Dynamic Environment Exhibition

The Watershed+ Dynamic Environment Lab was developed to explore the intricate and delicate relationship we have with our watershed. It's an unconventional initiative that embedded artists into the systems and processes of Calgary's Utility and Environmental Protection Department. The lab facilitated beneficial exchanges of perspectives while fostering a collaborative relationship between artists and city employees throughout the development of new art works.

Dynamic Environment, hosted by Contemporary Calgary, is the culmination of the lab and presents a selection of works from the five DE Lab artists: Becky Shaw, Steve Gurysh, Peter von Tiesenhausen, Tim Knowles, and Stokley Towles. Each artist worked in vastly different mediums to explore various aspects of our watershed and extensive infrastructure.

Opening night of the exhibition featured a panel discussion moderated by amery Calvelli with Watershed+ lead artists Sans façon and the DE Lab artists. This intimate discussion recounted the history and creation of the lab as well as the artists' experiences of operating within a city department. It highlighted the successes and challenges of working in this non-traditional way and how it has affected the perception of what public art can be, in Calgary and abroad.

Dynamic Environment is on view at Contemporary Calgary until January 5, 2020.

Photograph courtesy Jeffrey Heyden-Kaye.

Photograph courtesy Jeffrey Heyden-Kaye.

Bowmont Park opens

8 years in the making, our largest pilot project for Watershed+ is now open to the public, following its dedication to Dale Hodges yesterday by Mayor Nenshi.
What was once a contaminated gravel pit in Calgary, Alberta, has now been remediated and transformed into a 40 hectare natural space, park, public art work and stormwater facility.

Artworks on this scale are the work of many passionate and dedicated people form conception to construction. Design collaborators: O2 Planning + Design, AECOM, Source2Source. Construction: Wilco Southwest.
We are indebted to Calgary Parks, Water Resources and Public art teams City of Calgary Arts and Culture for their the vision, generosity and relentless hard work and determination to provide this place for the people of Calgary.
We couldn’t be more excited to share it, if you’re planning a visit do get in touch (any excuse to get out there) We might even see the newly resident moose.

image courtesy of Wilco Southwest

image courtesy of Wilco Southwest

Residency at Emily Carr

Looking back to a Fall semester in residency at Emily Carr, it was a privilege to be welcomed into the heart of this passionate place, to explore with the staff and students the culture and community of this school of art and design, and to teach our class on the Art of Place. A thought provoking experience, how do we connect the activities of an art institution to the city, how do we teach about place and people? What do we hope for the future of our art education? A new chapter of work begins and this was a wonderful place to start, thank you to everyone who hosted us throughout Vancouver, we look forward to returning. 

A special thanks to Cameron Cartiere and Cissie Fu for creating the opportunity and Mustaali Raj and Nick Bone for sharing their professional insights with the class.


The art of developing a city

This week, April 25-26th, we’ll be speakers at “The art of developing a city“, a conference organised by Koro and the City of Oslo.


From the conference’s introduction “How can society renew itself by integrating the unruly power that art represents in city and place development? How to avoid public art that could have been "anywhere" and facilitate art that leaps out of forces and ideas with roots instead? Can art be a means of building local communities from the bottom up, and at the same time signal identity and distinctiveness to the outside world?”

The conference explores the interface between art, planning and place and community development and addresses current issues related to how art and artists can play a role in building, neighborhood, area and regional level. The conference will bring together leading international professionals and actors, the Norwegian academic community including cultural planners, planners, developers, curators and artists.

Iconic Site (#5) Toronto

Iconic Site (#5) will be installed until the 30th of November, as part of The Bentway’s Fall Art Exhibition If, But, What If?

Positioned atop a hill at The Bentway’s newly opened Strachan Gate, the work reflects equally on the changing nature of the surrounding communities and the ambitions of The Bentway project itself, which has transformed one of Toronto’s most significant landscapes into a new shared public space for the growing city. It is here that we recognize each signature city project is part of a larger continuum of change, remaking a site “iconic” time and time again.

