Sunday, February 28, 2010
Thursday, February 25, 2010
Yesterday was another action packed day on the West Coast. First of all, for the first time in AGES it rained. The skies opened up and dumped on us like there was no tomorrow. This wasn’t such a bad thing EXCEPT that Mister Man and I attended an outdoor performance art in the evening. But, as with so many things of late, the weather turned for the better (JUST as the Canadians were kicking some Russian butt in men's hockey). And we headed out under clear skies.
Performance art, you say? If you didn't know this before, I can tell you that performance art and theatre are not the same thing. Oh they may be distantly related, like that cousin you met at another cousin’s wedding back in the day. That is to say, they’re on a first name basis and share some common elements. (unless of course you’re a total performance art purist and shun your older cousin). Here's a thumbnail sketch of some differences:
Theatre involves acting and costumes and props.
Performance art MAY involve costumes and props. It doesn’t involve acting.
Performance art emerged out of the visual arts in the 60’s in response to a need to push the boundaries of art.
Last night we went to see the dynamic performance collective NORMA, present a piece called BRAWL in Andy Livingstone Park (which is a huge soccer pitch in downtown Vancouver covered in the most amazing and unnatural looking astro-turf you've ever laid your peepers on). NORMA'S performance examined the intersection between spectacle and sport. Using quotes from popular culture and real life history, wearing matching nylon jackets and armed with megaphones and some really sweetly choreographed formations, NORMA made the field come to life. The thing that's so great about watching a group of skilled performance artists is that they know how to stay in the moment and respond to the energy that is being generated between them and the audience. PLUS, they gave out free scarves. What more could you ask for really? A great hockey game, followed by a great performance that involved swag. Picture perfect. That's what we call it around these parts.
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
The coming of the 2010 Winter Olympic Games is accelerating the Downtown Eastside’s transformation by heightening real estate speculation and gentrification; new condo towers and big box stores are appearing. The revamping of the neighbourhood seems more responsive to the expectations of people who are better-off. Tensions between real estate developers and members of the community are palpable, with fears of a form of implicit "social cleansing".
It is striking that the history of the Downtown Eastside began in destruction and disappearance. In 1886, soon after the city was incorporated, the Great Vancouver Fire swept down on the neighbourhood and razed almost all of it to the ground. The video installation Fire with Fire recalls this troubled period of Vancouver’s history. It also alludes to the neighbourhood’s present conditions by reminding us that many lives have been consumed there, worn down by years of homelessness, drug use, street prostitution, and violence."