CAKFA.11: Reflect on Here

Reflect on Here, text installation at CAFKA by Broken City Lab

After months and months of work, we finally installed our project for CAFKA.11. Led by Josh, Hiba, Kevin, and myself, the project took an incredible amount of research and build time, but we were incredibly excited to see our efforts finally in place in front of Kitchener’s City Hall when we wrapped up the installation last night.

Reflect on Here calls on passersby to think on the infrastructure of the city, the attempt to create place with architecture, and the materiality of the text itself. This project was made possible with the generous support from the Ontario Arts Council‘s Exhibition Assistance Program and the incredible team at CAFKA.

We spent the summer out in Kingsville, working on the project in my parent’s barn.

Although it was a tight squeeze at times, we managed to build and prep the entire installation right up until the day before we packed up and headed to Kitchener.

The day before we left, we finally had the chance to see all the letters side by side and finish some last minute touch-ups. Danielle and Hiba painted the edges of the letters, while Kevin, Josh, and I got the bracing finished up.

Some test shots from my iPhone.

Out in Kingsville on a rainy afternoon.

After a gruelling drive up the 401 (we were stuck behind a huge lineup of traffic because of road painting), we arrived late Sunday night. The next morning we were on site with our oversized UHaul. Above, Josh rehydrates.

Kevin on-site at Kitchener City Hall.

We unloaded the letters from the truck, while the city drained the reflecting pool.

The view from across the street of the site.

We spent the better part of the afternoon getting the bases and letters setup.

And by 5pm we were almost done. Above, Kevin and Josh hold the letter H in place, while Hiba steps back to take a look.

Shortly thereafter, the entire installation is in place.


The view from the side of the installation in front of CAFKA’s offices.

At angle to the letters.

From across the street with a flash, the letters glow even in the daytime.

Another view with a bit darker exposure. Before the reflecting pool was even filled up, we were so excited to see the letters in place.

At night, the work really comes to life with the water and flash photography.

Reflect on Here.

From across the street.

A side view.

Before we hit the road, Hiba braved the waters to adjust the lighting one last time.

The lights in the water provide ambient lighting, just enough to make it visible, and just enough to likely force any camera’s automatic setting into using a flash.

Hiba barefoot in the pool.

We were able to use the lighting normally focused around the fountains. But, with those removed, we were able to spread out the lights along the fronts of the letters.

The way the retroreflective material bounces back light creates these interesting colour variations, especially in the water’s reflection.

Because of the retroreflective material, the letters light up incredibly by bouncing the light back at its source. We’re hoping that that moment of surprise when someone takes a photo with a flash helps to extend that moment of pause around the space.

From the other side of the reflecting pool.

We’d like to extend a huge thanks to CAFKA for commissioning the work and the City of Kitchener for being so accommodating. CAFKA.11 runs through October 2nd, 2011, and there’s a ton of incredible work to see (including some of dear friends, Lucy Howe and Zeke Moores), you should check it out.

Reflect on Here is generously supported by the Ontario Arts Council‘s Exhibition Assistance Program.


10 Replies to “CAKFA.11: Reflect on Here”

  1. Amazing. I agree with Rosina, the night shots bring it to life. Great work, wish I could see this in person!

  2. This is awesome! So beautiful. I can’t wait to see it in person. I suppose I have to go at night, haha.

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