Parastoo Anoushahpour, Faraz Anoushahpour, Ryan Ferko
36 min | 360 video, web documentary | Canada | 2021
In July 2017 residents of the Markham suburban development of Cathedraltown awoke to find a chrome replica of a prize-winning Holstein cow, double its original size, suspended on 25-foot tall stilts in the centre of a small crescent facing their homes. The sculpture was commissioned by Cathedraltown’s developer, and donated to the City of Markham as a public art piece. The residents, however, quickly rose in opposition to a sculpture that they felt did not represent them, and negatively affected their quiet suburban community. Charity the Cow was finally removed from Crescent Park in May 2018.
Charity looks at the unlikely controversy surrounding suburban public art, focusing on the bureaucratic processes that unfolded over several years in the Markham City Council, as a way to consider the broader forces at play in our municipal democracies. From the same council chamber’s where land is subdivided, rezoned, and repurposed, decisions are also made about what public art should do to narrate place.
Presented as a public digital artwork produced by the National Film Board of Canada, this interactive documentary employs 360° video and photogrammetry to present a variation on the familiar interactive real estate tour –– where a house in Cathedraltown becomes a site to collect and re-narrate a community’s confrontation with a piece of public art, in turn offering a portrait of private property.
This project runs parallel to the film Surface Rites, presented as part of the Greater Toronto Art 2021 (GTA21) exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Toronto.
To view the project, please visit:
Installation view, Museum of Contemporary Art, Toronto (Photo: Toni Hafkenscheid)
To view PDF of installation broadsheet click here