A collaboration by Alison S. M. Kobayashi and Gintas Tirilis. 2009 Curated by Su-Ying Lee and Suzanne Carte-Blanchenot.


In the cold winter of 2008 Gintas Tirilis and Alison S. M. Kobayashi explored the Mississauga, Etobicoke suburbs desperately in search a warm place where they could smoke cigarettes. What the pair discovered was a strip of motels along Lakeshore Blvd, just on the edge of Toronto, abandoned.


Further exploration into these dilapidated structures became a nightly routine as they dared to gain greater access and eventually decided to remove some of the discarded vestiges for preservation. Motel is a collection that archives these salvaged objects and includes documentary photography, carefully-constructed dioramas, artist multiples, and a narrative video installation, all inspired by their “break and enter” experiences.


It is at once a faithful, if sometimes humorous, record of the illicit navigation and an attempt to deal with the disappearance of these largely family-run establishments. Motel does not claim to be a complete investigation or a particularly reliable document. It cannot help, however, but speak loudly to the decline of independent businesses, the deterioration of border towns, and to failed attempts to revitalize business zones. And while the beauty and strangeness of the ruin arouses nostalgia for a simpler time, the delinquent artist’s also have a sense of satire and play in their preservation. It’s a memorial, but it’s also the opening of an adventure.


Gintas Tirilis is a Mississauga based visual artist working in video, installation and sound. He graduated from the University of Toronto at Mississauga in 2008 and is studying early childhood education at Nippising University. His sound sculptures and video installations have been exhibited in the Young and Restless at Justina M. Barnicke Gallery (Toronto) and Lennox Contemporary (Toronto).