Waterloo Region in 50 years according to local artists

This past month, Themuseum opened Fast Forward Waterloo Region to the public, showcasing the ideas and work of local artists expressing their thoughts on what Waterloo Region will look like in 50 years. On Sept. 16, a local group of 20 artists who call themselves Collective Identity filled the exhibit with installations that show themes of transit, food and food security, multiculturalism, and urbanity and landscape.&nbsp;</p>

Allison Leonard, the brand, communications, and digital media manager, explained, “It was an initiative to support local art and grassroots initiatives.” 

The exhibit is meant to envision what Waterloo will look like in 2050; there are many narratives including the ION and other environmental topics. Some of the other narratives involve Waterloo Region as it is and incorporate its history. 

As you enter the exhibit, on the far wall is Themuseum’s engagement area where viewers are asked their opinion on the region in 2050 and invited to write their answer down on the blackboard. “People have added both really positive and critical views,” said Leonard. 

This exhibition combines everything from sculptures to paintings to spoken word to videos. It’s also about being interactive and getting the ideas of the community, according to Leonard. 

A piece of art by Jennifer Gough, one of the organizers for the exhibit, welcomes interactivity. Viewers can become part of the installation by taking puzzle pieces and writing their thoughts about Waterloo on the back, then placing the pieces on a web of string that makes up a tree of ideas. By the second day of the exhibit, there were over 200 pieces on the sculpture. Gough collected all the pieces and laid out new puzzle pieces so that new viewers could expand on the project.

Bus Series, a piece based on sketches of people riding the buses in the KW region, also stands out. The multiple faces seem too absorbed in their own worlds to notice the viewer, yet some faces look familiar. There’s a chance you yourself are in this series if you ride the bus.

Another piece in the exhibit is the pilot episode of a new show called Kitchener Sync, by 12 Angry Filmmakers. The episode is played on repeat, projected onto a large white wall in the museum. The series itself, which features exaggerated characters from the KW Region, will be screened in the Apollo Theatre.

A different installment focuses on the fable of stone soup: even if you have nothing you can make soup from stones. It won’t taste very good, but everyone can contribute to it and share. The installment really comments on affordable, sustainable foods system for the region. 

“Everything is made by the people of the region — there is not often a ton of space for these kinds of artists in professional galleries because usually that costs a lot of money. Themuseum has actually given up the space to them to say ‘we support what you’re doing,’ ” said Leonard, adding, “anyone can create here.”