Upcoming Events

Apr 26 2019 Symposium /

Home and Away Lecture Series: New Circadia Symposium

April 26 - 6:30 PM to April 27 - 2:00 PM

Principal Hall
1 Spadina Crescent



Carolus Linnaeus "Horologium Florae" (flower clock) 1751

This event is part of the Home and Away lecture series at the Daniels Faculty. The keynote lecture will be on Friday, April 26, 2019.

Circadian Rhythm

(L. circa, approximate and L. dies, day) is the natural biological process that recurs on a twenty-four hour cycle

Featuring keynote presentations from anthropologist Matthew Wolf-Meyer and scholar Matthew Spellberg, the New Circadia Symposium will explore the architectural implications of sleep science and culture, and the role of dreams, boredom, distraction, and utopias in shaping the spaces we imagine and make. The symposium will serve to position the forthcoming exhibition, New Circadia, to open in October 2019 as the first installation in the Daniels Faculty’s new Architecture and Design Gallery.

A play on the architecture of circadian rhythms, the New Circadia exhibition will create a cave-like retreat and experimental stage. To descend into a cave is to return to a lithic past, one that evokes the multiple narratives of hidden underworlds. Affiliated with ancient times, with the seat of oracles, magic, and curative powers, the cave also has a range of cultural as well as historical associations — as a place of sanctuary, seclusion, and ritual. The complement of the cave is the ancient Greek idea of Arcadia — the real but more often imagined setting associated with a pastoral paradise. Thus, New Circadia will offer a hybrid of sorts: a paradisiacal retreat in the pursuit of circadian reverie.

Keynote Presentation
Friday, April 26, 2019

Matthew Wolf-Meyer
Wolf-Meyer’s work focuses on how medicine, science and media in the U.S. make sense of major modern-era shifts in the expert practices of science, medicine and popular representations of health. His first book, “The Slumbering Masses,” offers insights into the complex lived realities of disorderly sleepers, the long history of sleep science and the global impacts of the exportation of American ideas of sleep. He is in the beginning stages of a project entitled “The Colony Within on the history and contemporary medicalization of digestion and excretion in the U.S.,” which aims to weave together diverse historical threads, such as the 19th century colonial management of indigenous populations, Kellogg’s studies of the colon, contemporary management of the personal microbiome and fecal microbial transplants.

Matthew Spellberg
Spellberg’s research is focused on dream-sharing, and the relationship between isolation and the imagination. Spellberg’s recent writing on this subject include “On Laughter and Dreaming in Pushkin.” Pushkin Review, 18, and “Proust in the Dreamtime.” Yale Review, 104, 2, and he is editing a forthcoming issue of Cabinet on “Dreams”. He is also a student of indigenous art and culture from the Pacific Northwest and taught for six years in New Jersey prisons with the Princeton University Prison Teaching Initiative. Spellberg is currently a resident in the Society of Fellows at Harvard University.

Saturday, April 27 


An informal workshop will explore the creation of the “cave” in the Daniels Gallery and related programming for the Fall 2020 exhibition with organizers and participants Natalie Fizer, Emily Stevenson, and Sutton Murray, co-founders of Pillow Culture, Daniels Faculty Assistant Professor of Visual Studies Mitchell Akiyama, and others to be announced.

Pillow Culture is a transdisciplinary studio dedicated to the development of innovative pillows using current material technologies relating to human comfort, beauty and well-being. In their ongoing collaborations with designers, scientists, and engineers, Pillow Culture investigates the research and development of new pillow prototypes that broaden everyday attitudes toward the pillow. To date, Pillow Culture has constructed, exhibited, and collaborated on pillows with artists and engineers that include: a set of giant upholstered boulders, a 20-foot day glow pink inflatable, an elaborate sex cushion for the post-menopausal woman, and a public soft bench for the City of Boston. Their recent pillow installation and affiliated events was held at the Aronson Gallery, New School University, entitled, TEST BED: a Modern Abaton. Foregrounding human sleep as a point of focus, Test Bed examined the passive slumbering body as a site for new spatial paradigms.

Natalie Fizer holds architecture degrees from Cooper Union and Princeton University. She is an assistant professor of architecture at Parsons the New School for Design. Her work and research has explored the production of both architectural and cultural artifacts that have resulted in the curation and design of various exhibitions including: Tailoring Form: a brief look at the history of the template, exhibited at the pinkcomma Gallery, Boston, traveling also to New York City and Toronto; Artificial Memory, an exhibit surveying the history of memory devices. Natalie is the recipient of two New York State Council on the Arts grants and a New York Foundation for the Arts grant.

Emily Stevenson trained as an architect at Barnard College and London’s Architectural Association. She has worked closely as a materials consultant to artists and the trade exploring possibilities of materials beyond their industrial standard. Emily has worked at the Guggenheim Museum for eight years in the Exhibitions Department where she also acted as the materials consultant for several exhibitions notably the Armani and Brazil shows. Emily’s architectural training evolved into a focus on new material technologies resulting in her position as the first Materials Curator of the Donghia Materials Library and Study Center at Parsons. She currently works with art advisory services and has her own design practice and materials consultancy in NYC.

Mitchell Akiyama is a Toronto-based scholar, composer, and artist. His eclectic body of work includes writings about plants, animals, cities, and sound art; scores for film and dance; and objects and installations that trouble received ideas about history, perception, and sensory experience. Akiyama’s output has appeared in commensurately miscellaneous sources such as Leonardo Music Journal, ISEA, Sonar Music Festival (Barcelona), Raster-Noton Records (Berlin), Gendai Gallery (Toronto), and in many other exhibitions, publications, and festivals. He holds a PhD in communications from McGill University, an MFA from Concordia University, and is currently an Assistant Professor of Visual Studies at the Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design at the University of Toronto.

***Please note: Refreshments will be served at these events. Seperate registrations/tickets are required for the Keynote and Workshop, so that we can track registrants for catering purposes.**