Weweni Bizindan (Listen Carefully)
May 26 - August 21Free
There is a tendency for the non-dominant English language to perpetuate a view of the street as static, cold, necessary. Most objects in the English-speaking world are effectively dead. Certainly, that can be said of a highway. And, yet, for Anishinaabemowin – a verb-based language that ascribes spirit to rocks and trees among many other animate things – we might consider the built environment to be a relative.
What does it mean to be in relation to the street? To speak to, and through it?
Learning that the space of The Bentway speaks, and you can hear it if you listen closely (salt used in the concrete curing process long ago moving through the structure), pushes us to consider the Gardiner on new terms; what life exists here amid the traffic and the wind?
From ground-level, looking east or west, the Bentway resembles a canyon. We imagine the sounds of life echoing through time like the language itself, distorted slightly here, mispronounced there, bouncing back and re-forming like an echo. This is true of so many of the words and phrases in our language. As Anishinaabeg, we privilege mobility – our fluid movement through time and space – but sometimes we must also stop and listen carefully to hear the authentic. Perhaps this reflects the “living” nature of our language, written and reflected in concrete and salt.
Weweni Bizindan is a large-scale public art installation – a dialogue with the street – that contributes to discussions of the animate nature of our language and the world around us.
– Ogimaa Mikana Project (Susan Blight and Hayden King)
Created by Ogimaa Mikana Project. Commissioned by The Bentway Conservancy and hosted by Fort York National Historic Site as part of Indigenous Art Festival.