After the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic athletes gathered their medals and returned to their respective countries, Vancouver’s Olympic Village reverted from dormitory to “home” as condominium owners began to gradually move into the new “Village on False Creek”.
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.
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.
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.
False Creek was commissioned by the Pendulum Gallery to coincide with the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games and is a participating exhibition in Other Sight’s three part series When the Hosts Come Home. Installed in HSBC’s main office building in downtown Vancouver, False Creek comprises three sculptural assemblages, a panoramic print and a children’s colouring centre. Designed by Canadian artists T&T (Tyler Brett and Tony Romano), the exhibition temporarily transforms the corporate environment of a bank and public atrium into an optimistic post-apocalyptic environment.
As South East False Creek began its new life as Canada’s largest ‘green’ housing development, the Berlin-based artist team of Folke Köbberling and Martin Kaltwasser used materials recycled from the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games Athletes’ Village to create a situation of exchange and cooperation. On lands slated for future development, the artists created a 6 x 7 x 14m artwork that invited the participation of new neighbours to liberate the discarded, share excess, and contribute to the building of new forms and meanings.