It’s really the last place you’d look for art: Behind barbed wire, on the back corner of an abandoned industrial lot, tucked in behind a big pile of dirt and gravel sprouting scrappy clumps of grass. In the movies, this would be the place to dump a body. In Vancouver, this generic strip of halfpaved wasteland next to the Olympic Village has become a piece of interactive public art.
When independent curator Patrik Andersson invited T&T to create a sustainability-themed exhibition for the Pendulum Gallery during the Winter Olympics, he made this request: “Think about what happens when the Olympic countdown clock goes below zero.” Tony Romano of Toronto and Tyler Brett of Bruno, Saskatchewan—who often make art together under the sobriquet T&T—responded with a cheery, postapocalyptic vision of Vancouver called False Creek. Specifically, their installation is a kind of after-the-gold-rush imagining of the area.
ears ago, I went on a James Joyce tear. I started with Dubliners, worked my way through Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man and then Ulysses. The last challenge was Finnegans Wake. Full of puns, verbal wordplay and made-up words, Joyce’s last book has a reputation as a notoriously difficult book to read.Undaunted, I read on. Or, at least, I tried. Again and again, after a few pages, I was completely lost, unable to figure out what I’d just read.
If you’re crossing Vancouver’s Burrard Bridge and glance at the electronic billboard that rises at its Kitsilano end, you may notice something different. Amidst the Guinness and Jack FM ads will flash the occasional message on a red background. Some of them will seem to be about native issues
Interspersed with ads for Air Canada, Starbucks, cars and wine on the controversial electronic billboards adjacent to the Burrard Bridge, new messages are provoking thought in a different way.
It may not have been the nadir of my dimness, but it was certainly the most twitlike thing I did last weekend. Believing the end time was the start time, I arrived at the Grow project’s mason-bee workshop three hours late, just after the participants had left. Still, the enthusiasm of artist Holly Schmidt and landscape architecture student Chloe Bennett shone on undiminished. Standing in the middle of what’s been dubbed the “Bulkhead Urban Agriculture Lab”, a public-art project on the south shore of False Creek, just west of the Olympic Village, they generously shared their knowledge and insights.
A cold wind blows off the grey waters of Vancouver’s False Creek. On a grassy promontory, just west of the Olympic Village and north of the former city works yard, a garden is being dismantled. Large planters, fashioned out of repurposed shipping bags and perched on second-hand wooden pallets, have yielded up their summer bounty of herbs, berries, grains, vegetables and edible flowers. Workshops have been given, walks have been conducted and seeds have been exchanged. More importantly, the garden has sown a large crop of community interest and environmental involvement.
Kathleen Ritter, October 5, 2011 Francisco Camacho, October 11, 2011 Samuel Roy-Bois: Interlocutor, November 8, 2011 Claire Doherty in conversation with Lorna Brown (coming soon as a Podcast) Over the last four decades, artists have re-imagined their relationship to public space. Moving from civic squares and lofty edifices, public art has expanded beyond a relationship […]