Calculating Upon the Unforeseen curated by Clara Halpern1967: A People Kind of Place, 2012
In 1967 the town of St. Paul, Alberta erected the world’s first UFO Landing Pad. Proclaimed as a symbol of Western hospitality, this site becomes a focal point for the artist's video exploration of Canadian immigration reform.
Plays at :00, :20, :40 mins.
Super 8, 16mm and 35mm films transferred to SD video, 19 minutes 11 seconds.
In 1967 the Canadian Centennial Committee baptized St. Paul, Alberta the “The Centennial Star” on account of the quantity, quality and originality of the small town's year-long celebratory activity. Namely, the decision to build the world’s first "UFO Landing Pad." Drawing on archival materials, the film transports the viewer to rural Alberta during Canada’s 100th anniversary celebration, 50 years ago.
The oval-shaped platform was an idea translated into architectural form, a metaphorical welcoming of all people, including "aliens", to the nation. The film explores how this site continues to function as a symbol for Canada's increasing emphasis on hospitality, tolerance, diversity and unity that began during the late 1960's. This shift in discourse and policy is evidenced by the simultaneous implementation of a point-based immigration system focused on a set of objective criteria rather than the applicant's country of origin. A complex and paradoxical structural representation of both nationalist and anti-nationalist ideas, St. Paul's landing pad opens up a historical investigation of Canada as the "instigator" of multiculturalism.
The 19 minute video begins on the hour and at 20 minutes and 40 minutes past the hour.
Suitable for all ages
Toronto City Hall (north side)
Elizabeth Street & Hagerman Street
This project is outdoors.