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June 2010

The Ontario Divide

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I just flagged a so far un-mapped site of civic consequence on http://vancouvertourguide2010.com/

You can find it by clicking on the 'social & civic' category.

Do you know of places on the Vancouver map that need to be added to the picture of life in the city?

This project aims to infiltrate the view that visitors encounter when they begin to search on line maps and data bases for information about Vancouver. You can learn how to participate and get signed in to edit by attending their temporary office at VIVO 2010: Safe Assembly or, by following these instructions: Vancouver [De]tour Guide.

The Violence of Participation in 2010

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The exceptional space that the city of Vancouver occupies in February and March, 2010 is filled with opportunity. Invitations for individuals to actively participate in cultural, art, and activist projects are everywhere. Social media projects as well as walk-by interactive works and environments that stage social engagement are everywhere. 

What is produced by all of these bodies occupying the artworks, filling the shells with content, pasting in bits and pieces?

Are we constituting or materializing anything meaningful?

Those are the questions that are occupying my movements through Vancouver during February 2010. To that end, here are some of the interactions that I have voluntarily moved my body and content through so far:

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Covering Up - On Friday, Pierre-Andre Sonolet and I hosted a Masque Tea Party at Centre A in Vancouver. We were projecting back onto the streets the photos of all of the Cover Ups that we had staged with participants. The cover ups were interventions on the skyline that we had invited people to make with their own household linen. As part of their own social engagement project, Bryan Mulvihill's World Tea Party, Centre A have made their huge windows available for artists to install their work. A number of the photos were taken in and around the Carrall Street Greenway and Pigeon Park, so it seemed appropriate to have those images projected back out onto that public space, which has been the site of clean up and transformation in advance of the Olympics and the development of the Woodwards complex.

Code Live 1,2 - A lot of poorly functioning interactive art was on display at the Great Northern Way Campus and Emily Carr University up until yesterday. Code Lab was the most interesting from the perspective of social engagement. It was obvious that this was a project that engaged students in the production of work that responded to two questions: what is it like to be looked at? and what is it like to do the looking? Yes, carrying a loaded camera umbrella around Granville Island yeilded a few conversations with strangers, but the images later mixed on the Code Lab mixing table were disappointingly meaningless. More interesting were the student projects that disrupted traffic. Chun Hua Catherine Dong's [Absence | Presence] put the un-funded gallery wall into the streets, and Francisco-Fernandes Grenados' Studies in Stillness makes evident that meaning is still made when social chatter is silenced by the presence of a body in a doorway.

Other socializing as art that I've done so far (comments to come later):

I am watching the Vancouver [de]Tour Guide grow on line. A project of Althea Thauberger, Kristina Lee Podesva, Alan McConchie and others, this is an invitation to upload to a google map, sites that you  do not want the visitors to Vancouver to miss.

Candahar by Theo Sims, hosted by Presentation House Gallery

We are watching by Rina Liddle at Jeffrey Boone Gallery

and I am socializing daily at Afternoon School, VIVO 2010: Safe Assembly programs. I know that you are missing school, so come on out to VIVO from 2-4. Today's speaker is Natalie Ethier, speaking on Fragmented Geographies. At last Friday's Afternoon School, Kevin Rowe gave a run-down on the violence of space, morality and much more of what we live and think through.


Covering Up

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(I took this image on my phone during a group cover-up that Pierre-Andre Sonolet hosted near the train station in Vancouver today.)

Covering Up has been an open invitation for people to make interventions on the Vancouver skyline. In the midst of the disruption and non-transparency that is part of public life in a city preparing for Olympic games, this project  has produced momentary gestures of resistance and local distraction. IMGP4609Using household linen and bedding, the artists have involved others to impose the personal on a rapidly changing urban landscape. In absurd mimicry, domestic fabrics have refused for a moment all of the policies and development that have hidden unresolved social problems and misspent public resources.

The photos of these informal and organized cover ups will be projected back onto the street during the Bright Lights Festival on February 19 using the windows of CentreA. Inside Centre A, the on-going "World Tea Party" and Covering Up will host "Masque Tea": cover up with a mask of your own or one provided. I hope to see you at tea on Feb 19 (7-10pm)!