Quebec-based activist art group Folie/Culture presents the architectural project Nomadic Dwellings in Saskatoon beginning October 20th, 2009.
Began in 2007, the project calls on architects and artists to conceive nomadic dwellings for itinerants. The shelters had to be designed for one person, with materials that were easily found in Canada, inexpensive, and recyclable if possible. They also had to be reusable and easy to set up by one person alone.
Between October 20th and October 23rd, the artists involved will set up and display the works in several highly visible locations throughout the city. In the current climate of myopic boosterism for Saskatoon’s bourgeoning economy, this exhibition serves as a reminder of the social reality of itinerancy. As vacancy rates fall and rents increase, the most vulnerable among us fall through the cracks and are faced with the prospect of living without shelter.
While the project is not intended as a solution to the problem of homelessness, it does aim to increase awareness of the issue. Placing the architectural act in the everyday suggests a discomfiting social encounter that architects do not often rub up against. The paradoxical meeting of architecture and itinerancy reveals the degree of interconnectedness between these seemingly disparate sites within the social body.
Since 1984, Folie/Culture has facilitated contemporary art projects with a specific focus on awareness building in mental health. They encourage the work of artists who intervene in the field of social perceptions, engaging a public who may not otherwise encounter contemporary art.
You can read Tod Emel’s response to the exhibition here.