Commissions and Presentations
As the author and photographer behind the work presented on this website, I have been asked to make a variety of presentations and prepared commissions over the last few years. I have also been a participant and contributor to community planning efforts and charettes. It is a pleasure to get the chance to talk about this work, and to explore aspects of urban landscape, water management, and engineering that I otherwise wouldn't get the chance to think about or work on in detail.
I have appeared as a guest speaker, lecturer, critic and thesis reader. I am a Masters student in Landscape Architecture, and have previous graduate studies in Geography. I can speak to a variety of topics related to urban and underground infrastructure, 'lost' creeks, sewers, watersheds and built and designed landscapes. I have also presented on the historical and contemporary landscape and architecture of electrical power generation, both at Niagara Falls and elsewhere in Southern Ontario. This work, and the insights that I can offer with it, can interest and benefit public works departments, conservation authorities, and design teams working on these issues, and I would be interested to explore opportunities for collaboration. Presentations on this material have also been of great interest to courses and programs in architecture, planning, geography, urban and environmental studies, history and civil engineering, and, as well as to construction trade associations, museums and local historical societies.
I am also available to produce original, commissioned photography of underground infrastructure, infrastructural/industrial landscapes, and demolition sites for commercial, educational or heritage purposes. Such photography would be valuable and provide a unique visual accompaniment to the reports, presentations and educational activities of municipal and private infrastructure operators and consultants and of commercial operators and engineering contractors, and can be a vital component of architectural and heritage studies of industrial properties and landscapes. I have previously prepared photography of mine workings, construction and demolition sites, surface infrastructure and industrial facilities that is not currently published on this website.
Please michael [at] vanishingpoint [dot] ca (contact me by e-mail) if you have any questions or inquiries. I would also be happy to consider work and research outside of the areas noted above.
2009. Photography of sites and infrastructure operated by City of Hamilton Water and Wastewater. Commissioned by the Hamilton Museum of Steam and Technology.
2007. Presentation Boards for "Niagara Falls Power Generating Stations" conference (April 22-23, 2007). Commissioned by ICOMOS Ontario.
Past Lectures, Presentations and Reviews
2012. Guest Lecturer. "Excavations in the Nature of Toronto." INI 102 Creative Writing and the City. University of Toronto Innis College.
2012. Guest Presenter. "Water Flows Downtown: Finding water around 200 University Avenue." Doors Open Toronto at Cannon Design.
2011, 2012. External Thesis Reader. University of Waterloo School of Architecture.
2011. Guest Lecturer. "Excavating the Past and Present of Wastewater Infrastructure in Toronto." CHL5413H Public Health Sanitation. University of Toronto Dalla Lana School of Public Health.
2010. Guest Lecturer and Critic. "Obscure Infrastructure: Latent tunnels, buried streams, and the origins of today's park-machines." ARC 393 Option Studio: Architectural Instincts and Imagination. University of Waterloo School of Architecture.
2010. Guest Lecturer. "Confluence and Cataract: Exploring the past and present of power generation at Niagara Falls." ARC 1012Y: Site, Building, Tectonics. University of Toronto Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design.
2009. Guest Lecturer and Critic. "Notes from the Underground: A first-hand introduction to sewer systems as physical and social spaces." ARC 393 Option Studio: Architectural Instincts and Imagination. University of Waterloo School of Architecture.
2008. Lecturer. "Hidden Architectures: Underground infrastructure in the contemporary city." Arriscraft Lecture Series. University of Waterloo School of Architecture.
2008. Guest Lecturer. "Water Underground." ARC2013Y: Culture and the Metropolis. University of Toronto Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design.
2010, with Andrew Emond. Elevator Alley: The working landscape of Buffalo's First Ward (Furnace Press).
2009. "In the Tunnels of the Ontario Generating Station." in John Knechtel (ed.) Water (Alphabet City #14) (MIT Press).
2009, 2007. Photographs and interview, in Geoff Manaugh. The BLDGBLOG Book (Chronicle Books) and at bldgblog.blogspot.com.
2008. "Water Underground: Exploring Toronto's sewers and drains." in Wayne Reeves and Christina Palassio (eds.) HTO: Toronto's Water from Lake Iroquois to Lost Rivers to Low-Flow Toilets (Coach House Books).
Photographs by Michael Cook have also been printed in Domus Magazine, The Toronto Star, Hamilton Spectator, Canadian Business, Daily Commercial News and New Centennial Review.
2011. As part of "The Fuel of Life: Energy in the 21st Century." Touring exhibit presented by PhotoSensitive and the Ontario Sustainable Energy Association. Exhibited at Brookfield Place, Toronto, November-December 2011.
2010-2011. As part of "TRASHFOODFUELWATERAIR." Presented by Circuit Gallery and Alphabet City. Toronto Free Gallery.
2009-2010. As part of "Water is Life: Keeping Hamilton Alive for 150 Years." Hamilton Museum of Steam and Technology. Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.
2008. "Water Underground." Presented by Human River and Coach House Books. Blue Barracks, Fort York. Toronto, Ontario, Canada. *
(* denotes solo show)
Michael Cook is available to speak to your organization about infrastructure history, lost creeks, current conditions, and opportunities for change in our management of and communication about urban watersheds, and to work with teams proposing or implementing such change. Get in touch.