As a public artist, Michael Cook prepares and exhibits images of underground infrastructure in oversized formats for public viewing. These installations reveal the underground world and crucial municipal engineering that the public never otherwise gets to see, and are mounted at a scale that allows the visitor to imagine themselves inside the tunnels and chambers on display.
Great Gulf Presents Utilities: A Special Public Installation
Doors Open Toronto, May 24-25, 2014.
Utilities was a special installation mounted for Toronto's annual Doors Open festival, a celebration that brings thousands of visitors into buildings and facilities not usually open to the public. Michael Cook was invited by festival staff and the title sponsor Great Gulf to prepare a ten image exhibit of utility systems beneath the city that the festival couldn't actually open to the public, showcasing Toronto's spectacular complement of 100-year-old brick sewers, newer wastewater infrastructure, district cooling and heating tunnels, and a new electrical transmission tunnel during its construction. The images were presented in a 4 ft x 6 ft oversized format and exhibited inside one of the festival's welcome centres.
Under this Ground: A Special Public Installation
Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival, May 1-31 2013.
A special installation for CONTACT, Toronto's internationally-recognized photography festival. Art for Commuters and Pattison OneStop mounted this exhibit of 27 oversized prints of Toronto's sewers and storm sewers in the city's St. Patrick Subway Station. The exhibit consisted of 22 prints, each 4 ft x 6 ft, mounted in the station's platform level, and 5 illuminated images mounted in existing light boxes in the station concourse, plus additional contextual images in the stairwells. The installation was seen by thousands of daily commuters and received substantial mention and promotion by visitors on twitter and other social media.
Water is Life: Keeping Hamilton Alive for 150 Years
Hamilton Museum of Steam and Technology, Oct. 2009 - Aug. 2010.
The Hamilton Museum of Steam and Technology, in conjunction with the City of Hamilton's Water and Wastewater Division, celebrated the 150th anniversary of the city's drinking water system with a year-long exhibition of the history and engineering of Hamilton's public water service. The visitor was taken on a journey through the establishment of a municipal waterworks, the financial struggle faced by families to secure access to clean water, the emergence of technologies based on reliable water, and the city’s development of a municipal water and wastewater division. Michael Cook was commissioned to prepare original photography of Hamilton's treatment plants, pumping stations and storm and overflow sewers for the museum's exhibition and its archives, with the photographs exhibited in conventional and oversized formats.