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Artist Support Playlists December 10, 2021

Discover Toronto with Six Artist-Led Audio Walking Tours

Explore hidden pathways and imagined futures of Toronto in Desire Paths, a series of artist-led Toronto audio walking tours that will help you see the city in a new light.

Desire Paths is a six-part series of audio walking tours that explore Toronto futures, designed by artists.

Through field trips, self-guided narration, and interviews, each episode offers a unique view into the artist’s imagination, inviting the listener to reflect on desired paths to shape the next decade in Toronto. With premonitions in mind, the second part of each episode develops into a conversation between the artist and a city-builder exploring how to bring these imagined futures into a reality.

In Episode 1, Indigenous Queer performer and poet Midnight Wolverine guides us through Humber River, Yonge-Dundas Square, and Glad Day Bookshop to envision futures connected to the history of the land, ceremony, and queerness, in a city that sits in tension with their Indigeneity.

Midnight Wolverine is joined by Indigenous architect Matthew Hickey. The conversation flows naturally between queerness and Indigeneity, as they go deeper into the role of Indigenous place-keeping for urban futures, carving pockets of belonging and the act of “building” into their practices, reconnecting with nature, and even co-designing their dream Indigiqueer space in the city.

Artist and designer Javid Jah guides us through his sacred spaces in the city — from quiet moments alone on the subway platform; to the synesthetic bustle of Kensington Market; and to the Madinah Masjid, where he reflects on the sacred geometry embedded within Islamic architecture, which connects our humanity to cosmic intelligence.

Javid is joined by Rev. Michelle Singh, an interfaith Minister and the Executive Director of Faith & the Common Good. The pair delve deeper into questions of sacred space and city-building. Throughout the episode you will hear music created by Chris Ak and Rashid McDowell-McCallum, with vocals by A l l i e.

Episode 3: Quayside Futures

Aljumaine Gayle smiling directly at the camera in front of a grey brick wall.
Aljumaine Gayle
Car Martin looking directly at the camera.
Car Martin

Welcome to QPL Arcology, an audio worlding experience created by Aljumaine Gayle and Car Martin. A mash-up of architecture and ecology, arcologies exist in the worlds of speculative fiction. In this particular speculative narrative, a tree at the base of Parliament Street takes you on a journey into a possible future for the Portlands. Recently conceived as the home for a new model “smart city”, QPL Arcology imagines the neighbourhood rooted in data justice, interspecies collaboration, and trust-based governance.

Throughout its 20-year history, Gendai has led experimental curatorial and organizational practices for East Asian artists and artists of colour. As the new stewards of Gendai, Marsya Maharani and Petrina Ng are building upon the organization’s legacy of decentering whiteness by investing in the future of BIPOC arts leadership through collective practice.

Marsya and Petrina are then joined by independent curator and community organizer Anu Radha Verma. They unpack their shared personal connection to the suburban immigrant experience (in Scarborough, Mississauga, and North York) as a formative seed that influences their advocacy for collective work today.

The fifth episode of Desire Paths, Accessible Futures, connects with artist Pree Rehal who guides us through the spaces in the city where they feel safe and cared for. From their home space to Allan Gardens, to the Paperhouse Studio, an experimental art studio and community space, Pree explores how accessibility plays out across the city. Along the journey, Pree is joined by their sibling Harmeet Rehal, and facilitator Cara Eastcott, as they collectively discuss access intimacy, disability and transformative justice, and what it means to honour crip time.

We end this season of Desire Paths on a playful note with comedian and storyteller Liza Paul as she shows us what it means to play in the city. Liza begins where it all started for her – at her parents’ house, where a sense of play and imagination was instilled from a young age.

She then takes us to her creative home at the Theatre Centre, a place where a philosophy that prioritizes access not only gave Liza a stage to first shape her work, but a programming role that allows her to continue giving artists, especially comedians of the future, the opportunity to take the stage. And in a surprising final location – an unusual spot in the middle of the city – Liza reveals the secret sauce to a good time, showing us that you just need the right attitude, and people, to fully unleash your inner joy.

Desire Paths is produced by Alex Rand, and co-curated by Hima Batavia and Alex Rand, with Creative Producers Macy Siu, Jeremy Glenn, and Robert Bolton of Toronto-based foresight studio, From Later.

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