ATTC Calgary: Projecting New Narratives of a City

Our work on ATTC Calgary with Truck Gallery’s CAMPER Urban Discovery project continued with a couple day’s break from events, allowing to focus on planning the remainder of our residency activities and starting work on our publication.

Tuesday night was our projection event around the edge of Central Memorial Park — an impeccably well-manicured green space in the middle of a downtown neighbourhood, and a welcomed surprise. A few logistical concerns aside (like having to connect seven extension cords to reach the edge of the park), we had a pretty ideal spot. A blank light-cemete wall always makes for a good projection screen.

The projections themselves were a series of text-based statements articulating of a set of narratives around Calgary that were originally based on the responses to our fill-in-the-blank statements and eventually moving on to real-time feedback and participation from those community members in attendance.

Josh and I had done a site visit the night before, uncertain of where we might draw power, but when Michelle and Josh returned the next day they found the plugs on the side of a small canteen of sorts in the middle of the park.

TRUCK had already okayed the use of these outlets, but unfortunately they were a considerable distance from the edge of park we wanted to use.

This building seemed like a perfect fit.

Michelle and Josh also thought through some other projection options, but ultimately, it seemed like the side of the apartment building would be our best bet.

The above diagram notes stringing sheets between pillars, while the blank wall hovers above the Library.

Pulling from the fill-in-the-blank statements and interviews from earlier in our residency, we compiled a series of projections from some of the more interesting narratives that we had heard about.



Text-based projections continue to offer a sense of activation for the spaces where we’re projecting and, frankly, for us. There’s a sense of reclaiming the site and interjecting into a larger conversation around the city with the ideas, concerns, and hopes from everyday perspectives.


For the first set, we simply used keynote — it’s fast to compile slides and reliable.


These projections were based on the fill-in-the-blank statements, where the blank on the page is the text underlined in the projection.


The projection was also visible for eastbound traffic on 12th ave, though the jog in the wall made for an interesting tear in the text.

Josh got on top of the CAMPER to take some shots as well.

Some statements were direct, while others left some imaginative distance.

We’re uncertain if we’ve found any sense of a “warm western hospitality” — I’m never sure what hospitality means in an urban setting anyways.

Some of the Calgarians who showed up to add to our projection series.

We’re continually interested in the border of resistance and acceptance to the experience of a place.

Are certain statements based on experience, rumour, or grander narratives from an outside perspective?

Interest in the built environment continues to assist in unravelling the sense of locality, though complicating it in an interesting way is the values that are read by everyday citizens.

And then, something about another city.

The view from the projection site.

After cycling through the statements we had previously collected, we passed around a notepad and asked for statements from the folks who showed up.

Architectural perspectives.

And something that drew a number of affirmations — somehow this feels familiar.

Subtle critique or admission, depending on your perspective.

A comment from Randy.

Josh updating the screen using our old live-text software.

Obvious patches to a problem that may not ever have been that bad.

The projector rigged up, questionably.

Another Vancouver / Calgary comparison, I’m curious about how this longing for another identity plays out in the city.

Some of the final comments being entered.

Catching a moment where the projection flips from one message to another.

Passersby add this.

And, courtesy of a Windsor expat…


I wish this place had a little more grime.

Over a couple hours, we passed notebooks and pulled from our growing archive based on earlier research in our residency to cycle through the narratives that we had begun to hear and generate around the city. Using large-scale text in the projections, we interjected a set of narratives into (or rather, onto) the conversation of the city itself. As always, a nighttime event proves to be one of the most fun and rewarding.

Upon returning home, we worked on some of the text for the publication and I continued with the layout. Eventually, around 6am, I sent it off to the printers. Michelle and Josh took on today’s activities back at Central Memorial Park, just wish we had had time to include it in the publication.

Tomorrow night marks the end of our residency, more soon.

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