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Theory X with The Bentway

Featured Speakers:

Habon Ali, Prime Minister’s Youth Council

Cheryl Blackman, Royal Ontario Museum

Mark V Campbell, Northside Hip Hop Archive

Alex Josephson, Partisan

Devyani Saltzman, Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity

Yaw Tony, Designer

Quentin VerCetty, Artist

Amy Wong, Angry Asian Feminist Gang



“Your gaze scans the streets as if they were written pages: the city says everything you must think…however the city may really be, beneath this thick coating of signs, whatever it may contain or conceal.” –Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities

Theory X – a project organized by the Bentway and curated with Monument Lab’s Ken Lum and Paul Farber – proposes an open question to a group of 8 invited Torontonians: What’s Your Theory of Toronto? The question will spawn responses that will be prepared by a range of artists, activists, planners, and cultural workers; delivered as a form of public address at the Bentway; shared online in textual and video form; and serve as platform to invite public participants to respond with dialogue, or author words and/or images of their own responses to the central question, which will also be shared as a research platform afterward.

The question is intended to invite theorization about the city through creative speculation, recollection, and reckoning. If cities are places of order, logic, balance, encounter, and data-driven policy, as we understand, they, too, are sites of profound challenge, improvisation, inequality, surveillance, and grassroots forms of knowledge. Conscious of the narratives of “smart” cities as places wired for progress and profit, this speakers series and research project seeks a moment to pause, ponder, and unlock other insights regarding collective values and visions of civic identity.

The Bentway is a unique and innovative public space that transforms 1.75km underneath Toronto’s Gardiner Expressway into a new gathering place for our city’s growing population. The Bentway offers year-round activities and events, including gardens, a skate trail, recreational amenities, public markets, public art, special exhibitions, festivals, theatre and musical performances, and more. 

As a part of the New Monuments for New Cities initiative with the High Line Joint Art Network, the Bentway invited High Line research residents and Monument Lab co-founders Ken Lum and Paul Farber to curate a speakers series entitled Theory X on June 16, 2019. Together, Monument Lab and the Bentway have posed an open research question: What is your theory of Toronto? We have worked with Lum and Farber to create a list of potential speakers to reflect a widespread critical community. The invited speakers have been asked to respond to this question as it is broken down into four discursive categories: the constitution of Publics, the historical transmission of Legacies, the recognition of Ecologies, and the striving for Belonging.

Later Event: June 28
Monument Lab Town Hall