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Ferruccio Sardella’s Living Water Map

In 2010, artist Ferruccio Sardella installed a living sculpture in the Welcome Court of the Evergreen Brick Works in Toronto, named Watershed Consciousness. The structure lives by the rainwater that runs through it, feeding its plant wall. It serves as a representation of the Toronto area watersheds, mapping the passage of water from the Oak Ridges Moraine to Lake Ontario.

Evergreen Brick Works is the place to be for exploring what’s new in urban sustainability. Nestled in an oasis of forest next to the Don Valley Parkway, this social enterprise is bringing nature back to cities by means of inclusive community programming. At the inauguration of Watershed Consciousness, one of the sites many public art pieces, Geoff Cape, Evergreen’s executive director, explained: “We hope that through this watershed wall, we help re-connect Torontonians to the natural forces that sustain us.” 

Recently, Evergreen Brick Works hosted the Grey To Green Conference, an event focused on greening urban infrastructure. Hot topics at this conference included living walls or roofs and storm water management, two things that are realized in Sardella’s public art piece.

Sculpted stainless steel pipes imitate the Lake Ontario tributaries that run throughout the Toronto area, transporting rainwater through forested arteries such as the Don Valley. A large plate of rusted cor-tan steel delineates the highly urbanized region of Toronto, perforated by winding rivers. Rainwater flows down into the structure and trickles out along a sheet of steel at the bottom, creating a waterfall wall effect.

If this piece serves as a map of Toronto, it breaks the convention of metropolitan cartography, reminding us to acknowledge the geography beneath our paved roads and city blocks.

“Instead of the repetitive criss crossing of city streets, the piece depicts ghostly homages to the lost rivers of Toronto etched into the rusted steel. To consider this work as a map is to confront Toronto’s ecological essence. “Where is your watershed address?” is the question the installation asks the occupants of the region.” –Ferruccio Sardella

- Meriza Martel-Bryden

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|Ferrucio ‘ferro’ Montanino - Scary monsters and nice sprites (skillrex piano cover)|

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