The Work of Wind: Air, Land, Sea

Curated by Christine Shaw
Produced by the Blackwood Gallery
Presented in partnership with the City of Mississauga, the University of Toronto Mississauga, and K. Verlag

Exhibition: September 14–23, 2018
Books: September 2018, June 2019, September 2019
Public Programs: June 2018–April 2019
Broadsheet Series: June 2018–April 2019

For full program details visit

Design: Studio Remco van Bladel.

September 14 to September 23, 2018
Southdown Industrial Area, Mississauga, Ontario
Opening Night: Friday, September 14

Over the course of ten days, the Southdown Industrial Area in Mississauga will be transformed into a site-specific contemporary art exhibition. With commissioned works by Canadian and international artists, THE WORK OF WIND: AIR, LAND, SEA will create an operatic experience of elemental forces, geopolitical processes, and environmental violence impacting the Earth. Drawing on the language of the Beaufort Scale of Wind Force—breaking, scattering, drifting, tumbling, rolling, driving, whistling, rustling, extending, raising, swaying, inconveniencing, impeding, damaging, uprooting—the exhibition will unfurl the 13 forces, from 0 (Calm) to 12 (Hurricane), and punctuate the area with 13 artist projects moving between modes of allegory and creative adaptation strategies.

The exhibition will be contained within a roughly 1km2 zone in Mississauga’s Southdown Industrial Area, bordered by Clarkson to the north and Lake Ontario to the south. This complex area features a cement plant, a gypsum pier, an oil and lubricants refinery, a carbon dioxide production facility, a wastewater treatment plant, heritage sites, a nursery, a fruit distribution centre, a commercial transport hub, a hazardous waste management facility, an abandoned paint and resin plant, a working farm, a radio transmission field, and a permanent ambient air monitoring program, among other sites. These are in addition to the popular recreational sites of the Petro Canada Park and Cricket Ground and Lakeside Park, with its Cobble Beach comprised of the remnants of buried clay pipes from the National Sewer Pipe Company, increasingly exposed as the shoreline and bank erodes.

A contemporary art project of this scale is the first of its kind in Mississauga—held over two weekends, the festival aims to provoke, surprise, and delight viewers by demonstrating that art can be experienced anywhere and everywhere. The two-week festival (staged at one centralized location) will also feature a series of live events, including performances, film screenings, talks, workshops, and other on-site events, to further animate the thirteen exhibition sites and commissioned projects, reaching diverse communities across the city. The Work of Wind: Air, Land, Sea is an invitation to the city’s publics to create memorable encounters with art, in the common struggle for a healthy, vibrant future. This transformational project presents an opportunity for artists, thinkers, industry, and everyday citizens to engage with each other in meaningful discussion about climate change and environmental responsibility.

Town Hall Information Sessions

Town Hall Information Sessions
Wednesday, May 9, 2018
4–5pm & 6–7pm
Harding Waterfront Estate
2700 Lakeshore Rd W, Mississauga

The Work of Wind: Air, Land, Sea is a site-specific exhibition and festival presented by Blackwood Gallery, University of Toronto Mississauga, in partnership with the City of Mississauga. Taking place in Clarkson’s Southdown Area from September 14–23, 2018, the project is designed to expand perspectives on climate change through artistic practice, cultural inquiry, and community activation. The exhibition will be complemented by a series of live events—performances, workshops, panel discussions, and film screenings—along with the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge, a year-long public engagement program featuring a website, bi-monthly broadsheet publication series, a three-volume book series, a digital platform, and a city-wide public education program.

A contemporary art project of this scale is the first of its kind in Mississauga. The Work of Wind: Air, Land, Sea is an invitation to the city’s publics to create memorable encounters with art, in the common struggle for a healthy, vibrant future.

In preparation for the exhibition, Blackwood Gallery and the City of Mississauga are holding two Town Hall Information Sessions on May 9 at Harding Estate. These meetings are open to all residents and businesses in the area, and present an opportunity to learn more about the project, receive updates, give input, and ask questions.

RSVP via Eventbrite. All welcome.


The Work of Wind: Land (September 2018)
The Work of Wind: Sea (June 2019)
The Work of Wind: Air (September 2019)
Eds. Christine Shaw & Etienne Turpin
Managing Ed. Anna-Sophie Springer
Publisher K. Verlag

Expanding the lines of inquiry, curatorial strategies, and aesthetic practices mobilized in the exhibition, The Work of Wind: Land and The Work of Wind: Sea will each contain a reflective essay on the Beaufort Scale, an intermezzo off the scale, and 13 responses to the scale’s 13 forces. Here, the reader-as-exhibition-viewer will navigate a broad multidisciplinary field of inquiry and experimentation, sensing a rise of intensity in form and content as the pages turn from 0 (Calm) to 12 (Hurricane). Contributors will include artists, curators, atmospheric scientists, designers, poets, oceanographers, architects, anthropologists, art historians, media archaeologists, geologists, sociologists, economists, physicists, geographers, and more. The final book, The Work of Wind: Air, will bring together an analysis of the material flows of Mississauga’s Southdown Industrial Area and the artist projects that circulated through it during the exhibition THE WORK OF WIND: AIR, LAND, SEA.

The Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge (SDUK)

To productively collide with the present crisis, ideas cannot be constrained by disciplines. An ecology of knowledge based on the relationship and antagonism of “useful” ideas will be composed and circulated through THE SOCIETY FOR THE DIFFUSION OF USEFUL KNOWLEDGE (SDUK). The name of this innovative platform is borrowed from a non-profit society founded in London in 1826, focused on publishing inexpensive texts such as the widely read Penny Magazine and The Library of Useful Knowledge (of which Captain Francis Beaufort led the map and atlas section), and aimed at spreading important world knowledge to anyone seeking to self-educate. Continuing, and troubling, the origins of the society, the Blackwood’s SDUK platform will circulate research, ideas, and debates from a range of exigent discourses and practices, including those among the visual arts, environmental humanities, public policy, political economy, sustainable design, science and technology studies, extinction studies, and the major scientific and cultural debate of a generation—the Anthropocene.


SDUK Public Programs
June 2018 to April 2019
Across the City of Mississauga (including events in all 11 wards)

The SDUK’s public programs will bring together contributors from diverse fields in the sciences and humanities, students and faculty from across the University of Toronto Mississauga, community activists and policy agitators, artist researchers and speculative thinkers, all to advance new forms of literacy around climate change discourse. This series of public programs will engage audiences throughout Mississauga and beyond.


SDUK Broadsheets
June 2018 to June 2019
Eds. D.T. Cochrane, Alison Cooley, Fraser McCallum, Christine Shaw & Joy Xiang
Publisher Blackwood Gallery

Issue 01: GRAFTING, June 2018
Issue 02: COMMUTING, August 2018
Issue 03: BEARING, October, 2018
Issue 04: SHORING, December, 2018
Issue 05: ACCOUNTING, February 2019
Issue 06: FORGING, April 2019


Volunteers are needed for many roles for The Work of Wind: Air, Land, Sea. To learn more about volunteer opportunities, please visit our volunteer page, and to stay up to date with information about the project join our mailing list!


The Work of Wind: Air, Land, Sea is produced in collaboration with the University of Toronto Mississauga, the City of Mississauga, and K. Verlag.

This is one of the 200 exceptional projects funded in part through the Canada Council for the Arts’ New Chapter program. With this $35M investment, the Council supports the creation and sharing of the arts in communities across Canada.