First came the idea of HIGHRISE: a multi-year project to document the human experience in vertical suburbs. We cut a trailer to explain.
Then, we did a year of research about (sub)urbanism, growing segregation, highrises and how we could shape the future of our urban planet. We collected these ideas in the PROLOGUE.
Meanwhile, we began a participatory project with 6 highrise residents living in a Toronto suburban highrise, and asked them to show the world what the view looks like from inside. Their collection of stories and photographs became our first documentary called THE THOUSANDth TOWER, named so because the city has over 1000 towers.
Our global research was beginning to yield incredible stories from highrise neighbourhoods around the world, proving that inside drab concrete towers, people can create community, art and meaning. We put those stories together in one virtual highrise, using a 360° game-like interface.
The project is called OUT MY WINDOW, and has garnered international awards and attention.
We took photos and audio from OUT MY WINDOW, and in co-production with the Canadian Film Centre and artist Priam Givord, created an art INSTALLATION that brought the stories and images into a physical environment. It premiered in Amsterdam.
And just now, We’ve added a feature to OUT MY WINDOW called PARTICIPATE. Users share views from their own windows through photos and text.
We’ve also continued to work with the 6 highrise residents living in a Toronto Suburban Highrise. This time with architects by their side, the residents are imagining what their neighbourhoods *could* look like with a bit of attention and ingenuity. Animators are bringing their sketches to life, and guru creative technologst Mike Robbins adapts the story into a virtual landscape in ONE MILLIONTH TOWER
In a special collaboration with The New York Times, we traced the history of the Highrise building through 2,500 years, in an interactive and animated storybook built from rarely seen archival photographs called A SHORT HISTORY OF THE HIGHRISE
We’re researching many more ideas, including an emerging academic study with Dr. Deborah Cowen of the York Global Suburbanisms team to understand the digital lives of suburban citizens. And much more. We’re on a multi-year journey to discover what’s inside (and outside!) the most commonly-built form of the last century, the HIGHRISE. And that’s THE STORY SO FAR.