Installing at Forest City Gallery

We spent the weekend in London, Ontario. We were installing for our upcoming exhibition at Forest City Gallery, while also briefly wondering about what it would be like to not do site specific work. Anyways, you should plan to come to the opening on September 9th!

We’re working on an installation using our “…and then the city” framework for exploring and unfolding the layers of narrative that go into shaping a place. We’ve pulled together some historical overviews of London, but have really enjoyed using an online questionnaire to hear about some of the narratives on the ground here. Huge thanks to Forest City Gallery and London Fuse for helping to spread the word. All of the answers have fed into the installation in some way, so it’s been a really effective way to get to some of the overarching stories about this city.

The show will run until October 21, 2011, and, in the meantime, what’s more fun than a peak of the install process?

We arrive by noon on Saturday, Danielle, Sara, Michelle and I begin to assemble a plan for tackling the install.

The main task was getting 4 large-scale text works onto the walls. We’ve opted to hand paint the text, which means epic amounts of time.

The process also involves a lot of masking. We’re looking to create something similar to the billboards we’ve done in the past — large lines of text, bright colour background. We’re working with a 64′ wall and 4 text panels. Above, Danielle sets out measuring to figure out just how big these 4 text panels can be.

Meanwhile, I put on the laser goggles to start getting our laser lines.

Our laser level.

Danielle working those lines with the level.

We’ll create 4 text works, approximately 13′ x 10′.

Sara looking particularly tech-saavy wearing the laser goggles (on top of looking great, they really do help you see that laser line a lot better).

Once we’re wrapping up with taping the edges, we start planning for our projections to trace and paint the text works.

The main obstacle is consistency. Due to some jogs in the wall and the width of the gallery, the projector + computer + all-around setup is critical to try to replicate 4 times.

In the background, highlighting research that we obtained from more than 50 residents of London (huge thanks to everyone who participated).

This stack of papers also double as a notepad.

Danielle starts tracing the letters for the texts.


Sara begins taping off the white highlight.


And our rollers will have to wait until the next day for use. Taping and tracing took much longer than we anticipated.

Sara’s finess in cutting around the letters that overhang the white highlight.

Masking with frog tape.

Danielle tracing.




One of the texts completely traced and masked.


Across the room, Michelle masters the laser level to mark off the space to paint our giant chalkboard.

Michelle starts painting the edges of the chalkboard.

Later on, after a near projector meltdown and while attemping to shoot through glass, everyone (including Sara’s friend Andrew) takes up tracing duties.

It wasn’t ideal, but it worked. We’re just barely were able to hit the wall at the right distance.

The next day, we were back at it with Hiba and Josh. Above, some of Sara’s more detail-oriented masking.

Danielle begins hand painting the letters.

Hiba patches the wall in a few discrete places.

Sara also starts on the same panel as Danielle.

And Hiba moves onto another panel.

Meanwhile, Michelle has painted the chalkboard and mixes up some white paint to do some touch ups.

Michelle touching up.

Danielle’s steady hands.

A slow process, but really incredible results.

Two coats of black acrylic.

Hiba stepping back to have a look at the letter e.


Josh takes on more masking in preparation of painting.

Michelle paints the first coat of grey.

We had to continually shift where everyone was working to try to get as much done as we could.

It worked out well, though we’ll be back again next weekend to do some more.


A lot of work, but so much fun. It’s great to all be in the same room working on the same project for the first time in a while. Collaboration FTW! More soon.

4 Replies to “Installing at Forest City Gallery”

  1. This looks like fun! Great post, I missed out completely and am excited to get back to working on things. Awesome stuff everyone.

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