Posts tagged: Vancouver
Listening to the radio has been really productive. I feel really connected to popular culture. I like feeling connected to what the majority of people believe, even if I am ambivalent about it. I am not talking about religion, but the depth of reverence is comparable.
The jam that oozes out of the sandwich is the best part of the sandwich.
Spending three years on something is the most committed I have ever been to anything. That may not be true, but it sure feels true.
Reading through this catalogue from the 80s is a deep throw back to semiotic madness. Was it written with nostalgia, or is that me? Language can bend, like spoons.
I am a slow reader after all.
The Vancouver in Alex Leslie’s People Who Disappear is a Vancouver I do not know, but the sentiments are all too familiar. This is a sign of a good book.
There’s less than one month to go and I just don’t know what is going on anymore.
Image taken from Asleep in the Forest
A few weeks ago, I went up about 60 storeys above downtown Toronto for an art show. Inside the BMO tower, the tallest office building in the country, sits a major Canadian art collection by the bank, and also a small project room with a new installation by Sarah Anne Johnson.
If you can get over the necessity of making an appointment and having a guided tour, the view itself is worth the ride up. I never realized how flat Toronto was. It made me feel tired. Getting a quick guided tour by their corporate collections curator, Dawn Cain, the vast and growing collection of Canadian contemporary art is bought for each regional head office to reflect each region’s artists. The head office featured artists from across the country, and I did ask aloud if there was any connection to the Oh, Canada show at Mass MoCA. The answer was no.
The project room itself is tiny, or I suspect its tininess as Johnson’s work is viewed through an aperture drilled into the door. Certainly unlike anything I’ve seen of her work before, the first sensation is of peeking into a museum diorama of prehistoric humans gathered around a fire. Only, the two figures are in tailored suits, with wads of cash sitting at their feet in and around the fire. One looks pensive, the other sound asleep, but both kept warm by the fire. We can talk metaphor here and symbolics of the fire, but I remember an analogy passed onto me: that the role of an artist in society is to tend the fire, to keep it burning bright so we do not fall into darkness. Whether you’re into this reading or not, it’s stayed with me, and it’s come back again.
As rich as the scene was, the work was far more subtle than the website and marketing would suggest, which echoes the exact same sentiment expressed by Leah Sandals on Shary Boyle’s 2012 exhibition in the project space. Aggressive marketing is probably needed to get anyone up there, but what’s interesting is how determined the viewing became. Any space naturally determines how a work will be made and seen. As a space, it is neither public nor private, as while an appointment is required and the experience of the work is supervised, the work is made by the artist and not the bank, who funded its production, but does not collect the work afterwards. Given free reign to create a new work and backing its entire production without retaining the work, the BMO project room is supporting an artist to experiment in a way an ARC used to do, but with the financial backing of a major institution. A private space without any privacy, this interaction is possibly only becoming more common, and I don’t know how to feel about this yet.
Slated for 2014 is Vancouver-based Myfanwy MacLeod, and watch out for Johnson this coming Winter and Spring as she does some time out west.
I haven’t posted anything in two weeks. I have been away. I spent the first few days in New York attending this conference. My brain is still fried from it and I have not recovered. I will write about it, but where do I begin?
Every time I have tried to talk about it, I start from the beginning. What is pinkwashing? What is homonationalism? Here are some handy definitions. Once you read these, maybe I can begin. So for now, I will talk about other things, like how I missed Chantal Akerman’s reading at The Kitchen for Jasbir Puar’s keynote. This tears me up, but no regrets. I care about both these things too much. If you care about both these things, too, we should hang out.
Most of the conference will eventually be uploaded for streaming. The impossible conference of impossible communities will be available. I don’t even know how to start unpacking the ideas I heard, especially here in Vancouver. I’ve been continually annoyed by the language here, on all fronts. The latest example is the consolidation of “Chinese” to mean a unified people and a language, both of which don’t exist. The group of people living in Chinatown have nothing in common with the group of real estate investors, yet by press and by well-intentioned do-gooders, they are conflated as a single group that needs protection from racist policies. But have they ever thought that maybe they don’t need your help? Or more clearly, that they are not the ones who are going to need help? Decolonizing our language is the first step to traveling across disruptions.
The first panel I attended was on “rescue narratives” which made me think about how we need to rethink who “we” are saving “them” from. Homogenous thinking of identity groups has been detrimental to actual sovereignty, and until dominant and sub-dominant groups can get over themselves, the production of oppressed identities will only continue to be manufactured within a privatized and specialized understanding of social space and class agency.
You start at The Sylvia. Everything starts here. Ice cold martinis by the water doesn’t seem to get old.
The Bayside reminds me of another city. I come here the most.
I was hoping The Long Bar was longer. This place reminds me of Woody’s, but without the drag queens, so I left.
Adesso’s used to be Delilah’s Martini Bar. They would shake each martini at the table. Martini’s are still on special most days of the week, but from the bar. They are not as ice cold as I would like them to be.
Further up, way up, it’s not too busy on Cloud 9. Terrible name, but what a view.