Zero in on a new wave

Posted on Mar 15, 2012 in Looking Up, Press, Projects, Vox Pop

By Lynn Mitges, October 19, 2008 The Province

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Nestled among flashy ads and quick-bite movie trailers at Robson and Granville is a new experience from visual artist Antonia Hirsch called Vox Pop.

The Video project features two separate sequences, one in which the camera pans the stadium at the same rate as the sporting-event fans’ wave would be followed.

The camera then rests on a sole male spectator, who rises as if taking part in the wave. Both one-minute sequences are inserted between ads.

Creator Hirsch says the project creates a tension live action and group activities as it screen every three minutes, 24 hours a day for a week.

While the piece is played, there is no name, no website and no information to identify what it is or who created it.

“I play with advertising esthetic. Look at it once, and you look at everything differently,” says Hirsch. “Just plant that seed: What is this?”

Hirsch says the spot is ideal not only for the pedestrian traffic, but also because the screen is high resolution. It’s also fitting that the screen is between signs for Future Shop and Winners.

“Future and winners – I like that,” says Hirsch.

As the man on screen is solitary, Hirsch says he is taking part in the wave evokes an ominous and unsettling moment, yet one that is deliberate and personal.

Hirsch had a specific type of man in mind she wanted for the piece. He had to be in his mid-20s to 30s and Caucasian, which plays up the stereotypical sports fan. He also had to be bald, which plays into the stereotypical sports hooligan.

“He had to be a regular guy, so you could project yourself onto him,” she says. “The wonderful thing about it is that he looks more like an intellectual.”

This form of art is slowly gaining ground in Vancouver, says curator Barbara Cole, who helped steer the project and is a member of OtherSights, a non-profit group that seeks to create a presence for art in public places.

“This is the first project dedicated to cultural content,” says Cole. “It’s really exciting to see what will happen. It will create a difference between art and advertising.”

The effect is to immediately create an audience when anyone looks at it. “You’re not choosing to go to a gallery for an art experience,” says Cole.

There is an opening event tonight at 5:30 at the Lennox Pub, across the street from the billboard. The public is welcome.