The City of Toronto, in partnership with OCAD University, has launched a temporary digital art installation at Union Station, Canada’s busiest transit hub. The interactive exhibit, called Memory Capsule, pays tribute to the station, which is currently undergoing a major revitalization.
Created by Che Yan, a 27-year-old graduate of OCAD University’s Digital Futures Initiative, Memory Capsule is designed to be a repository of stories from train passengers. The digital art exhibit, which was part of Yan’s thesis work last year, was created under the direction of Professor Tom Barker, Chair, Digital Futures Initiative, OCAD University.
“Memory Capsule celebrates Union Station by capturing the myriad stories that have unfolded within the limestone walls of this historic landmark,” said Councillor Peter Milczyn (Ward 5 Etobicoke-Lakeshore), Chair of the City’s Planning and Growth Management Committee. “The digital artwork is sure to provide an interesting attraction for the quarter-million people who pass through Union Station daily.”
“This innovative partnership between the City and OCAD U gives Toronto’s young creative minds a chance to showcase their work on a major stage – such as Union Station, with the potential to be seen by 200,000 people daily – in a city that supports and encourages art,” said Councillor Pam McConnell (Ward 28 Toronto Centre-Rosedale).
“I am delighted that OCAD University and the City of Toronto have partnered to present this art installation at Union Station,” said Carole Beaulieu, Associate Vice-President, University Relations, OCAD. “I look forward to many more collaborations in the future, where our students’ and graduates’ creativity can be shared widely with our urban community.”
“This captivating project from our Digital Futures graduate, Che Yan, is all about bridging the digital and physical worlds to enhance our urban environment,” added Barker. “The distinction between information, city spaces and social media is increasingly blurred. The citizen exists in all these domains.”
Located in the architecturally significant Great Hall, Memory Capsule features a 3.5-metre by 2.5-metre (12-foot by eight-foot) screen, which interacts with pedestrians at the station through a series of questions, such as “What does Union Station mean to you?” and “What role has Union Station played in your life?”
To share a memory or comment, a person tweets his or her response under the hashtag #unionstationTO and then presses a button on a pedestal to have a freeze-frame silhouette of his or her shadow captured and displayed on the screen. The artwork reads the tweet and imprints it almost instantly on the person’s silhouette for others to see. The screen can hold up to three silhouettes at a time.
Memory Capsule will be on display until Friday, March 21. Members of the public are invited to submit their stories about their arrivals in Toronto via Union Station, using this interactive exhibit.