6 episodes

Desire Paths are unpaved passages, slowly carved into the terrain of a city, formed by the citizens' own walking tracks, and guided by their belief in a better way.
Desire Paths is a six-part series of audio experiences that explore Toronto futures, designed by artists. Through field trips, self-guided narration, and interviews, each episode will offer a unique view into the artist’s imagination, inviting the listener to reflect on desired paths to shape the next decade in Toronto.
Field trips across the city provide the backdrop for reflection through movement and physical presence, allowing artists to connect their personal histories and lived experiences to their vision for possible futures. With premonitions in mind, the second part of each episode will delve into a conversation between the artist and a city-builder to explore how to bring this desired path into being.
Desire Paths is part of Luminato’s Illuminating Ideas program; a series of conversations and experiences that creatively explore some of the most important issues and ideas facing our world today.
Desire Paths is produced by Alex Rand, and co-curated by Hima Batavia and Alex Rand, with Creative Producers Macy Siu, Jeremy Glenn, and Robert Bolton of Toronto-based foresight studio, From Later.

Desire Paths Luminato Festival Toronto

    • Arts

Desire Paths are unpaved passages, slowly carved into the terrain of a city, formed by the citizens' own walking tracks, and guided by their belief in a better way.
Desire Paths is a six-part series of audio experiences that explore Toronto futures, designed by artists. Through field trips, self-guided narration, and interviews, each episode will offer a unique view into the artist’s imagination, inviting the listener to reflect on desired paths to shape the next decade in Toronto.
Field trips across the city provide the backdrop for reflection through movement and physical presence, allowing artists to connect their personal histories and lived experiences to their vision for possible futures. With premonitions in mind, the second part of each episode will delve into a conversation between the artist and a city-builder to explore how to bring this desired path into being.
Desire Paths is part of Luminato’s Illuminating Ideas program; a series of conversations and experiences that creatively explore some of the most important issues and ideas facing our world today.
Desire Paths is produced by Alex Rand, and co-curated by Hima Batavia and Alex Rand, with Creative Producers Macy Siu, Jeremy Glenn, and Robert Bolton of Toronto-based foresight studio, From Later.

    Liza Paul: Futures of Play

    Liza Paul: Futures of Play

    “Black joy is Black liberation, and I think you can take the Black out of it and joy still is liberation for anyone, you know, like to feel good feelings, that's freedom. And I think that's something that everyone should embrace whenever they can, but you have to learn it.” 
    Part 1 
    We end this season of Desire Paths on a playful note with comedian and storyteller Liza Paul as she shows us what it means to play in the city. Liza begins where it all started for her – at her parents’ house, where a sense of play and imagination was instilled from a young age. She then takes us to her creative home at the Theatre Centre, a place where a philosophy that prioritizes access not only gave Liza a stage to first shape her work, but a programming role that allows her to continue giving artists, especially comedians of the future, the opportunity to take the stage. And in a surprising final location – an unusual spot in the middle of the city – Liza reveals the secret sauce to a good time, showing us that you just need the right attitude, and people, to fully unleash your inner joy. 
    Liza Paul is a storyteller, comedian, curator, and producer who loves laughter, life, music, family, stories, all things bashment, impromptu dancehall-flavoured a cappella street jams, and pum-related non sequiturs. She has trained at the Second City (Improv Conservatory + 2017 Bob Curry Fellowship Program) and is the co-creator of pomme is french for apple (Best of Fringe 2012, Toronto), which has also played in Winnipeg, Edinburgh, and New York. Liza and her pomme partner in crime, Bahia Watson, are developing a variety show called MASHUP PON DI ROAD (coming summer 2022). She has worked with Soulpepper Theatre Company, anitafrika! dub theatre, bCurrent theatre, and the Watah Theatre, and is a content creator for programsound.fm, launching late July 2021. Liza is currently the Associate Artistic Director at the Theatre Centre, where she curated the inaugural Comedy is Art festival in 2019 and is working to continue to program as many comedy shows by women of colour as she possibly can.  
    Part 2 
    For the second part of the episode, Liza is joined by Adil Dhalla, Director of Community for Reset, a social enterprise he co-founded that inspires people to play through pop-up experiences around the city. Together, they discuss what it means to have permission to play, how play can be seen as a revolutionary act, and envision ways to better foster the city as a playground so that we can work towards collective joy through the lens of justice and social recovery as we begin to reemerge from the pandemic. 
    Adil Dhalla is a community organizer, social entrepreneur, and artist. He is the Director of Community for Reset, an organization that he co-founded in 2015 that inspires people to just play through their pop-up playground experiences. He is the Board Chair for the StopGap Foundation, a national charity that makes communities more accessible through physical ramps and awareness. Prior to Reset, Adil was the Managing Director at Artscape Daniel’s Launchpad and the Executive Director at the Centre for Social Innovation. Adil has been recognized as a DiverseCity Fellow and a Common Futures Fellow. He resides in Tkaronto and lives in a cohousing community - The Clarens Commons - along with his partner Shilbee Kim and 5 other individuals. @adildhalla @helloreset 