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Urbane Künste Ruhr: Arts in Urban Space 2012-2017

Coinciding with the conclusion of Katja Aßmann's artistic direction of Urbane Künste Ruhr, Kerber Verlag has published Urbane Künste Ruhr ARTS IN URBAN SPACE 2012 - 2017 (edited by Katja Aßmann, Dr. Vera Battis-Reese, Lukas Crepaz, Florian Heilmeyer). It offers a multifaceted retrospective of the art projects initiated and realized by Urbane Künste Ruhr and discuses curatorial practice and the intention to combine art and city, with contributions, essays and interviews by and with participants illuminate the basic themes and methods of Urbane Künste Ruhr.

Sans façon participated in Urban Lights Ruhr in 2014, 2015, and 2017 and for Urbane Künste Ruhr ARTS IN URBAN SPACE 2012 - 2017 we contributed an essay speaking to the experience of co-curating in the 2015 edition.

Katja Aßmann
Dr. Vera Battis-Reese
Lukas Crepaz

Find more publication details here, click bookstore for information on obtaining a copy.

An Audience of One

Last week was the opening of An Audience of One for Urban Lights Ruhr. It will be on the Forumplatz in Marl until October 29th.

Thank you again to all the people made it possible, especially to the Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium and all the generous people who shared their hands to record the clapping. 

Odd Sympathies re-enactment


We were delighted to re-enact one of the walk from Odd Sympathies 10 years later for the occasion of the book launch Walking Through Social Research. Although the time, season, day were not the ones for which the composition was created, the walk was interestingly similar with some of the sounds still coming in on cue.

Walking Through Social Research is edited by Charlotte Bates and Alex Rhys-Taylor (Routledge 2017). Charlotte Bates is a Sociologist at the Cardiff School of Social Sciences, Cardiff University. Alex Rhys-Taylor is a Sociologist at the Centre for Urban and Community Research, Goldsmiths, University of London.

Closing Keynote - Uncertain Places

On Thursday, 25th of May, Tristan and Charles will be making the closing keynote speech at the 'Culture Grows Here' Conference in the city of Barrie, Ontario.

This year's conference will be hosted at Sainte-Marie among the Hurons at 16164, Highway 12 East, Midland, Ontario L4R 4K8 and the Midland Cultural Centre at 333 King St, Midland, ON L4R 4K4.

Closing keynote - ‘Uncertain Places’ - Sans façon talk candidly about their past and current work (both successful and less so) to explore questions around contemporary public art that affect all of us involved in the creation and facilitation of work in the public realm. Through the session Sans façon will share how they translate ambitious visions into realizable projects, and their take on the ingredients that need to come together for successful site specific and contextual projects

Register Here


Presentation for the Gravity lecture series

Tristan is speaking in the Gravity guest lecture series tomorrow afternoon, 16 February from 4:00-6:00pm. at Sheffield Hallam University.

The Gravity guest lecture series examines the process of making visual art, how encounters with objects can generate new work, methods and methodologies, philosophies and u-turns. Previous presenters include: Jeremy Deller, Karla Black, Malcolm Le Grice, Ian Kiaer, Simon Bill, Martin Boyce, Lizzie Fisher, Kim L. Pace and Edmund de Waal. 

Please stop by if you're in Sheffield, the lecture is open to the public.

For more information, please visit their website


Artist Talk / Panel Discussion - Jasmine from Grasse

Please join us at the Esker Foundation on Saturday, 3rd December.

Our talk, Uncertain Places, will be starting at 1pm. Following that Master Perfumer, Irene Schnell will be giving a talk about her relationship to the project, and then there will be a panel discussion until 3pm between Irene, Glen Bodner, Professor of Psychology, and ourselves. Followed by that there will be a reception downstairs beside the project space.

You can pre-register for the event below:

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Jasmine from Grasse

Our project Jasmine from Grasse at the ESKER foundation has opened to today, in the project space. Open during building hours of the Atlantic Avenue Art Block (1011 – 9th Avenue S.E.).

