John McDowell creates original live score for Toronto Art Installation

The River Peace is large-scale public participatory art installation by Thomas + Guinevere with the collaboration of composer John McDowell and presented by The Historic Distillery District in partnership with Scotiabank Nuit Blanche 2010 and Le Labo. Saturday, October 2nd, 6:57pm to Sunrise.

The music, composed and directed by John McDowell, will be based on the principals of Indian Raga. Using this as a basis, but adapting to Western genres, musicians will collaborate on the workings and nuances of particular themes, memorize several brief segments and phrases and collaborate on their playing.

Inspired by Mahatma Gandhi’s concept and scope of Satyagraha, or non-violent resistance, The River Peace is a mass participatory sculptural movement and sound performance installation; a giant metaphoric river where the content is not water, but a mass human meditation and expression of peace.

It will take the form of a 1,500-foot long luminescent sculpture, stretching around and through the historic laneways in Toronto’s Distillery Historic District, which you are invited to help carry and move as a meditative expression while musicians and dancers create a mass orchestral and choreographic illusion of a river in constant flow – with everyone’s cell phones providing the installation’s luminosity.

The sculpture is made-up of 150 – 12ft light-weight telescopic poles/masts. Mallory Industries who make the poles, were also kind enough to cut and provide a longer 30″ version of a yard which will be attached to the top of the pole and to which will be secured (grommeted) the 1500 ft length of bubble-wrap through which the light from the public’s cell-phones will shine.

As the sculpture moves through The Distillery, an aerial perspective of The River Peace will be captured on video and projected onto the walls of Mill Street Rack House (a collaboration with Luminad and Rattail Films.)

(If you have a QR (Quick Response) reader installed on your phone, you can turn it into colour-shifting lighting instrument. A PDF menu of QR Codes will be available for download at starting September 30, so you can practice. The QR menu colour sequences will also be passed out on Nuit Blanche as well. But if if you can’t scan the codes, simple cell phone light is totally accepted.)

To see more details on how to participate or volunteer, please visit or  email