Oshawa is transitioning away from heavy manufacturing towards service-based enterprises, prompted by growth in the education sector and improvements to the transit infrastructure, and accompanied by residential development in the north and infill construction of condominiums and warehouses downtown. One of the reasons why I now live and work here is because Oshawa has a story to tell. It is a world-renowned city although it doesn’t care to brag about it. Coming across remnants and signs of the “Second Industrial Revolution” is one of my favourite ways to discover this city.
So what are the signs which symbolize Oshawa’s present transition? Is it the bright orange traffic barrels which line-up along Simcoe Street as it crosses over the 407 extension? Is it exemplified by the 1806 square feet of hatched safety zones painted on the parking lot at the recently expanded GO station? Does the increased proliferation of safety zones mean that the city is safer or riskier for pedestrians? Does it denote increased accessibility? Does it signify a surplus of commercial space? Does it signal reinvestment in economically depressed areas? Does it reflect increased countermeasures against distracted driving/walking?
These sorts of questions were explored during my residency in the ArtLab, which was concerned with documenting and interpreting patterns of urbanization, pedestrian safety, and rezoning strategies. During the residency, Gallery A presented an exhibition titled Zonification, featuring several photographic works as well as works from the “Counting Cars” series.