Monthly Archives: June 2006

Stadium Proposal before City Council Tonight

By now there are over 160 members in the Gastown Residents Association, asking council to vote no to the proposed stadium, and to work with the Whitecaps to find a better location for the project. What about False Creek Flats, or the old Empire Stadium near Hastings Park, or use one of the existing stadiums to house the Whitecaps?

Traffic and crowds are a big concern. The Jazz Festival is a one-time a year event, but having massive crowds in the streets and traffic jams two to three times a week makes the area unlivable. I wonder how such a stadium would affect the Greenway. The work that has been done to create the concept of the Carrall Greenway, and its intentions to encourage more calmed traffic, a pedestrian-friendly and neighbourhood-friendly area, with recreational bike/blade paths, more trees, etc. could be compromised considerably if the stadium is built in the proposed location. That vision of this neighbourhood, with the amenities, public art, and use of public space it outlines doesn’t seem to co-exist with the large stadium as it is now presented.

The various views will be aired tonight at the City Council, and it is likely that the speakers’ list is too long for a decision tonight. There is much to consider and the media proponents of the stadium are really going full on. There will no doubt be a continuation of the council meeting on Thursday before a decision can be reached.

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Dancing in the Street

The Jazz Festival in Gastown crowds were a little thin this year, I imagine it was because this past weekend had so many events going on, with the World Urban Forum, the World Peace Forum and the Earth festival all happening at the same time. We eventually made it out to the street close to the end of it all, took lawn chairs to Maple Tree Square and saw the Mystery Groove Band – this year it was the Cat Empire. I didn’t sit in that chair for long. Everyone was dancing, the sun was shining, it was a remarkable moment on the street in Gastown. Looking up at the Hotel Europe behind the stage, then to the left on a roof – a guy is taking a 360 of the whole thing. Was that a video camera? He was the same person I had seen standing in front of us, wearing the ultra expensive distressed jeans and the wagon repair shirt, with the Dior shades. (I don’t really know the subtleties of sunglass brands, but in this case the shades had a big Dior logo on the sides.) Cat Empire was great and summer is officially here in Gastown, there’s dancing in the street.

traffic

david pritchard has a fascinating little page about traffic on carrall street.

why fascinating? i have to admit, i love statistics – i always see something very reassuring and at the same time mysterious and promising in long rows of numbers and diagrams – but i think for carrall street, there is something else that peaks my interest.

as much as i love statistics, i have a hard time imagining getting all dewy-eyed over traffic statistics on georgia street or the knight street bridge. but carrall street – that’s a place i can relate to, because it is small (only five blocks), because i drive down carrall street at least once a week (usually on my way to sacred space), because i’ve spent years in the neighbourhood.

when i look at one of those little traffic diagrams (aren’t they cute? don’t they make you think of those playmats where little boys can play with their matchbox cars, vroom, vroom, vroom?), i wonder, was i one of those numbers, one of those left-turning vehicles, one sunny afternoon in 2004?

and in my mind’s eye, i see a summer student standing at the corner of keefer and carrall, with her clipboard, counting bicycle after bicycle – is she getting bored? does she have her eye on the other student, a good-looking hunk of a young man? are they going to hang out afterwards at mr. coffee and have some bubble tea?

no, i really don’t think i could get into all this – the stats, the traffic diagrams, imagining what happened when they counted the cars and bikes – if this was some bustling, big street in any-big-town, north america. but little carrall street – yeah, i want to go there – not just with my car, but also with my imagination.

isabella mori

Alexander Street Block Party! June 17th

Alexander Street Block Party

Centre A: Container Culture

CONTAINER CULTURE
  : Vancouver
 
A  new media art project by Kate Armstrong, Bobbi Kozinuk, M. Simon Levin, Laurie Long, Leonard Paul,Manuel Piña & Jean Routhier; Curated by Alice Ming Wai Jim
 
Opening:  Friday, June 16, 8pm, at Centre A, 2 West Hastings Street
Exhibition venue I:  Centre A, June 17-July 1 (Tues-Sat, 11am-6pm)
Exhibition venue II: Earth: the World Urban Festival, June 21-25 (daily,11am-midnight)
Admission is free to all events
 
This site for complete Listing of all the exciting IN[   ]EX Events & Activities from June 16 to 25.
Centre A is proud to present Container Culture: IN[ ]EX, a new interactive, city-wide collaborative media art project involving a shipping container and thousands of smaller modules. IN[ ]EX is a distributed audio sculpture in which thousands of wooden blocks with embedded technology are released into the city to engage the public as active agents. IN[ ]EX invites audience activity, movement and interaction, as well as engages with the larger urban context as the blocks are dispersed throughout the city and culture in general.
 
