BLACKOUT TORONTO 2044

Guerrilla Futures Intervention


Staged as though set in the year 2044, Blackout Toronto is a guerrilla-style public intervention that asked people to imagine a future where cities around the world have begun to seek harmony with the natural world through the implementation of citizen-driven, city-wide electricity "blackouts". Instigated to lessen urban environmental impacts, reduce light pollution and decrease our reliance on dwindling resources, these global initiatives also serve to improve health and well-being through city-sponsored events that embrace the darkness.

In such a future, city-wide blackouts have created opportunities to celebrate the cosmos, and moments in time to slow our pace and restore intimacy and connection within communities. Through the intentional shut down of power systems to reduce energy usage, urbanites are able to experience what was previously impossible - the ability to view the un-altered beauty of the stars from the middle of the city. 

Where once we were kept in the dark by the light; now things come to light in the dark.

Photos: Umar Amanullah


Coinciding with the anniversary of the Northeast Blackout of 2003, this intervention saw a team of guerrilla marketers distribute "kits" to residents of Toronto as part of a promotion for the upcoming blackout festivities planned for August 2044. The kits included a map of city-wide events being held in Toronto (including rooftop stargazing events, a lantern festival of light, and candlelit symphony performances) blackout glasses imprinted with constellation patterns, branded candles and a portable candle holder.

By leaving passers-by with a take-home artifact from the future, our team hoped to initiate a longer-term contemplation of what preferred futures for the city of Toronto might entail, and how conservation efforts might be viewed not as a limitation, but as an opportunity to re-embrace our collective humanity.

Event Poster (click to enlarge):

BLACKOUT Toronto fold out pamphlet (front)

BLACKOUT Toronto fold out pamphlet (front)

BLACKOUT Toronto fold out pamphlet (back)

BLACKOUT Toronto fold out pamphlet (back)


Completed: 2015

Team: Umar Amanullah  |  Laura Dempsey |  Dushan Milic  |  Amy Satterthwaite