Sunday, 12 May 2013

Ian Chodikoff


North York Civic Centre

The two images of the installation were taken at the exact location at the intersection of Yonge and Finch. They indicate how Yonge Street undergoes distinct yet subtle transformation from day to night. The meaning behind Rare Earth, the title of this installation, refers to both the increasing rarity of land along Yonge Street – roughly between Highway 401 and Steeles Avenue – that is the result of real estate speculation since the mid-1980s, and the ways in which technology continues to influence the social life of North York’s Yonge Street strip. Rare earths (i.e., lanthanum, europium or cerium) are integral to the construction of smart phones – an essential piece of technology necessary for not only communication, but for marketing, commerce and social networking – used by those who frequent the many restaurants, karaoke bars, ESL schools and other services along North York’s Yonge Street. Much of Yonge Street’s social life focuses around the needs of young Asians and Persians, many of which live in nearby condominium towers.

Rare Earth relates to the Oh Dear exhibition by illustrating how the original intentions behind North York’s suburban ideology have given way to a global culture defined by young singles and families from Asia and the Middle East. The ways in which Yonge Street has evolved – North York’s spine – illustrates how this context become at times global, gritty, dynamic and otherwise full of youth, energy and promise. There is a raw truth to the thousands of neon, illuminated and painted commercial signage along Yonge Street. Furthermore, the quaint scale of the original commercial store-fronts belie the towering condominium buildings that loom large over North York – and its original modest bungalows built for young couples and families just after the Second World War.

concept images for Rare Earth 

Ian Chodikoff's Rare Earth will be installed indoors on the ground floor, north side, of the North York Civic Centre. It may be viewed daily from July 2 to August 26, 2013. 

5100 Yonge Street, Toronto

Thanks to the North York Civic Centre for hosting this installation. 


Ian Chodikoff maintains a special interest in the social dynamics of the city, especially those relating to issues of migration, ethnicity and cosmopolitanism. He is an architect and urban designer who is currently the Director of Urban Health & Design at Farrow Partnership Architects in Toronto. He is also the Director of Fora Strategic Planning Inc., an urban design consultancy. As the former Editor of Canadian Architect magazine, Ian has established a leadership role across Canada with a special appreciation for the value that architects and designers can bring to social and urban contexts at all levels of complexity – and in both the public and private sectors. He has managed many design-related research projects ranging from the effects of cultural diversity and social inclusion to the health of cities. Ian has taught and lectured about architecture and design in various universities and cities around the world in addition to participating on numerous de-sign juries. Ian is a Fellow of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada.

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