The blocks are distributed through an array of interventions that reference early models of instruction-based participatory works. The interventions range in scale and complexity and are geared toward carving out a cultural existence for the blocks across a wide variety of channels, including performance, commerce, installation, social media, mail art, photography,product placement, activism, and viral networks. As the blocks circulate,they transmit data which is collected by a mesh network and processed to create a constantly remixed sound environment in a shipping container.  Ultimately, IN[ ]EX explores the migration of capital, goods, and people through the ports and public spaces of Vancouver, Canada, and San José,California. By using thousands of small wooden blocks as placeholders of
this activity, the project brings forward a consideration of not only the social conditions of movement in the two cities but also the ways in which the circulation of these things implicates us in the global economy and informs our diverse world-views.

Territory: Mapping the Urban Experience

TERRITORY – June 10 – August 6, 2006

June 16 receptions at Presentation House Gallery, 7-9pm and Artspeak, 8-10pm

Jennifer Allora & Guillermo Calzadilla, Roy Arden, The Atlas Group / Walid Raad, Yael Bartana, Cao Fei, Germaine Koh, Gonzalo Lebrija, Jayce Salloum,Seripop, Ron Terada
Territory is a visual art project concerned with mapping urban experience, civic space and contested terrains. The project includes installations at Artspeak and Presentation House Gallery as well as in public sites around Vancouver, guided walks, lectures, a film series, and publication.
conflict, gentrification, security, and communication systems becomesThe works in Territory involve navigating real and imagined territories – geographic, political, economic and social. The exhibition expands onearlier articulations of the flaneur and notion of derive, or wandering, as a way to investigate urban environments. Cities are understood asessentially unreadable cartographies, fragmented and unstable. This project points to the spatial collisions of urban life, such as those resulting from rapid urban development and increased privitization of public space. The works in Territory reveal how cultural mythologies, both local and global, are scripted into built environments and determine human interactions. The social impact of the often invisible boundaries delineated by political conflict, gentrification, security, and communication systems becomes
apparent as the artists call attention to the intersections of
psychological, social and physical space.

Five artworks have been commissioned for the public domain: photographic billboards by Roy Arden, roaming mobile signboards by Ron Terada, soil transplants by Germaine Koh, photographs by Jayce Salloum dispersed through various distribution systems, and silkscreens postered around the city bySeripop. Encountered by chance and through uncanny recognition, these ephemeral works provoke tensions between public and private space.
Distinctions between private acts and communal life are seen as porous.
These artists temporarily occupy and lay claim to civic terrain and transient street life.Presentation House Gallery will be exhibiting the work of five artists that offers poetic interpretations of the conditions that impact global cities.
Footage of an industrial port in China's Pearl River Delta by Puerto-Rican based artists, Jennifer Allora & Guillermo Calzadilla, offers a meditation on global economies. Yael Bartana, an Israeli artist living in Amsterdam,manipulates images of street demonstrations by Israeli and Palestinian
youth. The documentary material about post-civil war Beirut by the Atlas Group / Walid Raad, working out of New York and Lebanon, questions the representation of urban ruination and political violence. Gonzalo Lebrija,from Guadalajara, Mexico, looks at the potential violence of collective behaviour in street culture. Cao Fei, one of China's most notable young artists, tracks the daily routines of a milkman in Guangzhou where she lives. Artspeak will present two of her media works that are concerned with urban fantasies and cultural mythologies.

Territory also involves mapping the city through guided walks from literary,visual art and architectural perspectives that will bring to light some of its hidden narratives. Michael Barnholden will animate the events of two downtown riots, Neil Wedman will interpret the history of sidewalks, and Annabel Vaughan will trace threads of Vancouver's original urban grid.

Film series at Vancity Theatre, 1181 Seymour Street

Wednesday, July 19, Thursday, July 20, screenings begin at 7 pm

On July 19 at 7 pm, Cao Fei will discuss her artwork, followed by a screening of her film, "Father"

Please check www.presentationhousegall.com for site maps and updated information.

This exhibition is curated by Melanie O'Brian and Helga Pakasaar, and organized by Artspeak and Presentation House Gallery.

Great New Workplace Concept

I'd been excited to read in the NYTimes about the flourishing of writers' working spaces. The perfect concept. And a version of this has come to Vancouver, but it's not limited only to writers. Here on Carrall, check out Workspace.

Sounds terrific for all the work-from-home types who need to actually have a real physical workspace. I was talking with a Gastown designer about just that problem: how to get away from work. And then there is the opposite – how to get down to work when you work from home, a situation that 43 folders can help with to a certain extent. But what about the reality of our need for others? Or at the very least, another space? Workspace seems to solve that. The meeting room situation at Workspace looks great too.

Here on Carrall Street, and throughout Gastown, there are so many live/work spaces. Not just the "artist's lofts" but more and more wired home-office workspaces. Beehive has replaced rat race. When I check for my wireless network, I see 11 visible password-protected networks listed on the popup window. Vibrational density – there's a lot of unseen action down here. And lots of interesting work being done.