We Are Watching came to an end in Vancouver with the closing of the Paralympic games. All in all, I was pleased with my work and the audience response. Enough said about that. At this very moment, Danna, Kristina and I are creating the content for the second half of the book. I will keep you updated on its progress, specifically, when you can expect your copy, if you have already bought the first one.
If you are still interested in buying the catalogue/archive, there are still a few copies left, and I would be happy to mail you your very own for the small cost of $20. Please email me your request at weRwatching2010 [at] gmail.com. And yes, I am still accepting video submissions at the same address.
Since the last time I have posted, We Are Watching has gone to and left Finland as part of an exhibit curated by Anna Ruth. Originally from Vancouver, Anna has been living in Europe for the last fifteen years curating and art-making. She also showed work during the Olympics. To read about her mapping/drawing project, called Sensory Maps, click here. Anna also runs the gallery project called Äkkigalleria, that usurps spaces not in use and turns them into a temporary gallery. And this is where We Are Watching ended up along with my other project...
Working with What is Left is a participatory sculpture project that provides some musings through the detritus of the Olympic Games. The following letter of instructions/explanation was provided with a desk for the viewer to work at while they added and responded to the research. In an attempt to draw on "Finnish" design expertise, the viewer becomes the researcher/designer of homeless shelters made of the Olympic Visa sponsorship posters that were on display in many of the retail businesses during the games.
The grumbling of the city started as soon as the Vancouver Olympic Committee first assembled for the intention of proposing to host the 2010 Winter Olympics. At first glance the proposal was rosy, with extra money to be spent funding a large number of arts programming in addition to the current civic and provincial funded art programs. There was also a promise that the Olympic Village, an area slotted for development (a.k.a. Concord Pacific style condo development) situated along the south shore of False Creek and which for the most part has served as Vancouver’s industrial district, would include mixed-market residencies after the Olympics were done. Specifically, there were to be a substantial number of units set aside for low-income housing. On this platform, the city passed a referendum by 51% in favour of hosting the events.
Of course (in my opinion), the extremely conservative provincial government under the head of Gordon Campbell and the vast number of profiting developing corporations sighed a breath of relief at the economic downturn as it provided the perfect excuse to back out of the social commitments made, and in fact, the City of Vancouver passed legislation allowing it to borrow more than it is usually allowed (and increase property taxes to cover the added expenses) to “bail out” the developers and consequently the developers and City reneged on the housing and cut the Arts funding by 92%.
This project speaks to the detritus of the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics, namely the worsened social conditions to be faced by Vancouverites and British Columbians and the physical waste, in particular the Royal Bank Visa sponsorship posters. The plasticized corrugated posters are perfect building and art material. Therefore, Working with What is Left will work with these conditions and detritus to provide an Olympic critique by fashioning the posters into life-sized homeless shelters, thereby solving the problems created by a lack of funding for artist materials and low income housing.
The research you see before you has been started by the artist. Please add notes directly on the pages, comments, highlight what you perceive as important, comment on the comments, add pages, make drawings, and literally contribute Finnish design solutions for these problems in Vancouver.
The notes will be synthesized into one design solution, and units will be built and put out in the streets of Vancouver this summer and documented for gallery presentation later this year.
Thank you in advance for your contribution!