February 5 to March 5, 2015
There are over 5,000 homeless individuals in Toronto; over 400 sleeping outside on an average night.
For the second year running, media artists Patricio Davila and Dave Colangelo present In The Air, Tonight, a month-long reactive architecture installation that transforms the LED facade of the Ryerson School of Image Arts and Ryerson Image Centre into a glowing beacon that draws attention to and helps raise money for the growing problem of homelessness.
Blue wave-like animations on the building react to the chilling winter wind, intensifying the experience of being exposed to the elements, while red pulses triggered by tweets with the hashtag #homelessness visualize the online conversation about this issue. Anyone can participate by visiting intheairtonight.org or by following @itatonight on Twitter where they can read and re-tweet messages from activists, community groups, and concerned individuals or compose their own. Participants can watch the building change colours remotely via a live feed of the building on the website. They can also donate directly to Out of the Cold and other organizations providing essential support and advocacy for people experiencing poverty and homelessness.
Out of The Cold is a volunteer initiative that provides safe refuge, hospitality, and emergency shelter to the homeless community throughout the City of Toronto. This year, a client of the Out of The Cold program will be live-tweeting his experience over the course of the month (@writer1itat2015).
“The installation combines activism, information, personal testimony, collective participation, and the unique platform of expressive architecture to viscerally engage people in a discussion about an important issue,” said Colangelo. “By creating a link between this building, which happens to lie at the heart of the densest concentration of shelters in Canada, and the information circulated online about homelessness, we hope we can amplify the conversation, raise money, and affect positive societal change.”
“Shelters are only a temporary solution for those struggling with homelessness, poverty, domestic abuse, mental health issues, and addiction,” adds Davila. “While we need to support emergency services and the people that use them, we hope that by engaging with In The Air, Tonight, participants will come to understand that we also need more affordable housing, a better ‘housing first’ approach, and a national housing strategy to address the root causes of inequality. Canada is the only G8 nation in the world that does not have a national housing strategy.”