Interurbanicity: A Valley of Ashes, Time Capsule Project

Troy Ouellette is digging through the ashes of time. Valley of Ashes: Time Capsule Project is the latest installation on view at Third Space Gallery from
May 8th – June 19th, 2009.
Using the Third Space window vitrine to house a sculptural time capsule and audio installation, Troy David Ouellette looks to evoke the future by mining the past. A Valley of Ashes deals with preservation and the idea of archiving industrial achievements of the 20th century.
Ouellette’s time capsule is modeled after one that was created for the 1939 World’s Fair in New York by Westinghouse Electric, designed to be opened in 5000 years. To prevent the time capsule from getting lost, Westinghouse distributed an archival book to thousands of libraries around the world entitled The Book of Record, which contained instructions on how to find the capsule, how to open it, even how to decipher the English of 1939 for an imagined human audience of the year 6939. The Book of Record becomes the dystopic twin to the utopic desire to preserve modernist ideals.
Ironically, the vessel of posterity was buried in a part of New York that was created from the City’s former dumping grounds. Known as the Corona Ash Dumps, it was popularized as “a valley of ashes” in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby.
Ouellette’s time capsule, both phallic and militaristic in shape, frames the digital remnants of a recording reclaimed while Ouellette was rummaging through a local recycling depot. The recording, “Musical Masterworks of the 20th Century,” becomes a marker for the inevitability of the defunct productions of the past, suggesting the disposability of culture itself through technological progression and fashionable production.
Ouellette received his MFA from the University of Windsor and a BFA from NSCAD. He currently resides in London, ON.

Valley of Ashes is presented as part of the Interurbanicity series for which Third Space received project funding from the Canada Council for the Arts. Third Space also receives annual funding support from the Province of New Brunswick Department of Wellness, Culture and Sport and support from the Telegraph Journal, Punch Productions and UNBSJ.
The only artist-run centre for contemporary art in Saint John, Third Space Gallery / Galerie Tiers-espace is an interdisciplinary exhibition, performance and production space committed to representing local, regional and national professional contemporary artists. This exhibit will be on display 24/7 at the Third Space Galley window at 40 Charlotte St.
For more information contact John Marshall, Third Space Gallery coordinator. Phone: 696-0862 e-mail: tiersespace (at)