Thursday, February 18, 2010

Lingering Impressions From Last Weekend

After we all rose from our mac 'n cheese coma last Saturday, we hit the streets to see what all the fuss was about. We started out with a Seabus ride, and then jumped on the Skytrain. Along the way, we had to change trains and spent some time hanging out on the Nanaimo Street train platform. , We watched train after train whizz by as we waited for the right train to come our way. My favourite image was this one in which these two little faces were pressed up against the front of the train in the driver's position.

We made a quick pit stop at CODE Live, to let our American pals, Paul and Lisa, experience a slice of Canadian culture. We were mesmerized by this installation called Breaking the Ice in which an identical window is set up in Montreal, and you interact with the person standing on "the other side of the glass". The "window" ices over, and you can crack the ice, melt the ice and make your way towards communicating with a complete stranger on the other side of the country.

Here's the program note: "Breaking the Ice is an installation developed by the Society for Arts and Technology [SAT] that connects in real-time the audience at CODE Live 1 with participants at the other end of the country. As audience members in Vancouver approach the installation’s screen, they encounter an icy window displaying their counterparts thousands of kilometers away in Montreal. Through real-time telepresence, participants can connect, interact and proceed to play using a human size touchscreen. After virtually melting the digital frost between the users, a live video transmission from the other city is revealed. Users can play in this frosty atmosphere, hand-drawing in the ice, using snowflakes to re-freeze the scene. The ice might also break completely, requiring participants to piece together the shattered fragments. Through one of the fastest internet lines in the world, and with live audio/video streaming, this game will allow audience members in Montreal and Vancouver to literally “break the ice.”"

Then we headed down to Granville Island. After a botched attempt to get into Atlantic House (closed for a private function), The Swiss House (turns out it is just a fondue restaurant with a big wait time), we went to another installation called Candahar in which Belfast artist Theo Simm's has recreated a popular Irish bar. There are performances in the evening, and I was mighty sorry we were there in the day, because I really felt we missed out on something. Mister Man did interact with the artist who was tending bar. He ended up hearing a great story and being presented with a nifty button. Also - the boys got to drink beer, and we all had a bowl of Irish Stew.

And then we take Manhattan. Okay - actually we didn't take anything. We, along with about a gazillion other folks, went downtown, where we were thrilled to see people in the sky and painted into stairs.

Culture abounded. The Vancouver Art Gallery was not only FULL of artwork, but wrapped in it as well. (Dear Provincial Government - can you please remember this moment before you foolishly slash arts funding in this fair province?)

But the best thing about the day was simply getting to hang out with people we love in a city that was truly abuzz with energy.

Oh. And the Earl Grey Martini we had at Uva. Now THAT is deserving of a medal......

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