shared with the artist, such as international students experiencing their first winter in Canada. Vettivelu “started to think about the effect of light, and what longing can feel like on a molecular level when we can no longer absorb something that we expect to always nourish us.” They add that the installation “is a reminder to those who care, that they must also care for themselves; and a reminder to those who are cared for, that they must give care as they receive it.”
Vettivelu worked on-site in the Faculty of Animation, Arts, and Design’s glass studio at Sheridan’s Trafalgar Campus in Oakville, Ont., as well as in the Davis Campus’ Centre for Advanced Manufacturing and Design Technologies (CAMDT) to create this installation.
The 2018-19 Temporary Contemporary program is presented by Sheridan in collaboration with the City of Brampton.
Couzyn van Heuvelen
Nitsiit, which means “hooks” in Inuktituk, is an installation of large-scale fishing lure sculptures that reference traditional and historical Inuit production. Artist Couzyn van Heuvelen worked with students and technicians at Sheridan’s Oakville campus over the fall semester to develop the sculptures in the Faculty of Animation, Art & Design’s workshops. He explains that he “was interested in exploring the rapid prototyping technologies at Sheridan, as using newer manufacturing processes to create work that references traditional Inuit technologies will allow these objects to be seen from a fresh, modern perspective.” The moulds for the cast metal sculptures as well as the wood and ceramic lures were all created at Sheridan.
The 2017-18 Temporary Contemporary program is presented by Sheridan in collaboration with the Art Gallery of Mississauga (AGM).
Rhonda Weppler and Trevor Mahovsky
Museum of Broken Watches
This museum of stopped personal analog timepieces simultaneously functions as a working digital public clock. The 720 watches are each stopped at a different minute, and they collectively display all the possible hour and minute combinations of a 12-hour clock. Each watch is held in an individually-lit compartment, and the lights are digitally controlled so that only the watch showing the current time is lit. The display case is 60 columns/minutes wide and 12 rows/hours high.
A Clock Set to 24 Hours Into The Future
A cooling tower on the roof above the main entrance has been fitted with a one-story tall segmented clock display, transforming it into a clock tower of sorts for the Sheridan College campus. Unlike most campus clocks, this one has been set 24 hours fast, always displaying “tomorrow’s time.” Of course, on a four-numeral digital clock, tomorrow’s time appears indistinguishable from “today’s time,” and therein lies a small bit of levity that is intended to open up a range of poetic interpretations.
A clock tower running 24 hours fast is, in fact, practical and functional in the present, but serves also as an aspirational signpost pointing towards the idea of tomorrow. This clock has in part been modeled on a stunning modernist clock tower that overlooked Toronto’s Exhibition Grounds between 1954 and 1986. It was considered cutting-edge and futuristic in its day. A Clock Set To 24 Hours Into The Future also recalls the past, insofar as it conjures a romantic image of the traditional campus clock tower, which appears surprisingly often in literature, poetry, and admissions brochures for many other schools. For institutions older than Sheridan, one imagines an idealized pillar of ivy and stone, with students discoursing at the bottom. “Meet me by the clock tower” sounds lovely, yet there is a melancholy hint of anachronism to the phrase. After all, most of Sheridan’s students have a very accurate clock integrated into their phones, unlike their counterparts in the 18th or 19th century who relied on a communal timepiece to get to class punctually. This installation takes account of that obsolescence while still serving the community in other, less horological ways. Visible from kilometres away, it serves as a landmark and wayfinding aid to locate the main entrance. A didactic panel with title information has been positioned at the base.
Dopplekopf, which is German for “double-headed”, is a site-specific installation that transforms a pair of vitrines into mirror images of each other. A group of objects is arranged, copied, reversed, and reflected in various shades of gray. The symmetrical arrangement of the objects in these two vitrines prompts viewers to assume that both vitrines are identical. Closer inspection reveals surprising differences as well as optical super-impositions that are unexpected and disorienting.
Endless Kiosk recreates Constantin Brancusi’s Endless Column as a site for commercial advertising. Brancusi imagined his column as a modular structure that could potentially grow to monumental height. Sullivan invites visitors to use his variation as a site for posters, paper, and advertisements. In principle, Sullivan’s kiosk will grow endlessly in girth to complement the possibility of its endless height.
About Temporary Contemporary
Launched in 2012, the Temporary Contemporary program is an annual installation of a new artwork on one of Sheridan’s campuses. It provides creators with the opportunity to incubate and implement new ideas through exchange with Sheridan’s vibrant interdisciplinary community.
Photography by Toni Hafkenscheid.