Sited along the edge of downtown Dartmouth, Scratch Gallery is an art gallery for graffiti and projection art. It celebrates the industrial character of the city’s coast by recreating the condition of flatness and depth evident in the nearby trainyard, and by maintaining an existing rough concrete wall covered in thick vegetation (currently attached to the former City Hall).
The project responds to the adjacent King’s Wharf condo development that is just as likely to gentrify downtown Dartmouth as it is to help revitalize it. The outside of the gallery is a place for local street artists to legally hone their craft, and residents of King’s Wharf passing the gallery on their commute to the ferry terminal provide a large audience. Further, the active rail line passing through the site brings graffiti from across Canada on the sides of the train cars.
Digital projection offers groundbreaking experiential possibilities (e.g. the works of TeamLab), and it is a very accessible medium for the growing number of young artists comfortable with technology. The interior gallery was designed as a series of caves, attempting to capture a primal sense of descent into another world. Just as primitive cave art lit solely by torches created its own world, so too do the projectors, pulling visitors into the dreamworlds they afford.