    • 58 min
    Pree Rehal: Accessible Futures

    Pree Rehal: Accessible Futures

    “Access needs or even just like planning for disability and access is not a one size fits all. It can be really harmful when there's just a document or a toolkit that's like ‘here’s access planning 101’. There can be so many conflicting access needs – you can't anticipate a certain body or a certain kind of disabled person being in this space or participating in this space.” 
    In our fifth episode, artist Pree Rehal guides us through the spaces in the city where they feel safe and cared for –from their homespace, to Allan Gardens, to the Paperhouse Studio, an experimental arts studio and community space. Along the journey, Pree is joined by their sibling Harmeet Rehal, and facilitator Cara Eastcott, as they collectively discuss access intimacy, disability, and transformative justice, and what it means to honour crip time.  
    How can we rethink notions of time and space to design brave places where we can be our authentic selves? What has the pandemic exposed about the everyday challenges of folx with disabilities and how can learnings transform organizational structures? And what do futures of the disability justice movement look like to create more space for intersectionality moving forward? 
    Pree Rehal (they/them) is an artist educator currently based in Tkaronto, originally from Tiohtià:ke. They're a child of immigrant settlers from Punjab. Pree's work is an ode to their extended youth as a trans and non-binary person, while also painting love letters to their inner child, and affirming their queer, disabled, fat self. Their main medium is watercolour, but Pree also embroiders, creates short films, zines, and performs drag.  They have an interdisciplinary arts practice under the name Sticky Mangos and co-founded the Non-Binary Colour Collective. They are also the editor and designer of CRIP COLLAB, a collaborative zine for Disabled artists. Pree's work has been featured in CBC, Xtra magazine, BlogTO, and Salty. Instagram @stickymangos 
    Cara Eastcott is a culture worker based in Toronto, who has been shaping multi-disciplinary arts spaces for the last 15 years.  She has done extensive work in creating accessible practices for Deaf and disability arts to thrive.  Her work highlights storytellers who help communities gain a deeper understanding of place and is centred in the preservation of public cultural histories through intergenerational exchanges, oral storytelling, and relationship building.   

    • 45 min
    Gendai: Collective Futures

    Gendai: Collective Futures

    “I'm one of those people who believe deeply in the suburbs as a place of brilliance. It’s a place of complexity, but a place of brilliance too … What do we need for collective work to happen, be supported, and to create the conditions for brilliance to not be an exception, but for brilliance to be the constant.” 
    Part 1 
    Throughout its 20-year history, Gendai has led experimental curatorial and organizational practices for East Asian artists and artists of colour.  As the new stewards of Gendai, Marsya Maharani and Petrina Ng are building upon the organization’s legacy of decentering whiteness by investing in the future of BIPOC arts leadership through collective practice. 
    In the first part of the episode, Marsya and Petrina take us down memory lane, revisiting specific mall spaces in the suburbs of Toronto that hold intimate meaning to their experience growing up as children of immigrant families. Together, they reflect on malls as sites of cultural tension and othering, but also suburban collectivity. The suburban experience of quietness and loneliness ultimately drove them to leave for the downtown city to forge a practice rooted in imagining collective futures.

