Black Digital Futures: Virtual Walking Tour & AR Launch with Quentin VerCetty


Photo left to right: Ken Lum, Quentin VerCetty, Dori Tunstall

Shaping the Past:
Black Digital Futures

Presented by Goethe-Institut Toronto
October 23 @ 6pm, online

Register for free on Eventbrite and join us on Facebook or Twitter @GoetheToronto.

Toronto multimedia artist Quentin VerCetty hosts a free digital AR walk and online engagement, reimagining Toronto’s monuments by foregrounding neglected Black biographies and exploring Black digital futures. VerCetty will share his walk around downtown Toronto, present biographical shorts of Black leaders, host a live conversation with artist-mentor Ken Lum and a Q&A with the audience. They will be joined by elder Ginelle Skerritt, whose work focuses on reclaiming African people’s connection to arts, culture, and spirituality for future generations, as well as Prof. Dori Tunstall on the theme of Black digital futures.

This event is part of the ongoing project Shaping the Past, a transnational exchange program bringing artists and activists together in dialogue to highlight ongoing critical memory interventions in sites and spaces in North America and Germany and designed by the Goethe-Institut and Philadelphia’s Monument Lab as well as the German Federal Agency for Civic Education.

The Goethe-Institut’s current international Monument Lab fellows include Quentin VerCetty Lindsay (Montreal/Toronto), an award-winning multidisciplinary visual griot, art educator, and artivist. In his latest project, VerCetty uses augmented reality, digital 3D-art and -printing to address Tania Inniss’ notion that “the absence of Black representation in art” is erasure, relating it to the City of Toronto as one of the few major cities without monuments of Black people. Intervening their nonappearance, the artist’s multi-layered process combining research, computer generated- and haptic-modelling aims to create digital imagery as well as sculptural works that ultimately embody within the city-scape Black Canadian community leaders —including Mathieu Da Costa, Lucie and Thornton Blackburn, and Jean Augustine. Quentin’s work intersects with the recent debates of the renaming of the so-called “Mohrenrondell” in Sanssouci Park in Potsdam, Germany, and the removal of confederate and colonial figures across the Black diaspora globally.

Quentin VerCetty honed his artistic vision as a participant of the Remix Project, a creative arts program for youth, after which he received his BFA from OCAD University. He is currently working on his MA from Concordia University, where he writes a thesis exploring Afrofuturism as a tool for art pedagogy.

Canadian artist and Monument Lab co-curator Prof. Ken Lum is VerCetty’s artistic mentor. Lum is a Vancouver-born visual artist (documenta 11) and the Chair of Fine Arts at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Design in Philadelphia. His memorial to the Canadian war effort in Italy during World War II is situated in front of Toronto City Hall.

Prof. Dori Tunstall, Dean of Design at OCADU, VerCetty’s alma mater, led the recent Black cluster hire at Canada’s largest arts academy, bringing on five new tenure-track faculty members who self-identify as Black peoples of African Descent. A design leader and anthropologist, Tunstall held the role of Associate Dean of Learning and Teaching in the Faculty of Design at Swinburne University of Technology in Australia. She earned a PhD in Anthropology from Stanford University.

Shaping the Past is produced in partnership with the Goethe-Institut, Monument Lab, and the Bundeszentrale fĂĽr politische Bildung (Federal Agency for Civic Education).


Program & Media Contact:
Jutta BrendemĂĽhl
Program Curator
Goethe-Institut Toronto