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Jiigew

Jiigew2spmb (Eduardo Aquino & Karen Shanski) in collaboration with Brook McIlroy Architects
Narrative spoken by Patricia Ningewance and Rick Smith
Each 21m high (70')
Corten steel with programmed LED lighting system
2011
Prince Arthur's Landing - Pier 1 and Pier 3
Artist website: www.spmb.ca

Jiigew are two sculptures inspired by shipbuilding that mark the waterfront landscape, giving a sense of place for those who approach the waterfront from the city and from the lake. At dusk the light pixels gently drop down the length of the sculpture like a waterfall, communicating by way of Morse code. Sound accompanies the lights, broadcasting a narration by Pat Ningewance and Rick Smith. Together the light pixels and the sound recount the mythologies, histories, and poetry around the theme of “water” that help to form the collective consciousness of Thunder Bay.

-Eduardo Aquino & Karen Shanski, spmb (artists)

Jiigew, Ojibwe for "by the water," is the City's first public art project with an exclusive focus on digital media, light and sound. The award-winning design for the two structures was achieved through a collaboration between the artist team spmb, and Brook McIlroy Architects.

'The Beacons' as they have become known, are built from Corten steel and house the lighting and narrative developed by the artists. The illumination comes into effect after dusk.

Jiigew are destination points at the end of Piers 1 and 3. They are strongly connected and visible to the community by land, air and water. A fusion of art and architecture, the Beacons are iconic, signature pieces on the city’s waterfront.

The design concept has carefully considered the idea of “duality” as a major conceptual direction for the project. We considered duality not as opposites but as complementary parts of a whole, understanding the Beacons as part of one same cityscape: the shoreline, the lake, and the landscape beyond. The quality or state of “being dual” or of “having a dual nature” evokes the Ojibway mythology, and serves to the many formative features of the project’s context and the City of Thunder Bay’s history. Some of these dualities are: land/sea; earth/sky; Port Arthur/Fort William; day/night; summer/winter; sun/moon; sleeping/awake; myth/reality, etc. In this way we do not see a separation between the art (light/sound) and the architecture (the beacon’s structure) but recognize the full integration of the two as a major force of this project, producing a poetic synthesis on the Thunder Bay coastline.

-Eduardo Aquino & Karen Shanski, spmb (artists)

 Beacons 1Jiigew3 Jiigew1

Photos credits: Middle left by spmb, remainder by David Whittaker