reimagining the past © Quentin Vercetty

Fri, 10/23/2020


Presented by Goethe-Institut Toronto, Monument Lab and the Federal Agency for Civic Education
Toronto multimedia artist Quentin VerCetty hosts a free digital AR walk and online engagement, reimagining Toronto's monuments by foregrounding neglected Black biographies and exploring Black digital futures.  The long-term project will live at

Vercetty will share his walk around downtown Toronto with the audience, present biograhical shorts of Black leaders, host a live conversation with artist-mentor Ken Lum and a Q&A with the audience.  They will be joined by Prof. Dori Tunstall and Elder Ginelle Skerritt, whose work focuses on reclaiming African people's connection to arts,culture, and spirituality for future generations.

Register for our online event for free on Eventbrite and join the event & the conversation via @GoetheToronto on Facebook & Twitter!

Introduced by Canadian artist, Monument Lab co-curator and VerCetty’s artistic mentor Ken Lum.  Lum is a Vancouver-born visual artist (documenta 11, biennales in Venice, Sao Paolo, Shanghai, Sydney, Busan, Gwangju, Moscow, Whitney, et al.), and the Chair of Fine Arts at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Design in Philadelphia. His memorial to the Canadian war effort in Italy during World War II is situated in front of Toronto City Hall. He was also part of the team with The Planning Partnership of Toronto designing a public space called Huron Square for Toronto's Chinatown. Instagram: @ken__lum  

Pro. Dori Tunstall, Dean of Design at OCADU, Vercetty's alma mater, will virtually introduce the theme of Black Digital Futures.  Tunstall led the recent Black cluster hire at Canada's largest arts academy, bringing on five new tenure-track faculty members who self-identify as Black peoples of African Descent (including Africans and African heritage people from the Caribbean, North America, and Latin America).  A design leader and anthropologist, Tunstall held the role of Associate Dean of Learning and Teaching in the Faculty of Design at Swinburne University of Technology in Australia.  Tunstall previously worked as a strategist for the Sapient Corporation and Arc Worldwide. She studied at Bryn Mawr College and earned a PhD in Anthropology from Stanford University. Instagram:@deandori_ocadu

Quentin VerCetty will share his (prerecorded) walk around downtown Toronto with the audience, present a few biographical shorts of forgotten or neglected Black leaders, host a live conversation with Ken Lum and a Q&A with the audience.

In his project for Shaping the Past in Toronto and Montreal in October 2020 as a public space intervention, conversation and unconference –titled “Missing Black Technofossil Here”– Quentin VerCetty uses augmented reality, digital 3D-art and -printing to address Tania Inniss’ notion that “the absence of Black representation in art” is erasure, relating it to the City of Toronto as one of the few major cities without any monuments of Black people. Intervening their nonappearance, the artist's multi-layered process combining research, computer generated- and haptic-modelling aims to create digital imagery as well as sculptural works that ultimately embody within the city-scape Black Canadian community leaders —including Mathieu Da Costa, Lucie and Thornton Blackburn, Jean Augustine, Michaëlle Jean, Pharoah Freeman, and Saron Gebresellassi. As memorials of representation these works are meant to be understood as Afrofuturistic technofossils functioning as an example of sankofanology, connecting the past, present, and future through its existence. Quentin's work also intersects with the recent debates of the renaming of the so-called “Mohrenrondell” in Sanssouci Park in Potsdam, Germany, to the removal of confederate and colonial figures across the Black diaspora globally. 

Monument Lab is an independent public art and history studio based in Philadelphia. Founded by historian Paul Farber, Philadelphia, and artist Ken Lum, Vancouver/Philadelphia, Monument Lab works with artists, students, activists, municipal agencies, and cultural institutions on exploratory approaches to public engagement and collective memory.
The Goethe-Institut's current international Monument Lab fellows include Quentin VerCetty Lindsay (Montreal and Toronto, Canada), an award-winning multidisciplinary visual griot, art educator, and artivist. He honed his artistic vision as a participant of the Remix Project, a creative arts program for youth, after which he received his BFA from OCAD University. VerCetty is currently working on his MA from Concordia University, where he writes a thesis exploring Afrofuturism as a tool for art pedagogy. He is creating a curriculum focusing on an Afrofuturistic framework through which students can use artistic digital media to learn and engage with oppressive and racist public monuments.

Full artist statement.

Shaping the Past is produced in partnership with the Goethe-Institut, Monument Lab, and the Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung (Federal Agency for Civic Education).