Environmental anthropologist Kirsten Hastrup writes that the course of water and human life constitute one another fundamentally, manifesting the reality of what she dubs a waterworld; a singular relationship between people and the waters sustaining them. Created during the September 2019 Once Upon Water residency at Artscape Gibraltar Point on the Toronto Islands, Crush of the World explores the simultaneous romanticism and destruction that humanity and Lake Ontario shape the Toronto Islands with. Immersed in the hum of public recreation across the islands, I sought new permutations of humanity and aquatic landscape articulated in the technical expertise of park staff, the stewardship of island residents and the perpetual chaos of seasonal flooding. The rising and warming waters of Lake Ontario spurred by climate change and the metropolitan recreational economy of Toronto reproduce the islands, worlding–in Hasptrup’s sense– a singular existence today on the edge of Canada’s largest city.

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