The term ‘Greylands’ is used within urban planning circles to define tracts of land that have been utilised and disposed of by industry and are consequently undergoing ‘redevelopment’ or ‘rehabilitation.’

In 1998 KIT are commissioned by ‘Artengine’ in Ottawa, Canada to develop a project which advances the ideas of the ‘KIT Homes’ project done in the UK in 1997. The project presented is to be called ‘Toxic Homes’ which after much wrangling through lawyers is censored under threat of legal action by the Canadian Government (for it is they who own the LeBretton Flats, the land that we rented to do the Greylands project on). According to health and safety regulations, this land is unsafe to build on and remains vacant until the City Council or prospective industrial inhabitants pay for it to be 'rehabilitated'. The Lebreton Flats have lain dormant for over 20 years.

In 1999, KIT, aided by the commissioning body ‘Artengine’, set themselves up on the Internet and on the site of the LeBretton Flats as a housing development company called ‘Borderline Developments’. Company merchandise such as mousepads, pens, keychains, T-shirts and mugs are produced, as are billboards and on-site porta-cabins. The aim of the company is to design structures; architectures that could be built in polluted sites around the world’s cities via on-line / on-site projects.

The Internet site (which used to reside at and which can now be found on the ‘Project Micro Site’ of the Greylands project section) invites people to design and draw blueprints for buildings that would not only inhabit a polluted landscape but also utilise the grounded toxins. The submitted plans are subsequently drawn out real time and real size by the mobot which is hooked up to the website - via GPS (Global Positioning System) onto the condemned site in Ottawa. Designed to resemble a sit down lawn mower, the Greylands Mobot (mobile robot) is sent to scout and plot the threatening lands ahead. The potential inhabitants meanwhile sit back, body safe from harm, viewing the ensuing actions from a distance through a video camera mounted on the front of the would-be mower. The use of the Mobot refers to the remote dreams of a culture that desires action from a distance, a terraform voyeurism that follows the ideological track marks of the Mars Buggy. The Mobot lays 3-inch lime lines (akin to pitch markers for sports fields) on Lebretton Flats, using the metaphor of pollution, the ultimate by-product of capitalism, as an economy in its own right.

By building a web based and 'concrete' community where toxicity is a sign of social standing and stature, Greylands positions itself as a black humoured commentary on the use of vacant urban space, production of social space in virtual and concrete worlds and the politics of urban planning.

Greylands exhibits at the following sites –

2002   Tlalnepantla (Mexico City, Mexico)
1999   LeBretton Flats (Ottawa, Canada)