The first installation that you come upon when visiting Winter Stations is called Collective Memory and it’s also an international entry. The piece is collaboration by Mario García of Barcelona, Spain and Andrea Govi from Milan, Italy.
The lifeguard station is flanked on two sides by walls formed entirely of clear, empty bottles. Visitors are then encouraged to write the stories of their arrival to Canada and to slip them into one of the containers. These messages can then be viewed and, if so moved, a visitor can remove one and take the missive with them.
García and Govi were moved to create this piece when they learned an interesting fact about Canadian demographics. It turns out by 2031, nearly one-half of the Canadian population over the age of 15 will either be foreign-born or the child of a migrant parent. Given the current political climate, attitudes towards newcomers, and the current migrant crisis facing the globe, this was probably the most moving piece to view.
The act of placing a message in a bottle is ultimately an act of hope. Will it be received? More importantly, will it be understood? Given the curiosity and enthusiasm that I saw from Collective Memory’s reception among the crowd, I think that people’s wish to be welcomed and understood may be realized.
The title for this piece comes from the song Message in a Bottle by The Police.
Winter Stations runs from February 20th to March 27th, 2017. Follow the boardwalk east starting at Woodbine beach.