    Part 2 
    Marsya and Petrina are then joined by independent curator and community organizer Anu Radha Verma. They unpack their shared personal connection to the suburban immigrant experience (in Scarborough, Mississauga, and North York) as a formative seed that influences their advocacy for collective work today. Together, they daydream about creating new language for diasporic identities, amplifying dialogue around care and decolonization, moving from a scarcity to abundance mentality, and re-imagining suburban malls as community hubs that disrupt the capitalist idea of what space is supposed to be. 
    Anu Radha Verma is a queer, diasporic sometimes-femme, a cis woman, a survivor and a mad person. She believes strongly in the brilliance that exists in the suburbs of Peel. Anu grew up in Mississauga, and has organized across the region. She likes to be identified primarily as an agitator or shit disturber. Anu Radha (or arv) organizes with QTBIPOC sauga, a grassroots gathering of queer and trans, Black, Indigenous and people of colour communities from across Peel. She hosts a weekly show focused on social justice issues in Peel and beyond on Newstalk Sauga 960 AM. Anu is an independent curator, a community-based consultant, and most recently a research manager. She is still figuring out what it means to have hobbies, and dreams about deep and true rest, for those she loves (and hopefully for herself). 

    • 1 hr 4 min
    Aljumaine Gayle & Car Martin: Quayside Futures

    Aljumaine Gayle & Car Martin: Quayside Futures

    Part 1 
     “The Traust Governance Group does not prioritize corporate greed or support the state agenda to surveil and track individuals. We believe that trust is significantly more important than surveillance.” 
    Welcome to QPL Arcology, an audio worlding experience created by Aljumaine Gayle and Car Martin.  A mash-up of architecture and ecology, arcologies exist in the worlds of speculative fiction. In this particular speculative narrative, a tree at the base of Parliament Street takes you on a journey into a possible future for the Portlands. Recently conceived as the home for a new model “smart city”, QPL Arcology imagines the neighborhood rooted in data justice, interspecies collaboration, and trust-based governance.  
    Aljumaine Gayle is a queer interdisciplinary creative technologist working at the intersections of technology, art, design, and data justice. They are currently enrolled in OCADU’s Digital Futures program and actively co-organizes/ co-designs programming on behalf of IntersectTO. Aljumaine is also a researcher with the University of Toronto’s Technoscience Research Unit. Their art and research practice explores othering of Blackness in contemporary life, and aims to subvert this othering through Afrofuturism and the artistic use of technology. Their practice challenges the tokenism and trauma narratives that characterize the majority of mainstream Black art, film and music.  @Aljumaine 
    Car Martin is an architect, artist, and facilitator who has recently launched Cyan Station, an architecture studio that focuses on using technology and user-centered principles towards a vision of collectivism, care, and environmental justice. Car is a professor at the George Brown School of Design, where they teach interaction and experience design (UI/UX) at the Waterfront campus, a stone’s throw from the proposed Quayside development. In 2020, Car led a series of student projects exploring smart city technologies from a critical perspective, including prototypes for anti-surveillance fashion and design interventions. Car also recently contributed to a book on the same topic, “Smart Cities in Canada: Digital Dreams, Corporate Designs”, based on research about marginalized communities fighting surveillance in beautiful and creative ways. 
     
    Part 2 
    In the second half of the episode, Aljumaine and Car unpack their speculative utopia and its neighbourhoods. Ideas around power, collective care, and the need for speculative and critical design rise to the surface. How can we learn from natural intelligence and make better technological tools for collaboration and cooperation? How can data be decentralized, transparent, and transmuted into public art? And how can we educate citizens on how their data is used, to return power to the people, and better inform our communities? 

