Sean Procyk: Lyfeboat prototype

Commissioned by the Blackwood, University of Toronto Mississauga

May 26–September 25, 2022
Lakefront Promenade Marina
135 Lakefront Promenade, Mississauga, ON

Design rendering for Lyfeboat prototype, 2022. Courtesy Sean Procyk.

Lyfeboat prototype is a new commission by artist, architect, and playground designer Sean Procyk that takes shape as a floating platform for experimentally propagating hardwood and softwood trees. In Lyfeboat prototype, tree cuttings are planted in a central growth area that floats in the waters of Lake Ontario, with a canopy structure overhead that evokes greenhouse architecture and traps solar heat.

Lyfeboat prototype begins with “lyfe,” a term drawn from astrobiology that expands the bounds of what is considered living in the search for life beyond Earth. In Procyk’s work, lyfe connotes the interdependence of living and non-living beings which, as examples in astrobiology show, often complicate or exceed their categories.

Procyk has been propagating tree species from seeds and root cuttings since fall 2021. Expanding on his interest in resource histories of southern Ontario—which have previously explored logging and farmhouse architecture—Procyk critically engages tree species that shaped colonial settlement and nation-building in the region. At the centre of Lyfeboat prototype, a planter with tree saplings alludes to the complex histories of natural, invasive, and naturalized species.

Informed by histories of land and water management surrounding the Lake, legacies of settler-colonialism, innovations by off-grid communities, and realities of ecological resilience and adaptation, Lyfeboat prototype serves as a sculptural intervention and a platform for community engagement with ecology. Throughout summer and fall 2022, the artwork and marina site will be animated by Nearshore Gatherings, a parallel program series.

Visiting Lyfeboat prototype

Lyfeboat prototype can be viewed from the shore at Lakefront Promenade Marina. Visitors will be welcomed to view and interact with the artwork when it is anchored at a nearby dock during four Nearshore Gatherings events during the summer and fall (June 12; July 9; September 17 and 24).

Nearshore Gatherings

Contributors: Miranda Black, Alan Colley, Sherry Fukuzawa, Brad Isaacs, Stephanie Keeler, Kandy Kennedy, Veronica King-Jamieson, Minoya Magendrathajan, Dana Prieto, Sean Procyk, Elder Garry Sault, Derek Stone, Amanda White, and more to be announced

Program Partners: Eagle Spirits of the Great Waters, Ecosource, The Riverwood Conservancy, Visual Arts Mississauga

Curated by Fraser McCallum

Alongside Lyfeboat prototype, Nearshore Gatherings is a series of outdoor public events hosted by the Blackwood and led by local artists, researchers, community organizers, knowledge-keepers, and educators of various backgrounds. Through walks, workshops, and discussions, the program engages the intersecting social, political, and ecological worlds that meet at Lake Ontario’s nearshore. Taking place along the lakefront and Credit River, these events highlight key issues animating urban waterbodies in Mississauga, and further afield: land defence, community-engaged research, watershed ecology, plant and animal life, and artistic interventions.

Walking the Nearshore
June 12, 12–2:30pm, Lakefront Promenade Marina

Land and Water Stewardship in Mississauga
July 9, 12–2:30pm, Lakefront Promenade Marina

Tree-planting in the Credit Watershed
July 17, 12–2:30pm, The Riverwood Conservancy
Registration forthcoming on Riverwood website

Collaborative and Community-engaged Research
Sept 17, 12–2:30pm, Lakefront Promenade Marina

Active Collaborations: Artistic Materials and Media
Sept 24, 12–2:30pm, Lakefront Promenade Marina

All events are free; please register on Eventbrite using the links above. Visit the Blackwood website for complete program details.


Located near Lakefront Promenade Park, Lakefront Promenade Marina (135 Lakefront Promenade, Mississauga, ON) is accessible via public transit, and has free parking nearby. The location has accessible public washrooms, boardwalks, and paved walkways, as well as seating and shaded areas.

Blackwood staff will be present during events to ensure safety, security, and adherence to COVID-19 regulations in accordance with local public health measures. Lyfeboat prototype is wheelchair accessible.

Lyfeboat prototype is presented in partnership with the City of Mississauga.

Nearshore Gatherings is presented in partnership with Lakeview Village.

The Blackwood gratefully acknowledges the additional support of Dock Edge, City of Mississauga Culture Division, Ontario Arts Council, the School of Cities at the University of Toronto, and UofT affinity partners: Manulife, MBNA, and TD Insurance.

The Blackwood
University of Toronto Mississauga
3359 Mississauga Rd.
Mississauga, ON L5L 1C6
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Image description: (1) A digitally rendered image features a dock that diagonally crosses a body of water; on it are people observing Lyfeboat protoype, an octagonal, floating platform with a canopy structure overhead and a circular planter with tree saplings at its centre. (2) White and blue text against a blue and green background that evokes a shoreline reads: “Nearshore Gatherings” at the centre, and “Five-part event series on environmental activism and stewardship” at the bottom.