October 31, 2016 – January 22, 2017

Jasmine from Grasse is an invitation to journey to a specific moment in someone else’s life through an olfactory encounter. Sans façon, with the help of Professor of Psychology, Glen Bodner, and Master Perfumer, Irene Schnell, have faithfully recreated the scent of a place and time drawn from the individual memories of six members from the Atlantic Avenue Art Block, generously allowing us to share in the intimacy of a long moment through its particular scent.

UEP Phase II - Public Art Plan

This spring, Sans façon was selected to lead the development of the UEP Phase II public art plan for the City of Calgary with our multidisciplinary team; amery Calvelli, Hesse McGraw, Ciara McKeown, Josh Shelton, and Ben Spencer.

Phase II will provide a 10-year plan for the implementation of a diverse range of public art projects, events and experiences commissioned through the Utilities and Environmental Protection department (UEP), which encompasses Environmental & Safety Management, Waste and Recycling Services, and Water Resources and Water Services.

CSO Art Master Plan Presentation and Panel Discussion in Seattle

Thursday evening in Seattle, Sans façon will be presenting the CSO Art Master Plan curatorial framework, ethos, and opportunities for commissioned artists, for the next 15 years of public art for King County Wastewater Treatment Division, with 4Culture. We will also be participating in a panel discussion that will focus on artists' working in the context of water utilities and infrastructure.

Please stop by if you're in the Seattle area, the event will be taking place at:

Art + Water at Oxbow in Georgetown
June 16, 2016, 7:00—9:00 pm
6118 12th Avenue South, Seattle, WA 98108

For more details follow this link.

East Ninth: Lawrence

The City of Lawrence Commissioners has voted to officially receive our proposed plan for the redevelopment of East 9th Street, connecting Massachusetts Street to East Lawrence and the Warehouse Arts District in Lawrence, Kansas.

For a detailed look at the plan please follow this link.


Freeman's Wood

In 2015 we produced a new work Freeman's Wood a board game for Storey G2's project Landed (Freeman's Wood). Three artists were commissioned to make new work responding to the Freeman's Wood site which is located on the edge of Lancaster town centre, UK. This piece of land, that while being owned by a multi-national property investment company, has remained vacant/unclaimed for decades which has brought to question public vs private space, colliding interests of the local community and those of global capital, and challenges the perception of land ownership.  Completed last year, Landed (Freeman's Wood) has received widespread attention in 2016, below is a quick summary:


It has been presented in Stockholm at the Undisciplined Environments conference, in Gateshead/Newcastle at the Cultural Heritage in Landscape conference, and the Freeman's Wood video was shown in Visualizing Contested Cities at the international conference in Madrid .

Artists Goldin+Senneby included a model which they produced of A3 A Plot, their commissioned piece on Freeman's Wood, at Prince Eugen’s Waldemarsudde castle, in Stockholm. This was part of their retrospective exhibition, Standard Length of a Miracle, which took place at multiple venues from 27 January-15 May. 


Landscape Research

An article was published in Landscape Research Group LR Extra newsletter Issue 75   LR Extra promotes interdisciplinary dialogue on issues related to contemporary landscape. It has members and subscribers in more than 40 countries.

The Guardian - 1

An excellent article by Bradley Garrett, “What the battle for Freeman's Wood says about the future of our common land”, was published on 10 February.
“For years, Lancaster locals treated Freeman’s Wood as common space – until its Bermuda-registered owner submitted a development plan, and erected fencing to keep them out. Now the commoners are fighting back.”

The Guardian - 2

Freeman’s Wood was mentioned in a further article by Bradley Garrett:
“Hands off #OurLand: gifting green space to QPR highlights wider threat to cities” on 13 June.
“Around the country, common spaces on the edges of cities – Freeman’s Wood in Lancaster is another long-cherished example – are coming under threat of development.”

'Elsewhere – A Journal of Place'

An interview with Layla Curtis about her Trespass app was published on the 'Elsewhere' blog entitled “Crossing the fence: The Trespass app and oral history” on 27 March.

'Land is Free'

An article was published on the “Land is Free” website in May

‘Common Ground’ and ‘The Woodland Trust’

An article was published in the Summer 2016 edition of “Leaf”, a magazine published by ‘Common Ground’ and ‘The Woodland Trust’.