An immersive multimedia experience in the space of one of Toronto's first immigrant havens, asks visitors to consider the paradoxical nature of diaspora-isolating and community-building.
Install as part of Toronto’s city-wide Nuit Blanche arts festival.
In the mid-1950s, The Ward, home to the diasporic communities of African Canadians, Italians, Jews, African Americans, and Chinese, among others, was torn down to make way for the construction of government buildings, hotels, and corporate high-rises. But this space, one that welcomed so many refugees over its 100+ year existence, was the site for community building. The name All Vows is a translation of the Aramaic title of the Kol Nidrei prayer, one written for the Jewish Diaspora, where the preservation of heritage may supersede religious obligations. If The Ward was a space where diasporic communities from around the world could come to settle in their new adopted homeland, what is here now? Is there space for the sort of preservation allowed here 180 years ago? Inspired by the Jewish diasporic experience of hidden religious practice, All Vows asks visitors to come to The Ward and take a moment of pause to consider what it means to fight for the preservation of one’s culture and look for spaces of preservation in their own communities.
Done in collaboration with Zachary Kaiser, with help from Jeremy Ball.
Thanks to York University’s School of the Arts, Media, Performance and Design for contributing to the funding of this project through the Minor Research/Creation Grant program.