For the first phase of the project, Site Lines, Jenn E Norton gathered a wide range of ideas for physical changes to St. George’s Square using a traditional suggestion box. Rather than practical improvements, however, patrons of the Square were asked to dream big and propose their pie-in-the-sky concepts for the future use of this shared public environment. (If folks thought the Square could use a giant 24-karat gold pyramid, for example, we encouraged them to write up a description and put it in the suggestion box!)
For the second phase of this project, Norton selected six suggestions and rendered them into 3D designs using Cinema 4D technology. This is the same rendering software that architects use to propose changes to city parks and public developments. These renderings were printed on posters and displayed in the Square to share the wildest imaginings of Guelphites with everyone who passed through. By drawing deeply upon residents’ imaginations this project expressed feedback and made visible the desires felt in our community about our built spaces.
In the spring of 2013, Musagetes invited the Guelph community to propose artistic interventions for St. George’s Square: re-situations, reminders, or recognitions of this place at a time when many downtown social activities and amenities is shifting to the nearby Market Square. With the buses relocated to the VIA Rail/GO Transit station, and a new ice rink and splash pad in front of City Hall, is St. George’s Square still a public space for gathering or has it been reduced to a traffic artery through the centre of the city? What makes public space useable or defunct? We asked the Guelph community to propose interventions that would foster new uses of one of Guelph’s most important public spaces: St. George’s Square.