Holly Ward is an artist living in Vancouver. As Langara College’s Centre For Art in Public Spaces 2009-2010 Artist in Residence, she created The Pavilion, a geodesic dome intended to serve as a catalyst for speculative thinking and artistic experimentation. The program of events taking place in The Pavilion continues this month with The New Paradigm: Models, Diagrams, Proposals and Provisions for the Coming Age. Featuring new work by artists Geoffrey Farmer, Devon Knowles, T&T, Ron Tran, and Elizabeth Zvonar, The New Paradigm utilizes the context of The Pavilion as an oracle to present artworks that function as generative, reflexive tools that orient us towards our collective future.
1. The Light Bar
Socio-cultural darlings Instant Coffee have done it again: they have found a way to cut through the crass consumerism of global tourism and create a context that feels both expansive and reassuringly cozy. Proposed as a site for combating Seasonal Affective Disorder by providing full-spectrum UV lights and vitamin D-spiked drinks, The Light Bar also provides therapy for the soul. Running until March 20, the Light Bar combines lectures, artist presentations, and live music to create a site for collaboration and inebriation. The Light bar is part of the Olympic and Paralympic Public Art Program’s Bright Light project.
2. The Candahar Bar
Conceived by Northern Ireland-based artist Theo Sims and presented in Vancouver by Presentation House Gallery and the Cultural Olympiad, the Candahar Bar was a recreation of an actual Irish Bar, staffed by two rogue-ish Irish brothers. Sitting inside the blackbox theatre of Granville island’s PTC Studio, this full-sized model served local microbrew, scotch, and a variety of stews and sandwiches. Given the small size of the bar, the blackbox itself hosted the many readings, lectures, and musical performances programmed by Michael Turner. In a city that is sorely lacking in interesting bars that artists like to spend quality time in, over the past two weeks we have actually had to choose!
3. Every Letter in the Alphabet
Geoffrey Farmer has taken an east Vancouver storefront space and remodeled it, using the simplest materials to create a most elegant space. Running until November 2010, Every Letter in the Alphabet will host a variety of artist projects that focus on text as a medium and will produce a series of text-based multiples. The magic of Farmer’s independent artistic practice is clearly available here for artists and visitors alike to draw inspiration and support from. Every letter is part of the Olympic and Paralympic Public Art Program.
4. Vectorial Elevation
Mexican artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer has re-located this work, which consists of twenty large, interactively programmable robotic floodlights, to Vancouver for the duration of the Olympic Games as part of the Cultural Olympiad. While I cannot say I particularly enjoyed Vectorial Elevation, I could say that I relished it: I relished the fact that they seemed so ominous, and served to really highlight the eerie 1984 atmosphere during the games. These massively powerful, roving lights might ordinarily have dominated the night sky, but this time, they had to share it with fighter jets, helicopters, nightly fireworks, and trains full of screaming sports fans running overhead. Lozano-Hemmer, in an artist talk he gave at Emily Carr University, described this work, in direct relation to the 90% BC arts funding cuts, as appropriately “obscene”.
Norma, the Vancouver-based performance art collective, utilized the uncanny scenario of Chinatown at night during the Olympics, an area that was heavily transformed by the aforementioned overhead hoo-haw, massive barricades, hundreds of cops, drunken patriots, etc…to great advantage in their performance Brawl. Located in the massive and dramatically-lit Andy Livingstone Field, Norma rallied the troupes to perform drills, rounds, and rallying cries: “What is Pain? French Bread! What Is Fatigue? Army Clothes!” I couldn’t agree more. Brawl was part of the Olympic and Paralympic Public Art Program’s Bright Light project and was hosted by Artspeak.
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