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Arkive Partners with Design Talks Institute and Calgary Central Library for Installation of Allora and Calzadilla’s Electromagnetic Field (2022)

In partnership with Design Talks Institute, Arkive will be installing its acquisition, Electromagnetic Field (2022), at the Calgary Central Library in Calgary, Alberta

Design Talks Institute (d.talks) will stream the Opening Reception via Instagram Live on May 1st at 7pm MST, with further discussion on the climate crisis and its ongoing impact on the power grid taking place on May 4th at the Calgary Central Library


Arkive, the world’s first distributed museum curated by the people, today announces its partnership with Design Talks Institute (d.talks), an organization dedicated to advancing education regarding architecture and design within the urban environment, and the Calgary Central Library for the installation of an Arkive acquired work: Jennifer Allora and Guillermo Calzadilla’s Electromagnetic Field (2022). The work, which is a part of Arkive’s year-one collection, “When Technology Was a Game Changer,” was created in the wake of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico and refers to the problematic recovery of the island’s power grid in the aftermath of the disaster.

View the acquisition in Arkive’s collection gallery here:

Located in Calgary’s East Village, the Central Library was proposed for the installation by Shannon Lanigan, an Arkive member and the co-founder of d.talks. Lanigan selected the library for its role as an essential gathering place in the city, with more than 1 million visitors annually. Electromagnetic Field (2022) will be featured in the library’s artfully designed skylit atrium by Sn⌀hetta​​, where visitors can view it as they enter the institution.

“I’m incredibly inspired by the opportunity Arkive presents not only in allowing the community to vote on what pieces are acquired for the collection but also the overall vision to have artwork shown in public spaces,” said Shannon Lanigan, managing director and a co-founder of d.talks. “Bringing the Allora and Calzadilla work on display in our Central Public Library allows our community the opportunity to have conversations regarding issues around social equity and climate that are impacting all of our lives.”

Acquired in October 2022, Allora and Calzadilla’s Electromagnetic Field relies on natural forces to make abstract images and draw attention to how governmental authorities control nature. The paintings are made by dropping iron filings on top of a canvas and then moving the canvas above an array of copper cables. The cables are connected to an electrical breaker in the artist’s studio in San Juan, and the electrical current forces the particles into abstract shapes and patterns governed by the electromagnetic field. The canvas is then continuously tapped to set the filings into motion, aligning the filings along positive and negative poles.

“We are honored to place Allora and Calzadilla’s Electromagnetic Field on display at the Calgary Central Library,” said Tom McLeod, co-founder and Executive Director at Arkive. "Together with the library and d.talks, we’re excited to share the work with the public and know it will continue to inspire important conversation on climate change and the consequences of government corruption.”

The installation will be celebrated and discussed on May 1st at 7pm MST during a private reception which can be joined virtually via Instagram Live on @dtalks_calgary Instagram page. On May 4th at 7 pm MST, d.talks will also be hosting a public event titled, “Let’s Talk About…The Grid,” curated by d.talks artist leader Jared Tailfeathers at the Calgary Central Library to discuss the work and its criticism of the dominance over resources, nature and culture in colonized countries and territories.

Those interested in attending can confirm their attendance here:

About Arkive

Arkive is the world’s first distributed museum curated by the people. Built by alums from MoMA and Gagosian, Arkive was co-founded by Tom McLeod, a 5x founder who exited his last startup, Omni, to Coinbase, and prior to that, ran Pagelime (acquired by SurrealCMS in 2015), LolConnect (acquired by Tencent in 2012), and Imaginary Feet which developed 15+ profitable iPhone apps enjoyed by over 10 million users.

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