Photography: Scott Norsworthy

Inside the University of Toronto’s Daniels Building is a ‘soft utopia’ of sensory caves, designed as an antidote to long hours of screentime.

New Circadia (adventures in mental spelunking) is the inaugural installation at the new Architecture and Design Gallery – an experimental 7,500 sqft exhibition space that forms part of the Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design.

New Circadia (adventures in mental spelunking) is the inaugural installation at the new Architecture and Design Gallery – Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Design and Landscaping
Photography: Harry Choi

The interactive intervention is curated by Daniels Faculty Dean Richard Sommer, and New York practice Pillow Culture, and transforms the gallery into a series of cave-like spaces where visitors can unplug from the digital world and relax into ‘states of repose and reverie’.

New Circadia unfolds across three zones, beginning with a subterranean ‘cave mouth’. Visitors don ‘spelunking gear’ before passing into the belly of the cave – a dark space strewn with soft, rock-like formations.

New Circadia (adventures in mental spelunking) is the inaugural installation at the new Architecture and Design Gallery – Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Design and Landscaping
Photography: Scott Norsworthy

Co-curators Natalie Fizer and Emily Stevenson explain: ‘We have transformed the new Architecture and Design Gallery into a soft utopia to conjure a greater sense of geological, mythical, mechanical, and biological time, and to explore how we might nurture a more sustained interior life by incubating dream-like states of rest, reflection, and reverie.’

The immersive installation is inspired by the 1938 Mammoth Cave Experiment – the first staging of a scientific research laboratory for studying human sleep cycles – and runs alongside affiliated events until April 30, 2020.

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