News / Calgary

Public art project aims to capture the different perspectives of Calgary

Invisible Cities Survey will contribute to public art near Eau Claire

The duo are out and about talking to Calgarians for the project


The duo are out and about talking to Calgarians for the project

Where are you going?

Where do you want to be?

Two simple questions posed by Calgary artists Caitlind Brown and Wayne Garrett will help illuminate the disconnect between man-made methods of dividing the land (like city wards) and how the land is natural divided (such as the Bow River). Calgary transforms as a city based on each citizen’s perspective of it.

“It’s this idea that Calgary is many, many cities superimposed on each other,” said Brown. “If we could find those cities, we can understand people’s different experiences in the same space.”

The project, dubbed Invisible Cities, is inspired by Cuban author Italo Calvino’s work of the same name. Once the responses are collected by the duo, they’ll use some of the most interesting responses in an art installation, to be set up near West Eau Claire Park.

While most respondents are directed to the online survey, Brown and Garrett have been out on the River Walk talking to Calgarians in person.

They hope Calgarians will jump at the chance to be directly involved with the creation of public art.

Garrett pointed to the river as a significant example of how nature divides the land, and doesn’t always play ball with the property lines society has created.

“Anyone who has property along the river – some banks will erode and there will be others where properties actually grow,” he said. “The river really also is mapping the land. We think of it as a permanent fixture that’s consistent, but it really is constantly changing.”

With the Invisible Cities installation, the duo will create a river out of monument stones.

Monuments stones are metal markers (usually highlighted by pint or orange spray-painted triangles) used by surveyors to help map spaces. The fact that many Calgarians walk by and usually don’t pay notice to the stones worked well with the theme of Invisible Cities.

The survey responses will be engraved into about 12,000 brass survey monuments, which will be embedded into a pathway like a shimmering river.

To further engage Calgarians on public art, Brown and Garrett will host a Public Artist Talk on November 2 at 7 p.m. at Memorial Park Library.

For more information on the survey, visit

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