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.
Folke Köbberling and Martin Kaltwasser’s The Games are Open presently takes the form of an oversized bulldozer that sits on the west side of Vancouver’s Southeast False Creek’s Olympic Village. A gargantuan mock-up of the very machine that was recently used to raze the surface upon which it sits, the object appears to be permanent, dominating and perhaps even obtuse. Appearances, in this case, can be misleading. Rather than a static example of ‘plop art’, this colossal model performs a dialectical dance between notions of legacy and the forces of entropy, operating in turn as both monument and anti-monument.
It is a sad picture, and one that carries a surprising anxiety. The small house is surrounded by chain link fencing, topped with barbed wire, a ‘beware of dog’ sign bars the door, and nearby another hand-scrawled posting advises that the house and lot are not for sale. It is a tiny fortress, buttressed against a panic driven transformation of the urban landscape – last chance to buy, last chance to save the house, last chance to escape – it is hard to tell which is more important – but it is definitely the last chance.
In summer of 2007 a banner was proudly unfurled from one of the upper stories of a newly erected condominium tower on the north footing of Vancouver’s Cambie Street Bridge. Printed on it was a picturesque image of False Creek complete with knock-off geodesic dome and striated, pinky-orange sky. The vista approximated the view from the apartments on the opposite side of the building; as the building itself prevented the viewers of the ad, mainly commuters driving, biking or walking southward on the bridge, from seeing the actual vista, the image, in effect, stood in for the view. Below the picture was the phrase, “Who needs art?”
Other Sights for Artists’ Projects and the City of Vancouver Public Art Program are pleased to announce the release of a book publication documenting the public art project Digital Natives, presented on the electronic billboard at the Burrard Street Bridge, in Vancouver, Canada.
The work of T&T (Tony Romano and Tyler Brett) reflects on ideas of sustainability, green architecture and technological progress. Their artworks frequently include elements of natural systems such as solar power and organic filters in conjunction with recycled and reconfigured technology. Over the course of their diverse artistic practice, they have developed a survivalist-informed aesthetic, creating whimsical, yet critically considered artworks that provide astute commentary on our historical moment.
Kathleen Ritter, October 5, 2011 Francisco Camacho, October 11, 2011 Samuel Roy-Bois: Interlocutor, November 8, 2011 Claire Doherty in conversation with Lorna Brown (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 to physical structures to […]