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’.


New performances of Walden

We're delighted that Walden is being performed at the Hidden Door Festival in Edinburgh next month.

On 4th July 1845, Henry David Thoreau walked into the woods near his hometown of Concord, Massachusetts and decided to stay. He found a spot next to a lake called Walden Pond and built a hut. For the next two years he attempted to live entirely by his own resources.
Walden, Thoreau’s account of his ‘experiment in simple living’, is one of the most extraordinary and unclassifiable books ever written. Magnetic North’s adaptation - a collaboration between director Nicholas Bone and Sans façon - is a beautiful, simple distillation of this classic meditation on self-sufficiency, the individual’s relationship with the environment and the desire to ‘live deliberately’.

The production is performed in an intimate, in-the-round setting: 12 benches made from American cedar join together to create an arena for the audience and actor, with just 40 audience members able to attend each performance.

Mon 30, Tue 31 May, Wed 1 June, 18.30 & 20.30

Picture by David Grinly

Picture by David Grinly

Ciara's Public Art presentations


Over the last couple of weeks our lovely project manager Ciara McKeown was taking part in two events.

At the Esker gallery talking about public art for their Crash Course in Contemporary Art! Keep an eye out for registration for this free 8 month course on their website in the Fall.

She was also a panelist, speaking on a City of Calgary Public Art 101 panel, investigating the role of the public in public art at the Nickle Gallery in Calgary.


Artist talk in Laramie, WY

The Laramie University Art Museum in collaboration with the Art Department and the Haub School of Environment and Natural Resources, invited Sans façon to do a public lecture and site visit at the University of Wyoming. Delighted to be asked, we made our way down to Laramie, WY, where we had some really interesting discussions about the value of art in public places and interdisciplinary collaborations.

Dynamic Environment Lab Program Week

Our Dynamic Environment Lab Program Week was full of great discussions and learnings, presentations and site visits, and we had a full house at our public event, Dynamic Environment: Complimentary Perspectives, at the National Music Centre.

We are grateful to those who participated and came out in support, thank you!

You Are Here / We Are Here

You Are Here, an installation of 1,000 helium-filled balloons, is currently up in Sheffield (UK).
Residents and visitors to the city over the next few days who take a balloon will leave a trace of
the city, unveiling the activity of the pubic realm.

We Are Here is a symposium we’ll be participating in, hosted by the University of Sheffield
School of Architecture and curator Jane Anderson. We’ll be exploring the role of
public art in the public realm along with the Office for Subversive Architecture and Leo Fitzmaurice among others.

The Future of Water

We’re just back from Topeka, Kansas where we took part in The Governor’s Water Conference.
The room full of legislators, water managers and scientists convened to discuss the Kansas
Water Vision. Our small contribution was to share a bit about the implementation of the City of
Calgary’s WATERSHED+ public art program.

Mayor's Urban Design Awards 2015

Last Thursday The City of Calgary held their bi-annual Mayor's Urban Design Awards, and Watershed+ is honoured to have received two awards.

Forest Lawn Lift Station in the 'Urban Fragments' category received an Honourable Mention. This category was described as "projects involving a single, small-scale piece of a building or landscape that contributes significantly to the quality of the public intervention that contributes to the enjoyment and appreciation of the urban environment".
Lost Spaces Ideas competition, in collaboration with dtalks, received the award for Conceptual/Theoretical Urban Design Projects. This category was for a plan, study, charette, etc, within Calgary that provides a strategy for urban transformation with a long-term vision.

We are excited to work with such an amazing team as part of Watershed+, and would like to recognize dtalks and the numerous departments within The City of Calgary who participated: Water Services, Parks, Transportation, Planning, Public Art.
Our partners for Forest Lawn Lift Station were Associated Engineers, Nemalux LED Lighting, Marshall Tittemore Architects, and contractors Maple Reinders Inc.

Hundreds visit a fairground in silence

Silent Fairground is a carousal and fairground attraction that was installed on an industrial site under redevelopment in Hagen, Germany. The temporary installation was commissioned as part of the 2015 Urbane Lights Ruhr.

See Silent Fairground in action here.

image courtesy of: Volker Hartmann / Urbane Künste Ruhr

image courtesy of: Volker Hartmann / Urbane Künste Ruhr

Fifteen installations light up Hagen in October

In collaboration with Urbane Künste Ruhr's Creative Director, Katja Aßmann, Sans façon co-curated this year's festival of light in Hagen, Germany.
International artists, along with ourselves, have been invited to show works using, and speaking to, our relationship with light in the industrial city of Hagen, located in the Ruhr District. Some of the other artists include: Taturo Atzu (formely known as Tatsu Nishi). A Kassen. Simon Faithfull, Janice Kernel, Anna Rispoli, Shiny Toys (Jan Ehlen).

The Urban Lights Festival runs October 9-25, 2015.
Read more here and here.

image via: Volker Hartmann / Urbane Künste Ruhr

image via: Volker Hartmann / Urbane Künste Ruhr

Yale University radio interview

On July 2nd, we were invited to speak about our practice with Brainard Carey, host of Interviews from Yale University Radio WYBCX, a program that features conversations with artists, writers, curators and conservators in North America and Europe about the art world. This was a chance for us to delve into some of our recent projects, and particularly the work we’ve been doing with WATERSHED+ in Calgary. We talked about how artists can draw out stories and reveal what’s hidden in urban systems and underground infrastructure, and why a framework of embedding artists is so productive in our view. After all, this is an opportunity for art to connect people with where they live and how place is understood.

"How do you bring out elements that make a place special and unique, and share the pleasure of what’s around you?"

So cool to be among a great group of people on this program!