    • 55 min
    Javid Jah: Sacred Futures

    Javid Jah: Sacred Futures

    Part 1 
    “The sacred can take on plastic forms, it can take on compositions of colours, textures. It can be brought into the physical world and remind us of its spiritual origin.”  
    Artist and designer Javid Jah guides us through his sacred spaces in the city – from quiet moments alone on the subway platform; to the synesthetic bustle of Kensington Market; and to the Madinah Masjid, where he reflects on the sacred geometry embedded within Islamic architecture, which connects our humanity to cosmic intelligence.  
    Javid Jah is inspired by the notion that we can experience a shared underlying reality that is hidden from our rational comprehension of the material world. His practice attempts to manifest glimpses of this alternative reality through art installations that challenge how images are produced and perceived. His work is rooted in the tradition of Sufism – the mystical lens of Islam that honours a metaphysical relationship between human and the cosmos. Javid believes that geometry is a sacred language because it has the ability to speak to any individual, regardless of race, gender, age or origin. @javid_jah / javidjah.com 
    Part 2 
    Javid is joined by Rev. Michelle Singh, an interfaith Minister and the Executive Director of Faith & the Common Good. The pair delve deeper into questions of sacred space and city-building – how do we determine collective definitions of the sacred, beyond our limited language? What are our priorities around fostering sacred public spaces in the city that acknowledge diverse, ancient traditions? And what is the recipe for cultivating sacred spaces that bridge the physical and the digital, in a post-pandemic world?  
    Faith & the Common Good is a national, interfaith charitable network dedicated to building more resilient and sustainable Canadian communities.  Rev. Michelle Singh has been actively engaged in Canada’s interfaith movement for over 12 years, vice-chairing the award-winning World Interfaith Harmony Week Steering Committee and co-founding a multi-faith Spiritual Dialogue Circle. She was a Board member and Steering Committee Co-Chair for the 2018 Parliament of the World’s Religions — overseeing the world's largest interfaith gathering, featuring over 1000 diverse spiritual programs. She is an officiant, well known for intuitive listening and her ability to create safe and sacred spaces for processing and dialogue. 
    Throughout the episode you will hear music created by Chris Ak and Rashid McDowell-McCallum, with vocals by A l l i e, which aligns harmonics of planetary orbits with the chakra energetic system, to sonically represent the planets taking the form of the platonic solids, once believed to be the building blocks of our universe. 
     

    • 49 min
    Midnight Wolverine: Indigiqueer Futures

    Midnight Wolverine: Indigiqueer Futures

    Part 1 
    “My queer identity is not a linear spectrum, it’s a whole spectrum. It allows movement, and there’s space within that circle to exist, and breathe, and shift.” 
    Indigenous Queer performer and poet Midnight Wolverine guides us through Humber River, Yonge-Dundas Square, and Glad Day Bookshop to envision futures connected to the history of the land, ceremony, and queerness, in a city that sits in tension with their Indigeneity.  
    Midnight Wolverine is Tkaronto's late night tease, trickster and shapeshifter. Originally from Treaty 8 territory in the Northwest Territories, they are a Dene/Métis Indigiqueer drag and burlesque performer, writer, artist, creator, and storyteller working to decolonize performance spaces, challenge common Indigenous and gender narratives, and create much needed two-spirit representation. They have politicized and sexified stages nationally, including the Fierce Queer International Burlesque Festival, Bagel Burlesque Expo Montreal, Asinabka Festival, Pride Toronto, and Pride Yukon. They have also been featured on CBC Gem’s Canada's A Drag Season 3 and CBC’s q with Tom Power. @midnight.wolverine 
     
    Part 2 
    Midnight Wolverine is joined by Indigenous architect Matthew Hickey. The conversation flows naturally between queerness and Indigeneity, as they go deeper into the role of Indigenous place-keeping for urban futures, carving pockets of belonging and the act of “building” into their practices, reconnecting with nature, and even co-designing their dream Indigiqueer space in the city.  
    Matthew Hickey is Mohawk from the Six Nations of the Grand River Reserve. He has been practicing architecture at Two Row Architect for 14 years, and currently oversees design and development for the firm, which focuses on guiding the realignment of mainstream ways of thinking towards Indigenous ways of knowing and being in design and architecture. 
    Matthew’s focus for sustainability is on regenerative and restorative design – encompassing ecological, cultural, and economic principles. His work pushes the concepts of Universal Inclusivity through integrated landscapes, food equity, the importance of water and place-keeping for all species, including humans. His research includes Indigenous history in architecture of Northern & Middle America, and the realignment of western ideology towards historic sustainable technologies for the contemporary North American climate.  

    • 1 hr 2 min

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