As a study of how people navigate through a city and interact with it, Michael Awad’s Entire City Project records the physical infrastructure of Toronto and the urban experience of living in it. Commissioned for the lobby of the Telus building near the Scotiabank Arena, Awad’s image is stretched and expanded to reach life-size, showing a warped panorama of hectic commuters moving in all directions outside of Union Station. While the distortions may seem odd, they certainly lend a sense of urgency and energy to the piece. Awad has developed his own distinct style for documenting cities through photography as he employs custom-built equipment, custom software, and even techniques adapted from military aerial reconnaissance. In splicing together shots from multiple views, Awad’s work reflects the passage of time and reminds the viewer that photography can only approximate how we experience and remember moments in our lives. The Entire City Project can be grouped within a larger series of panoramic shots that Awad has taken in familiar and foreign places: the neighbourhood of Little Italy in Toronto, La Scala in Milan, the Arsenale in Venice, and the surrounding geography of Art Basel.
- Photography mural
- 9.3 m wide
- 25 York Street, Telus Tower, Toronto
About the artwork
About the artist
A prolific artist, architect, and academic, Michael Awad has truly left his mark upon the city of Toronto. He has taught at the University of Toronto School of Architecture for more than 10 years, and is a faculty member in the School of Urban Planning at Ryerson University. Working primarily with the medium of photography, Awad’s practice is unique to him as he builds his own camera equipment and creates his own image processing software. The “city” can be described as his principle and only subject. Since 2005, Awad has partnered with fellow artist David Rokeby to create public art installations through sculptural forms. The pair has collaborated on works at the Ontario Science Centre, Union Square, and the Ripley’s Aquarium of Toronto. Awad was the recipient of a Toronto Urban Design Award for his public artworks in 2011, and has participated in public art selection committees for all three levels of Canadian government. In serving as Chair of the Board of InterAccess, a centre dedicated to new media art in Toronto, Awad has been granted the opportunity to lend his experienced voice to the local arts community. Awad’s photographic work has been shown in exhibitions at the PowerPlant Gallery, the Art Gallery of Ontario, and the Royal Ontario Museum. In 2002, he was Canada’s official representative to the Venice Biennale of Architecture, and shortly thereafter, was commissioned to design the Canadian pavilion for the Visual Art Biennale of Brazil in San Paulo.
- Michael Awad was commissioned to create a version of his Entire City Project for the Royal Ontario Museum. Capturing multiple panoramas of the space, Awad describes his pieces as an attempt to visualize "the totality of the environment." The sheer amount of detail within the photographs can easily overwhelm anyone who tries to take a closer look.
- Keep an eye out for more pieces within the Entire City Project series because Awad has said: "I love this city. I'll do it until I can't hold a camera."
- If you had to change one piece or process what would it be and why?