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.
Located on Skwxwú7mesh territory in the heart of the city, the digital signs, facing north and south, flashed a static advertisement every ten seconds. Their scale, and their proximity to the bridge made for an assertive relationship to the pedestrians, cyclists and motorists entering and departing downtown, and this occupation of visual space has been the subject of considerable controversy.
For Digital Natives, the billboard became a space for exchange between native and non-native communities in an exploration of language in public space.