For the second year running, media artists Patricio Davila and Dave Colangelo present In The Air, Tonight, a month-long reactive architecture installation that transforms the LED facade of the Ryerson School of Image Arts and Ryerson Image Centre into a glowing beacon that draws attention to and helps raise money for the growing problem of homelessness.

Indeed, there are more than 5,000 homeless individual in Toronto, of which 400 sleep outside on an average night, for lack of shelters. In The Air, Tonight will animate the LED facade of the Ryerson Image Centre at 33 Gould Street starting tonight at 7PM. Lit in blue to react to the chilling winter, the facade will turn red every time a tweet with the hashtag #homelessness will be published, a way to materialize the conversation going on about this issue. Anyone can participate by visiting intheairtonight.org or by following @itatonight on Twitter where they can read and re-tweet messages from activists, community groups, and concerned individuals or compose their own.

The building will turn red everytime a tweet with the hashtag #Homelessness will be published, picture by Maggie Chan

For those who cannot make it on site, a live feed of the building on the website will enable every participants to watch the building change colours. Most importantly, everyone is invited to donate directly to Out of the Cold and other organizations providing essential support and advocacy for people experiencing poverty and homelessness, a volunteer initiative that provides safe refuge, hospitality, and emergency shelter to the homeless community throughout the City of Toronto. 

This building is at the heart of the densest neighbourhood in Canada in terms of shelters and, according to the Toronto-based artist Dave Colangelo, “the installation combines activism, information, personal testimony, collective participation, and the unique platform of expressive architecture to viscerally engage people in a discussion about an important issue" that will hopefully "amplify the conversation, raise money, and affect positive societal change”. Patricio Davilla, the second artist involved in this project hope that this will help people "to understand that we also need more affordable housing, a better ‘housing first’ approach, and a national housing strategy to address the root causes of inequality".

The installation will be running until March 5th, 2015, picture by Maggie Chan

Davila and Colangelo are famous for their work entitled E-TOWER when, back in 2010, the CN Tower was the support of an interactive mobile phone-based installation, but also for The Line (2013), a site-specific architectural projection part of the Canadian Pavilion of the 2014 Shenzhen/Hong-Kong Bi-City Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism.

You can join the conversation on Thursday, the 5th of February at the northwest corner of the Ryerson School of Image Arts and Ryerson Image Centre for the opening reception of In The Air, Tonight beginning at 7:00pm.

Related Companies:  CFMS Consulting Inc., Diamond Schmitt Architects, Ryerson University