making art for a balcony

The Balcony Gallery is located in an urban/industrial site overlooking an enclosed parking lot filled with cars in various states of repair.  Outside of this enclave are two very busy roadways and a multitude of busy establishments including a brewery, a furniture store, a fast food outlet, a gas bar, a pawn shop and various other businesses.  This balcony is very utilitarian in purpose, serving primarily as a thouroughfare.

Traditionally, balconies have been much more than utilitarian.  Although, it is true that in many cultures around the world, the balcony plays a somewhat homely role in the domestic lives of city dwellers.  The balcony, in that case, often spans the public/private divide, allowing for less formal meetings between neighbours, for instance.  The balcony provides extra room for people living in confined spaces; it can be used as a storage space for apartments.  The balcony is also a place for nature; for breathing fresh air, for taking in the view and for growing pots of flowers and herbs.

Aside from the added space, the balcony is architecturally decorative, being very often an addition of great beauty and romance.  The lacy wrought iron balconies of New Orleans' French Quarter are renowned.  But balconies are also a beautiful and romantic place to be.  They are purely human, designed, originally and most probably, for the pleasure of seeing, and for being seen.

Great leaders have often used the inherent drama of the balcony to address their followers; popes, czars and princes have all blessed or frightened or delighted their subjects from the relative safely of a balcony.  The balcony is an essential scene of action and romance in both the story of Rapunzel and in Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet.  In fiction, the balcony has also been used as a place to hide, to eavesdrop and to spy.  Characters in movies often plunge suicidally from balconies; sometimes, in more redemptive scenarios, they are saved instead.  In fiction, as well as in reality, the balcony is a place of drama, tragedy, acts of rescue and of love.

The balcony as a human space is evocative; the balcony when considered historically, romantically, dramatically, is a powerful imaginative tool.  This particular balcony, Xchanges' balcony, is especially interesting because of it's essentially anti-romantic nature, it's almost anti-human surroundings.  In the courtyard beneath Xchanges there are no topiary gardens or winding walkways.  The space is, as stated, purely utilitarian.  It is busy, it is grey, it is cement.  On this balcony, the human drama must be reinvented.  This balcony is a space that is not domestic, that is not beautiful, that is not spectacular, and yet it is still a balcony with all the theatrical potential of a stage.

Please contact Christine in case of questions or concerns.