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Harbourfront Art in The Globe and Mail

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Harbourfront Art in the Globe and Mail

Dave LeBlanc—Two little girls, perhaps 8 and 10, navigate Lilliputian walls. Amused, they find a light switch, flick it up and down a few times, notice a shrunken window frame, chuckle, then begin to walk to another part of the gallery when the younger one squeals with delight: “Wait! Go back, you’re on TV!”

The older girl steps back and her feet appear onscreen. “Bend down, so I can see your face!” the younger one says. The older one aligns her smiling face with the pinhole-sized lens. “Now do something silly!” she says. When the girls finally tire of the camera and find the taxidermic squirrel hiding inside a different wall, they can hardly contain themselves.

Spurred on by the giggling girls, adults are now crouching and peering through peepholes in the walls to see a dysfunctional family sitting around a kitchen-table bonfire, a McMansion moored in acres of grass and, yes, a furry critter living between layers of drywall.

Welcome to the Building for the Economy exhibition—at Harbourfront Centre’s York Quay Centre—meant to educate, challenge and question the philosophies informing contemporary architecture, particularly in the face of global economic realities. Watching from a far corner of the room, architects Adam and Katja Thom, partners in Agathom Co., are clearly pleased their installation, Urgencies of Modesty, is generating such interest. They hope, too, that by allowing gallery-goers to interact with the silly shrunken walls and meandering floor plan they will convey the subconscious message that all of us need to get serious about our personal real estate consumption.