Land Use

Cole Swanson has created an immersive sound installation that aims to embody the complex issue of land use, population growth, and species cohabitation.

Artist Statement

Title: Colony

My artistic practice mines the complex intersections at play between humans and non-human animals. Colony is a study on the relationship between urban development, green-space construction, and animal colony habitation.

This piece examines animal activity in Tommy Thompson Park, including its massive population of Double-crested Cormorants. A human-made space, the park hosts a highly intensified bird colony that has significant impacts on the area’s tree growth. Local researchers have worked tirelessly to introduce the colony to ground nesting sites, achieving notable success and averting plans to cull birds.

The soundscape of the shorebird colony has been captured and relocated
to the historic chimney at the brickworks, a space wherein another bird
species – Chimney Swifts – inhabits en masse in the warmer months.

Through sound and interaction, Colony attempts to embody the complex
issue of land use, population growth, and species cohabitation in a rapidly
changing environment.

– Cole Swanson

About the Artist

Cole Swanson is an artist and educator based in Toronto. He holds a BA (Studio Art) from the University of Guelph and an MA (Art History) from the University of Toronto.

Cole is a two-time arts fellow through the Shastri Indo-Canadian Institute (2007, 2014) for his research on miniature painting, Jaipur school fresco, and handmade pigments.

Recent projects explore materials and their social, cultural and biological histories. Cole engages in a cross-disciplinary practice using sound, installation, painting and sculpture to consider interspecies relationships as they relate to complex co-evolutionary systems.

Project Collaborators

Phinjo Gombu, Director of Project Strategies, Neptis Foundation

Quentin Hanchard, Associate Director, Planning & Development, Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA)

Gail Fraser, Associate Professor, Environmental Biology, York University