Public Participation 2012

We are looking for Creative Collaborators to unearth and transpose 200 civilian stories from the War of 1812 into a massive collective expression of art and history that will open June 8, 2012 and be presented everyday until June 24, 2012 as part of the Luminato Festival and the launch of the The War of 1812 Bicentennial.

Our focus is on civilian life, the daily life among the French, English, First Nations, African Canadians and other Europeans immigrants in the Canadas. And how the populace was affected during the American invasion and occupation; cut supply lines and broken promises, love, betrayal, family, treason, governance, etc. All of these outside of the military challenges soldiers and warriors faced.

We are also looking for Production Collaborators who are interested in helping with the production aspects involved with the Installation Creation Process, the set-up, presentation and strike of the artwork.

If you are interested in participating, please review the Process points below as well as the Previous Versions under the The Encampment menu heading above which were presented in Toronto, New York City and Ottawa to get a better understanding of the artwork and our creative process as well as the FAQ.

HOW do I apply?

In your SUBJECT line please type:

Creative Collaborator Application or Production Collaborator Application

In the BODY of your email please include the required information below and send to

  • contact information (name, address, email and mobile/phone)
  • a short statement about your background (100 words max)
  • a short statement about why you want to participate either as a Creative or Production Collaborator (100 words max)
  • a personal website if applicable to your creative work

*Please do not send attachments.

WHEN is the deadline?**

MARCH 26, 2012    FINAL DEADLINE extended to APRIL 9, 2012

WHAT happens then?**

Your request will be considered by the artists Thom Sokoloski and Jenny-Anne McCowan, after which you will be contacted by email.

If you apply as a Production Collaborator, your application will be considered by the artists in conjunction with our Site and Installation Managers.

Please note that we are not asking you for a submission of a concept. The concept and creation of your work evolves out of your full participation in the Installation Creation Process.


The Encampment is about entering into a process of researching the stories of individuals whose experiences as civilians during the War of 1812 helped to establish “the spirit of the times” or the Zeitgeist in what we understood as Canada; the general cultural, intellectual, ethical, spiritual, or political climate along with the general ambiance, morals, socio-cultural direction and behaviour. The stories may be of love, loss, survival and patriotism as well as those of collaboration, deception, greed and betrayal representative of all peoples.

It is also about revealing those cultural ideas or practices (memes) which may have been spread or transmitted from person to person within a culture through repetition of language and behaviour or other phenomena that responded to selective pressures of the existing Zeitgist. In this case, a war and occupation.


The creation of your work evolves out of your full participation in the Installation Creation Process which begins April 14th. We ask that everyone commit to a minimum of one 3-hour workshop per week for 7 weeks, as well as the final set-up of your installation in one of the 200 tents on the grounds of Fort York on June 7th in preparation for the opening on June 8th.


The Installation Creation Process begins with the research and selection of a civilian story. We have created an on-line Story Bank with over a hundred stories to be made available to you once your participation as a Creative Collaborator has been confirmed. The Story Bank  will launch mid-March with new stories being added everyday.

You are also invited to submit a story. Please refer to our FAQ for the formatting of your submission.

The second stage is to deconstruct the narrative of your story into emblems. They will be the pieces of the puzzle that inspire the design and realisation of your total work. We provide a Design Journal to aid everyone during the process, a manual of sorts that has evolved from the experiences of our previous versions of The Encampment.


Just as an actor digs deep within to reveal traces and emblems of similarities and differences with their character in relation to the dramatic narrative, Creative Collaborators are asked to dig deep within the prominent character of their story to do the same. With the actor, their final expression is externalized through their presence on the stage, and as a Creative Collaborator, your final expression is externalized through a visual based art installation within each tent. The intent of both actor and collaborator is to produce a variation of empathy and compassion: for the actor, a complete fusion of thought, gesture and emotions expressed through physicality and voice and for the Creative Collaborator, a fusion of materials, medium and technique expressed through collage and assemblage.

Each tent becomes a small theatrical diorama, and the installation created inside, a setting in which the public can enter and have a visceral experience of absence and presence with the content.


We welcome everyone’s practice, yet we encourage all Creative Collaborators to engage with the principles of collage and assemblage, which for this work makes for an inclusiveness of all materials and technique, and a medium for the transposing of a story into an art installation. Each tent becomes a sort of wanderkammer, or chamber of marvels, exhibiting an indiscriminate integration and deployment of medium, material and technique.

On the day prior to opening, every collaborator installs their final work in a standard A-frame canvas tent that is 7ft high, 9ft long and 7ft. wide at the bottom. In effect, each tent, when set-up, is an isosceles triangular prism. By creating an altogether new viewing experience for the public, based on this spatial arrangement of surface and volume and transparency, everyone has the possibility to create a new experience of viewing for their work, not only from the inside but from outside as well.

Viewing now becomes an engagement and negotiation with space as much as the artwork is for the public. Since The Encampment opens at sunset and into the night, it allows for a kind of ambient mystery, but more importantly, and given the nature of the inner luminosity of the tents, the public cannot take the position of viewer without being implicated into the total expression of The Encampment. The viewers’ movements within each of the tents, where their bodies create a shadow play on the canvas, make for a kind of ephemeral action painting unknowingly choreographed by the interaction each person has with the Creative Collaborator’s artwork.


The intended effect of The Encampment is that of a contemporary gesamtkunstwerk, an artwork that creates a total experiential and relational environment of space, light, sound, form, movement and narrative.

In as much as the final realization of the artwork creates a mass collective experience of art and history, the process necessary to realize it requires an authentic engagement that comes from every collaborator’s commitment.

During the daylight hours is when the individual tents and their interior artworks are closed to public viewing and the 200 tents hibernate as a solemn sculptural landscape.

**For our FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) about becoming a Creative Collaborator, please click HERE.

Please Note: The above photo in the card is by Ryan Mallard (not Miklos Legrady).

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