Monday, March 8, 2010

Vintage Vancouver.

OK, so the Olympics are over and I've long since returned from Vancouver but before the memories fade, I still have a few experiences I want to commit to the Art Lobster.  So here is final, mish-mash of photos and stories that don't really relate to each other but didn't seem quite big enough to be their own posts.

Take for example, Code 2. As you may recall, there were four venues for Vancouver's digital arm of the 2010 Cultural Olympiad called Code.  Code 2 was at the Vancouver City Library.

Before we get to the installation, a word about the library.  I've heard and even read the criticisms that the Salt Lake City downtown library is little more than a rebuild of the Vancouver downtown library.  And I can see why people make the comparison. 

Here is a shot of the exterior of Vancouver's library:

And here, an exterior shot of the Salt Lake library:

The atrium in Vancouver.

The atrium in Salt Lake City.

In fact, I'm pretty sure I could find my way around the Vancouver library with little assistance just because the layouts are so similar. 

But I don't think the criticism that Salt Lake's building is just a repeat of Vancouver's is valid.  That would be like saying that the Disney Concert Hall in L.A. is just a rebuild of the Guggenheim Bilbao.  Sure they're similar.  And they both present works of great art.  But the similarity is more a reflection of the design aesthetic of Frank Gehry than of a repeat.  Likewise, the libraries of Vancouver and Salt Lake City represent the design sensibility of Moshe Safdie.  And when you really start to look at the two buildings, there are dramatic differences in the final products.

But enough about libraries.  Let's talk about Code 2, an installation held inside the Vancouver library.  This installation had something to do with the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Truce.  The accompanying explanatory text was a little vague but I guess we're all hopeful that an Olympic Truce will prevent some of the tragic political occurrences of Olympics past.  The idea was this:

Write your suggestion for furthering world peace (like "travel the world and make friends") on a piece of paper.

Fold and tape the paper according to the instructions.

Then load the the folded paper into a contraption that blew air through a very long plastic tube.  (Unfortunately my photo of this portion of the installation doesn't quite demonstrate its visual interest.) Your hope for world peace is then carried high into the library atrium where it blows out the top of the tune and flutters downward until it lands in a net above the spectators. 

Some of the folded papers had blinking LED lights attached to the tips which made the mass of peaceful wishes twinkle like so many stars. I'm not sure what it all meant but it was sure fun to watch.  And it elicited a constant chorus of oooohs and aaaaahs from the mesmerized crowd.

On another subject, you may think I was kidding when I said the Winter Olympics in Vancouver would have been more appropriately called the Spring Olympics.  But on a walk through Vancouver's West End, the sky was blue the trees were in bloom, and winter was nowhere in sight.

The Royal Mounted Canadian Police are just cool, as is evidenced by this photo from the opening ceremonies.

There were several Mantique men's clothing stores in Vancouver although only one had this spiffy neon sign.  I'm sure the name is designed to be a mash up of "man" and "boutique."  But I read it in a different way.  I wondered how old one has to be before he's a mantique?  Am I a mantique?  Does one go "mantiquing" on the weekends?

And with that, I bid Vancouver a fond farewell with the hope I'll return someday soon.

1 comment:

  1. I know for sure that you don't go Mantiquing on the weekends. 1984 anyone?