“I remember shopping here as a child. I remember the cheesy commercials and the corny Christmas jingles. And now I’ll never forget the song she sang and the dance we danced on this day.” – jerm IX
Peterborough-based artist jerm IX , describes himself as a street artist, lyricist, poet, photographer and urban explorer. The photographs featured in this exhibition were originally posted on his blog series entitled Abandonment Issues—where he documents his urban explorations through photography and poetry. Urban explorers is a term used to describe an online community who explores abandoned buildings and inaccessible areas. On urbanexplorers.net, the movement is described as: “The pure enjoyment of exploring places that most people won’t go. The experience of maneuvering mazes and obstacles of days gone by. The adrenaline rush of the unexpected.” As both an urban explorer and street/graffiti artist, jerm IX treads carefully in the middle. These two identities are not compatible or related, as urban explorers are not interested in tagging their locations. He says he feels a personal connection with the locations he chooses—a part of their history—and writes about the experience of the place as almost a living, breathing entity. His blog postings don’t just consist of photographs documenting his experiences, but also written word about his interaction with the place.
In this case, jerm IX explores the vacant building that was once home to the supermarket chain Knob Hill Farms, which operated at the Front Street and First Avenue Oshawa location from 1983-2001. The original sections of the building date back to 1872, when it was the Ontario Malleable Iron Company, an iron foundry that was in operation until 1977. The foundry was established by brothers John and William Cowan, and employed anywhere from 350-800 people a year. Not only does jerm IX explore the modern additions built for Knob Hill, but the interior of the original iron foundry. The exhibition begins with a selection of Thomas Bouckley Collection images to give historical context to jerm IX ’s photographs, but the focus is on a rare glimpse of the interior of this large, vacant, structure. jerm IX ’s romantic interaction and the resulting photographs are an homage to the history this building holds for the community.