The exhibition Post-Industrial Ephemera: Soundings, Gestures and Poetics took place in 2017 at Silo-City, Buffalo, NY as a joint project funded by the Agreement for Scholarly Exchange and Collaboration between the State University of New York at Buffalo and Brock University, St. Catharines, Ontario.

Owned by businessman Rick Smith, “in the middle of what is likely the world’s greatest concentration of concrete grain elevators (only a few still in use), what architecture critic and scholar Reyner Banham famously called a ‘Concrete Atlantis’, Silo City is an experiment in historic preservation that potentially offers a new approach toward conserving and programming messy, post-industrial complexes and landscapes in weak market areas of North American cities” (Campo 316). Stuart Reid, then Director and Curator of the Rodman Hall Art Centre, St. Catharines facilitated the first contacts between both universities and Jim Watkins, property manager and passionate resident of Silo City, welcomed us warmly.

For the opening of Post-Industrial Ephemera: Soundings, Gestures and Poetics on 22 April 2017, visitors and artists were invited to walk across Silo City and explore the silos in order to enjoy a program of performances and artworks on view.

On 23 September 2017, some of the artists met again for a symposium at the Rodman Hall Art Centre, Brock University during which they could reflect on their participation to the project at Silo-City on the other side of the border. The present book forms the conclusion of over two years of work involving artists from diverse backgrounds.

This exhibition catalogue published in 2018 aims to provide a brief overview of the experience we shared.

Campo, Daniel. “Historic Preservation in an Economic Void: Reviving Buffalo’s Concrete Atlantis.” Journal of Planning History 15.4 (2016): 314-345.

Buffalo, US and St. Catharines, Canada are neighboring cities separated by a river and a border, but they also nurture a strong sense of regional togetherness and cultural kinship. Colleagues in Sculpture, Arts, Comparative Literature, English Studies, Visual Arts, Studies in Arts and Culture, and French Studies at SUNY on the US side and Brock University on the Canadian side shared a common space at Silo-City, Buffalo between 22 and 29 April 2017. Coming from different places and practices, we wish to foster interdisciplinarity.

The Agreement for Scholarly Exchange and Collaboration between the State University of New York at Buffalo and Brock University, St. Catharines, Ontario provides that the “two leading institutions of higher learning that straddle the border along the Niagara frontier […] encourage academic scholarship and research on various aspects of the Canadian-American relationship. For both our institutions, this international partnership is also a local one, as both institutions conceive of their local community as binational.” The Dean’s Office in the Faculty of Humanities at Brock University contributed additional funds.

We extend our sincere thanks to all contributors to the project – artists, experts, staff at Silo City and Rodman Hall, the Office of the Vice-President for Research as well as the Dean’s Office in the Humanities at Brock University, everyone at Silo City and at Rodman Hall, with special thanks to Derek Knight, Lauren Regier, Shawn Serfas, David Vivian, Cody Shriever, Leslie Boldt, and the Harmonia Chamber Singers.

Our thanks and gratitude go to Jim Watkins for his extraordinary kindness and his enthusiastic help.

Post-Industrial Ephemera: Soundings, Gestures and Poetics (Silo-City, Buffalo, NY). St Catharines: Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts / Brock University, 2018.