Art galleries will never be the same again. The days of viewing a still life have passed. We want to get into the frame, become the art and the artist. Refinery 29: 29 Rooms gives us 29 opportunities.
Here artists set the stage and create the framework for their vision into which we immersive ourselves as the artist intended, and to bring the installation to life.
We enter the vast space, a veritable market of activity, and head to the Teen Bedroom by Uzumaki Cepeda. It’s a time warp back to the 90s. Bright colour, warm and cozy, we put on housecoats, recline on a pillow and play a Nintendo car race.
Crashing out we head to The Values Stand that proffers current issues rather than snacks and sodas. Under a mirror ball we dance in the disco and let loose to Stevie Wonder’s Superstition.
“What Can Milk Do?” We’re asked, as we step inside a pure white tilted carton that sets us off balance until we open a giant fridge that reveals an oasis of cookies beneath a waterfall of milk. We climb a staircase to “Follow Your Dreams” and don sequin gowns in the Cover Girl room to follow our aesthetics. It’s a heaven for selfies.
Time to get fit. Flip It Fitness, in partnership with Reebok, ask us to celebrate the game changer within us by joining a mini-step class. Phew! What a work out. Our reward? A pair of Reebok socks.
Having worked up an appetite, it’s time for the Stella Artois Sensorium: Deja Food. Chef Connie DeSousa of CHARCUT Roast House in Calgary has created a menu as brilliant as it is fun. Each vignette offers a twist on a classic, all paired perfectly with a refreshing chalice of Stella Artois beer!
A Vending Machine that looks like a prop in a play requires us to insert our ticket while behind “the machine” a chef’s hands create bites of Crème Brulee and Raclette on a baguette a la minute. A Village Market offers treats that look like one thing, but taste and remind us of something totally different.
Markets and memories are encapsulated in macarons. There’s the Bagel & Lox Macaron with capers, lemon and chèvre, the Parmesan Macaron of whipped lardo and prosciutto, and the Planted Macaron of saffron, carrot and herb bean hummus. All the notes, from salty to savoury, sweet to herbaceous marry swimmingly to the versatility of Stella Artois.
Check out our Cultural Getaway to Stratford.
Lastly, the Drive Through—a typical kiosk selling a burger and fries. But wait! That’s no ordinary burger and fries. It’s like we’re on the other side of a mirror and everything has flipped.
The fries are actually Piggy Sticks of pork jerky strips spiced with fennel, orange, garlic and black pepper (a Charcut classic), and the Euro Burger is a plant-based ‘beef’ tartare of crunchy garden vegetables, spicy pickled carrots, whipped chickpea spread, on a roasted beet brioche bun. The clever novelty alone begs for an order and another Stella Artois.
What kind of art gallery is this? An Imaginarium? A Sensorium? I love it. My mind and my palate have been expanded, and there is no going back. Refinery 29’s next stop is New York.
Cheers to Stella Artois for elevating both the art of the beer and the beer in the art.
Adam Waxman is an award winning travel journalist focusing on food, wine and well being. As well as an actor in film, television and formerly, the Stratford Festival, he is the Associate Publisher and Executive Editor of DINE and Destinations magazine.