Making Room for the Birds: Grow Op Artists Deena DelZotto + Victoria Taylor transform the roof for ‘Perch Here’
When Victoria Taylor cofounded Grow Op in 2013, her vision was to foster innovative responses to landscape, art, gardens, and the way we think about cities through a cross disciplinary approach. Now in it’s fourth year, Grow Op includes an Alternative Food & Drink Show, the Gladstone Flea Goes Green, artist talks and over 30 works that will be on display from April 21-24 (get your tickets here!).
While many of the pieces bring the outdoors in, Victoria Taylor and Deena Delzotto are reimagining our Green Roof this year into a hospitality haven for migrating birds and wildlife. From our hotel rooms, to dining areas and event spaces, Perch Here mirrors the hospitable experience for creatures of the open air. We sat down with the brilliant Victoria Taylor to learn more about her vision for Grow Op and Perch Here.
Victoria Taylor and Deena Delzotto on Installation Day
Why did you decide to work with the green roof space for ‘Perch Here’?
I’ve always been interested in roofs as potential spaces for public art. As a landscape architect, I was drawn to the challenge of making the Gladstone’s green roof work better. My collaborator Deena DelZotto works in urban agriculture with Bowery Project so she was also interested in what we could accomplish within the context of Grow Op.
What was the first step when you were looking for ways to improve the design?
We began by using the metaphor of hospitality. We wanted the green roof to reflect the hospitality that happens within the Gladstone Hotel. What the Gladstone offers to their guests, in terms of food, shelter and comfort, we wanted to give to the species who visit the green roof. It’s currently a flat monoculture that doesn’t offer much in the way of habitat. Through design, our piece will literally encourage birds to ‘Perch Here’ through interesting branch structures. We will also put out seed to feed the guests, in the hopes that they will be a catalyst for more biodiversity to the green roof.
What was your goal when you first started Grow Op?
I wanted to bring other disciplines to the dialogue of landscape design and connect the design community to the conversation. Grow Op shows that it’s not just landscape architects who can have an opinion about landscapes. The show attracts farmers, artists, illustrators, painters, makers and more to push their own creative process and provoke Grow Op visitors to ask question like: “Why are the streets designed like that? Why do our sidewalks look like that? Can this be done better?” When these ideas get filtered through the various interdisciplinary lenses, new ideas emerge.
The Green Roof from the third floor, Before Deena and Victoria turned it into a hospitality haven for birds.
What do you hope guests will feel and experience when they see your installation and the other 30+ works?
I hope people will be turned on in a different way. Whether it’s through humour, a visual, a structure they become immersed in, I want guests to walk through the door thinking one thing and leave thinking about something else. To ask new questions. To question our role in urban life.
Hey birds! Perch here!
This piece will be up for six months. Stay tuned to watch the progression as Perch Here uses birds as a catalyst for bringing seeds to germinate on the roof to enhance biodiversity during the growing season. Part of this project has been made possible with support from the Ontario Arts Council. Perch Here also thanks Ecoman Landscape Contractor and Bird Studies Canada for their support.
Want to learn more about Perch Here and the species that will enjoy it? Deena and Victoria have invited Bird Studies Canada to lead a local tour during Grow Op called “Birds in the Built Environment”
Birds in the Built Environment Dates:
Friday, April 22 at 2pm, FREE
Sunday, April 24 at 1pm and 3pm, FREE