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TENT: Life-Like Living

July 12 - July 29, 2018

Sean Martindale

In 2010, Sean Martindale demonstrated how tents could be made using advertising materials reclaimed from the urban environment. After cutting down large, illegally installed condo ads, he turned the vinyl material into temporary shelters left in a variety of locations around downtown Toronto. Continuing to play with the tropes of condo marketing, Martindale put his own TENT: Life-Like Living graphics over a collection of condo sandwich boards and created a fake campaign to treat the tents as if they were condos themselves.

In years since Martindale originally launched this project, housing in Toronto has unfortunately only become more unaffordable and is in a state of growing crisis. Inane lifestyle marketing and exploitation of artists, and the caché they and their creative communities bring, have at times reached absurd and farcical extremes. While many developers continue to use illegal public advertising as part of their marketing strategies, this behaviour has at least decreased in prominence. Martindale continues to create works that engage in issues related to housing, homelessness, the environment, public advertising and the politics of public space.


Sean Martindale is Harbourfront Centre’s inaugural Visual Artist-in-Residence in association with BRAVE: the Festival of Risk and Failure . Often using salvaged materials in his work, his acclaimed interdisciplinary practice is closely connected to the politics of public space. His interventions activate public spaces to encourage engagement, and often focus on ecological and social issues. Martindale’s playful works suggest alternate possibilities for existing spaces, infrastructures and materials found in urban environments.

Look out for more of Martindale’s projects, both old and new, installed around the Harbourfront Centre’s campus this year.

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