Fold, crease, repeat, complete! On Thursday, October 12, the Ontario Science Centre unveiled DEEP BLUE, a stunning, collaborative art installation comprised of more than 2000 origami swans, carp, bass, sturgeon, and turtles, depicting the bathymetry of majestic Lake Ontario. Part of the Great Art for Great Lakes initiative to celebrate Canada’s sesquicentennial, DEEP BLUE was created by Labspace Studio in collaboration with 12-year-old Great Lakes Trust junior ambassador Daniel Ranger—with help from Science Centre visitors.
“As our visitors created origami for DEEP BLUE, they engaged in conversations about the importance of Lake Ontario to our region – from recreation to the economy—and the environmental threats and challenges it faces,” said Maurice Bitran, Ph.D., CEO and chief science officer, Ontario Science Centre. “Art and science intersect in DEEP BLUE, deepening our appreciation for the beauty of Lake Ontario and our understanding of the correlation between the health of the lake and the vitality of the people who live on its shores.”
From water quality to climate change, Lake Ontario faces many varied threats. In creating DEEP BLUE, Labspace Studio, a Toronto-based artist collective and creative studio, aims to educate the public about the fragile ecosystem of Lake Ontario and to inspire positive action that will protect and restore this precious freshwater resource.
“As socially-engaged artists, we are honoured to be part of Great Art for Great Lakes, an ambitious, multi-city initiative that enables lakefront communities to connect and reflect on the importance of Lake Ontario in their daily lives through art,” said John Loerchner and Laura Mendes, Co-directors, Labspace Studio. “Hundreds of thousands of people come to the Ontario Science Centre annually. We hope DEEP BLUE will inspire the public – particularly youth – to take the environmental action necessary to safeguard the health and ecology of the Great Lakes.”
In August, 2017, Labspace Studio, along with Daniel Ranger, conducted two origami workshops in the Science Centre’s Inventorium, curiosity-driven space that encourages play, creativity, and collaboration. Using folding instructions based on designs of Lake Ontario species created by Ranger, visitors were invited to contribute to the installation by making origami shapes. Using geodata, Labspace Studio suspended the origami shapes to map the lake’s depth, terrain and form, resulting in an extraordinary three-dimensional representation of Lake Ontario.
“We want to celebrate the grandeur and importance of the largest group of freshwater lakes on Earth,” says Karen Kun, Co-founder, Greatness–the Great Lakes Project. “It is crucial we connect with the Great Lakes so we can understand and safeguard them for our current and future quality of life. Local artists are collaboratively creating works of art with local residents to honour the Great Lakes, share their stories and mark Canada’s sesquicentennial.”
DEEP BLUE will remain on permanent display at the Ontario Science Centre, showcasing the ecology—and grandeur – of Lake Ontario. For more information and to purchase tickets, please visit OntarioScienceCentre.ca.