Hogtown Sensory Archive, 2019
Hogtown Sensory Archive is an interactive archive in VR that explores the multiple histories and communities surrounding Toronto’s last operating pig slaughterhouse. The site of study is the now abandoned Quality Meat Packers pork packing plant, in operation from 1914-2014. Closing just shy of its 100th birthday, the abattoir reflected one of the last historical remnants of Toronto’s meatpacking industry. In a once industrial area of the city, the factory now lies at the heart of a booming downtown district that has undergone extensive gentrification and urban development in recent years.
Working out of sensory ethnography, the project incorporates site-specific methodologies of 360-degree video, field sound recordings, community interviews, and archival photos. As a focal point of the neighbourhood, the site has been activated into a “sensory archive” in which narratives around food production, public health, heritage, sensory memory, community, gentrification and displacement branch out.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Elina Lex is a Toronto-based interdisciplinary researcher and media artist whose work stretches across VR/360 video, locative media, interactive documentary, and digital archives. Throughout her studies in York University’s graduate school of Cinema and Media Arts, her cross-disciplinary research-creation work explored the intersections between interactive technologies and sensory ethnographic methods, investigating how emerging digital media platforms might transform the way cultural information, knowledge, and memory is expressed and exchanged, from silent/text-centric cultures to sensory-enriched cultures of communication.
Working out of public and community interests, her interactive work continues to explore questions of place, sensory memory, and the cityscape as archive, producing new forms of access and public participation for place-based cultural heritage, educational, and community art experiences.
If you are interested in exhibiting or viewing this artistic VR experience, please send an email to us.