About Acknowledgements
Toronto Waterfront artist-in-residence 2023



This website tracks and documents work as artist-in-residence with Waterfront Toronto and the Waterfront BIA, as it unfolds during 2023.

Place as relationship to elsewhere

This year-long project is an exploration of the ways in which Toronto's waterfront district is understood as a place – not in the sense of a unique geographical location, but as the result of the mobility of people, ideas, and things – in other words, through its relationships to elsewhere. I'm particularly interested here in how we might experience this in our everyday lives, where we experience an enmeshing of our imaginary and material worlds.

Walking would seem to be a straighforward and (literally) grounded way of being in a place. Yet it is also the perfect method for drifting off into our own thoughts, or of getting lost in converstation with others. As such, it provides us with one way to become wrapped-up in both here and there: with our feet on the ground, and our heads in the clouds.

Both here AND there

Over the course of the year, I'll develop a series of participatory artworks that experiment with how we might experience “place” in this way, and the constraints – or sense of possibility – that we might feel as a result. What is it like to have an embodied experience of the Waterfront that is inseparable from intense recollections of life elsewhere? What is it to experience both here and there simultaneously? What does Toronto's waterfront become, as a place, when we hold these seemingly paradoxical things in tension with each other?
The artworks will be made with people who live with, or have some understanding, of these conditions through their daily work: whether as newcomers or migrant workers that have come from elsewhere; or those whose work involves routine material engagements with the built environment; or those who take part in reshaping the waterfront though imagining how it might change; or in the construction work that attempts to make this "visioning" a material reality.

Walking Work

Each of the experiments will build on a body of 'walking work' – artworks made by walking, or about walking – that I developed over a ten-year period in the 2000s. This work questioned some of the assumptions about what walking as art entails (whether it is a model for solitary and individualistic art practice, or a social and participatory one, for example); or the relationship between the grounded embodied experience of walking, and the cognitive and affective aspects of remembering, imagining, and talking with others.

Production still from The Long Walk Home (2013)
Production still from Memory Marathon (2009)
This new project picks-up on these themes, shaping them according to the specific conditions of Toronto's downtown waterfront district, and among the relationships between people, ideas, and things from which the city is formed.
Simon Pope
March 2023
Simon Pope is an artist interested in relationships between social and technical networks, the social modalities of walking as art, and, most recently, collective explorations of more-than-human social worlds. He represented Wales at the Venice Biennale of Fine Art (2003) and was a member of award-winning net.art collective I/O/D (1993-2000). His artwork is often made in collaboration with other artists and researchers, and through partnerships with universities and museums. Pope is an Associate Researcher at the University of Exeter and an Eccles Fellow at the British Library.

More information at simonpope.info


My thanks go to the selection panel for awarding me this residency, and to the steering committee from Waterfront Toronto and the Waterfront BIA for supporting this project.

This work takes place in downtown Toronto on the Treaty land of the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation, also the traditional territory of other First Nations and Indigenous people.
Creative Commons CC BY-NC-SA Attribution-NoDerivatives licence applies to all the artwork, texts, etc. contained within and described on this website

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