What's Your Name?

The Republic at Yonge and Eglinton, North Toronto Collegiate Institute
70 Roehampton Ave, Toronto, ON Canada
Installation date November 1, 2011.

Commissioned by Tridel and the Toronto District School Board.
4.2 mhigh Stainless Steel Sculpture.

What’s Your Name? identifies NTCI students past and present by reproducing their proper names and handwritten signatures on the sculpture’s stainless steel surfaces. One sheaf shows all the first names of students who have attended the school since 1912, beginning at the top of the inner page. Each name is present only once, and at the moment it first appears in the school record. The chronological list includes new names through to 2010 with a total of 2053 different names. The names of the last students to occupy the original NTCI building appear at the bottom of the outer page. The second sheaf creates imprints of the students’ public and private identities by contrasting the names of those who attended the school over the past century with a selection of signatures from alumni and current students. “What’s Your Name?” is often the first question we ask someone, and by answering we announce ourselves to each other and to the world. During adolescence our relationship to proper names tends to change; a name is no longer something given but something made, crafted and personalized through the deliberate art of the signature. Schools, and particularly high schools, are where the proper name and the signature intersect.

Paper and print, which are the core tools of education, become dynamic sculptural forms on which an imprint of students’ public and private identities is inscribed.

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