Busy. It is very busy around these parts.
First of all, there's this big sporting event coming to Vancouver next week. You may have heard about it? And I'm sure you probably also know that there's been a great deal of controversy surrounding the winter games. The debates are complex; I have many friends who are protesting the games for a whole bunch of profound and valid reasons. I also have many friends who are gainfully employed because of the games. I have worked on a couple of films that will be playing at the celebration sites, and I also gave advice to a friend who was working on a protest film. It's a ball of wax.
I would be lying if I said that I didn't have a great time this weekend attending events that are part of the Cultural Olympiad. I saw some amazing work. And I did so knowing the Provincial government has just cut arts funding in B.C.by a whopping 90%. Yes, you read that correctly. 90%. It's the most messed up thing I've heard of late. Clearly culture matters. The Cultural Olympiad offerings are expansive. Programming starts in the morning and continues into the night - and it's happening all over the city. The Cultural Olympiad is a HUGE piece of this big event.....
As I wandered the streets over the weekend and took part in the opening strains of the Cultural Olympiad, I was both filled with joy at the unbelievable creativity that is currently filling streets, arts centres, galleries and community halls of Vancouver, and filled with sorrow over the reality of arts funding in British Columbia after the party's over. It was truly, truly bittersweet.
I know I will write more about this later. And I will probably invite you to write letters and raise your voices against the dismantling of arts funding in B.C. But right now, let me invite you to peer into the creative minds that are congregating around the city. Here's a glimpse of the screens that will be showing over 70 short films by filmmakers from Coast to Coast.
It all started on Friday night. A couple of my colleagues and I headed to the preview of CODE Live, a part of the Canada CODE that features installations by some amazing visual and media artists. We were blown away as we wandered around looking, listening, touching, and soaking it all in.
CODE Live is billed as "State of the art. CODE live takes over three well known sites and rolls out a lineup of powerful interactive art and cutting edge music".
We attended CODE Live 1 at the Great Northern Way Campus. It's a large factory space that originally built industrial machinery and it features a series of amazing interactive works. As we arrived for the preview, they were still setting up. And despite the drying paint and drop cloths, one could easily see what an amazing exhibit it was.
The map on the wall shows you what's happening where.
I kinda wanted to paint my walls like this:
There was lots to see (and do) so let me share a couple of highlights with you.
The first installation we entered was called Vested by Don Ritter. A vest is available for the viewer to don, and it's wired for sound (and image). The program note says:
I didn't have my tripod with me, so I couldn't get a decent shot of my colleague when she was vested. Suffice it to say that it was an intense experience worthy of much reflection.
Next up, we spent buckets of time in the installation called Condemned Bulbes by Artificiel. Here's the program note:
And last but not least, here's the exhibit that was housed in the striped transport container. The photos don't do it justice because I wasn't set up to photograph the darkness, but it was truly delightful. This was an interactive landscape called Dune 4.0 and it came to us from the Netherlands from Studio Roosegaarde. Essentially, you enter a black space, and when you run your hands over the black wands that line the walkway, thousands of LED lights start to twinkle and shimmer. So use your imagination as you look at these photos, and imagine the sound of us laughing our heads off as we ran back and forth like kids in an art-based playground.
Oh, and about that letter writing thing? You can do it now, by clicking on this link. It's not hard, and it won't take long. And you could make a difference.