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Catching Stones and Throwing Hammers: The Woodlands Demolition

2016, stereo, colour, HD video, animation, found and original footage
4'21 (excerpt)


Catching Hammers, Throwing Stones maps the exterior of Woodlands, a now defunct institution for the intellectually disabled, using changes wrought to the building’s façade since the mid-19th century, to explore the institutional borders of exclusion.


After over a century of operating Woodlands closed in 1996, and debates arose about what to do with the physical remains of the building. The city of New Westminster proposed to preserve the edifice as an architectural heritage site, but former residents petitioned to demolish the building, as a way of exorcising the painful heritage that it symbolized. They succeeded, and the structure was demolished in an unprecedented ceremony in 2011. Even the rubble from the building, which would typically be repurposed into city infrastructure was also petitioned to be destroyed. 


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