Edmonton artist wants to turn downtown skyline into giant slideshow

When Slavo Cech looks at the brick and mortar facades of Edmonton’s downtown high rises, he sees a blank canvas.

Artist Slavo Cech's idea is one of the finalists to the Edmonton Project

Edmonton artist Slavo Cech is trying to earn support for his #OneEdmonton idea, which would project photographs of city life onto the sides of buildings. (Brandon Erlinger-Ford)

When Slavo Cech looks at the brick and mortar facades of Edmonton's downtown highrises, he sees a blank canvas.

Cech would like to harness Edmonton's collective photographic talent, using images culled from local social media feeds to create a giant, projected slideshow.

His #OneEdmonton exhibit would project images of everyday life in Edmonton onto the side of buildings in the city centre.

"Being quite active on social media, I just see all these beautiful photos that people post under the #yeg hashtag," said Cech, a designer, metal artist and the owner of Metal Urges, a shop that specializes in hand-forged artwork. 

He also has some experience adding art displays to the exterior of buildings in Edmonton — Cech's imagination was responsible for the giant Christmas trees that light the side of the Telus building. 

"There are some really talented photographers here in the city," he said. "I just thought, how can we combine all of that together, and show everyday life?

"This could be community-sourced, community-generated, community-curated and just exhibited on a grand scale."​
An idea to build river valley saunas is one of 10 finalists chosen from hundreds of ideas pitched to the Edmonton Project. The winner will be chosen in March. (Emma Sanborn)
Cech pitched his concept to the Edmonton Project, a partnership between five companies that want to add a distinct landmark in the city.

The project aims to pick a winning idea for a new development in the city — and make sure it's built. Out of thousands of entries, 10 finalists, incuding #OneEdmonton, have been selected.

Online voting on the finalists is now open but ultimately, the winning entry will be picked by a panel of judges at a public hearing showdown that will take place on March 6.

Cech's idea is up against such imaginative pitches as building the world's largest treehouse in an Edmonton park, installing a gondola over the river, or constructing a steamy, outdoor sauna in the river valley.

'Breathe some life into it'

If chosen as the winner the project, the photographs used in Cech's projections would all be sourced from a community-cultivated library.

One of the projectors he's looking at usually retails for about $100,000. It would need to be directed at a building where the heat and glare from the lights won't be a nuisance. 

Cech said his project would be a perfect fit for Chancery Hall, located on the east side of Churchill Square.

"Chancery Hall is kind of a neglected building and this could breathe some life into it," said Cech.

"I think people would be really excited to see it."

CBC Radio show, Edmonton AM will be talking to each of the finalists and profiling the final project pitches over the next two weeks. Submit your vote in the Edmonton Project online.

Listen to Edmonton AM with host Mark Connolly, weekday mornings at CBC Radio One, 93.9 FM in Edmonton. Follow the morning crew on Twitter @EdmAMCBC.