Professor Susan Campbell’s art challenges concrete space

A professor of the Fine Arts – Advanced, Digital Photography and Digital Video Production programs at Durham College (DC) has the privilege of being featured in The Art Gallery of Mississauga (AGM).

Susan Campbell’s project, Tracing Ambiguity, will be featured at the AGM until Sunday, June 21. The art interprets and reflects upon the design dynamics found within the urban setting; development sites, parking lots and public sidewalks in particular. Susan challenges the city’s developers by tracing a floor plan with fluorescent construction tape around pieces of abandoned furniture littering the streets.

The project started as a cheeky way for Susan to challenge the growing number of open house signs across the city, placing her own signs beside them. She has an art piece where she buys five to six, 128 square feet parking spaces at the daily rate, accumulating roughly 720 square feet, or the floor space of a medium-sized condo. Surrounded by cars, she uses yellow construction tape to map out the floor plan of a condo, to reinforce that this may be a parking lot now, but it could be something more sooner than you think.

“The underlying idea is for the audience to become aware of the fluidity between parking space and living space,” said Susan. “It may be a parking space now, but essentially its value can be increased if it’s made into a condo space, and if you multiply that by a factor of 40 floors, you’re looking at a huge efficiency there in terms of urbanization.”

Susan feels like sometimes our only relationship with urban space is to consume it. Everyone is so busy finding a parking space or getting to work and home that we cannot seem to find a place where we can stop, pause and look at what’s happening around us.

She invites people to challenge the most concrete of spaces and elicit a sense of agency into an otherwise hyper-rationalized built environment in order to perceive plausible fluidities between urban spaces, whether private or public; industrial or residential; or interior or exterior.

If you are interested in viewing the exhibit, visit the AGM Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Thursday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., and weekends from noon until 4 p.m. from now until June 21.