Tower of Progress, 2012, Photography by Gesilayefa Azorbo
Laurent Gagnon - Québec City, Canada
Tower of Progress, 2004-2012
106 - Scotia Plaza, South Forecourt
40 King Street West
[ selected photographs ] [ video ]
A monument to the present, Tower of Progress is a 16 foot obelisk composed of metal parts of discarded
machines. While the obelisk form itself is historically a symbol of victory and conquest, here it incorporates
elements of "failure" – constructed from the programmed obsolescence of technological
devices. An interior lighting system is used to illuminate the form and its composition, while an audio
track projects a hum of urban activity.
Gagnon's body of work integrates a variety of materials and practices, united by concerns for minutiae,
resilience, and the effects of time. Initiated in 2005, Tower of Progress is an ongoing project that
continues to evolve. Built with mechanical plates and parts retrieved from a variety of machines such
as sewing machines, typewriters, cash registers and other recuperated material, the structure connects
past and present, drawing on relics from other eras within an ever-evolving history.
Time is fundamental to the work, chronicled in its rusting patina and in the hieroglyphs welded to the
surface that recall the origins of the tower‘s component parts. The evolving material reality of
the construction also offers a deeper collective knowledge – the reminder of ongoing obsolescence
that challenges our ideas of progress itself
Artist Biography: Based in Quebec City, Laurent Gagnon received a Master‘s Degree in visual arts
from Université Laval. Select exhibitions include Phare intérieur, L‘OEil de poisson,
Québec in 2004, CAFKA 05 x industria, Kitchener, 2005 and Répertoire des chaos, GRAVE,
Victoriaville, in 2009. His work is featured in various public and private collections.