(A collaboration featuring Vancity Buzz)
It has been a fascinating study in politics and sociology to watch the Olympics and it’s bureaucracy unfold over the last years and months and now weeks and days. Almost overnight, residents of Vancouver and surrounding areas have watched their city morph into a sort of athletic-artistic-militaristic hybrid, not unlike waking up one morning to find that Cirque du Soleil has pitched their tent in your backyard, their contortionists have trampled your flowers, and their acrobats eaten all your birdseed. But you’ll plant new flowers and buy more birdseed, because this is a show that only comes to town once – EVER.
It is an event that has been pock-marked cratered by public outcry, protest, and panic (where’s the housing for the homeless? where’s the funding for the arts? where’s the snow??) but is nonetheless set to begin at the end of the week.
There are a million ways to get into the action (no blue jacket required!) and I’m not just talking about pricey event tickets or tuning in your tv to CBC. This action isn’t of the sporting kind, we’re talking art. And some of the best hours to view this art are the dark ones. Vancity Buzz gives us the low-down on some of the brightest bulbs in town.
One of the most contentious pieces is the 60 foot “East Van” cross. Though a cross, this piece of public art does not have any religious conatation. The “East Van” cross is rooted in East Vancouvers’ gang culture from the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s, however since then has morphed into a cultural icon of sorts the city’s east side residents and no longer carries the gang connection. “This particular piece has evoked both passion and disdain, it is after all art,” Vancity Buzz explains.
“Ice Lights” at Vancouver City Hall are a permanent new light art fixture which illuminates a beautiful art deco building and is a permanent installation. It certainly makes city hall easy to find in Vancouvers cityscape!
A couple of other neat features are the LED lit “rain drop” lamposts in the trendy Yaletown neighbourhood. These light fixtures will also serve as a guided pathway connecting the city’s two LiveCity Sites during the games.
Vectorial Elevation is a light show happening all night every night from the 12th until the 28th, (though I saw the lights in action this past weekend.) It’s sculpture made of light – and designed by you! Visitors from around the world can visit the VE website can submit their own design, while residents of Vancouver enjoy the constantly changing light display. “It’s a crazy concept that many are looking forward too,” says Vancity Buzz. The lights have been installed along both the Kitsilano and West-end sides of English Bay and will be sparkling their way through the whole Olympic run. A web page is made for each participant with photos of their design from four cameras located around the city.
Presented as a partnership between 14 different arts organizations from the Downtown Eastside, BRIGHT LIGHT features a series of outdoor performances, video projections, urban planning demonstrations, social events and a parade. Despite it’s public censure in most media, the Downtown Eastside is a vibrant, dynamic and historic city centre, home to diverse communities, interesting architecture, and lots of art. One of the exhibits I got a sneak peak at back in December includes Instant Coffee’s Light Bar – at 33 West Cordova you’ll find a bar installation and evenu for light therapy, light lectures, light shows, light reading and light rock.
Thanks for all your help on this one, Karm! Check out Vancity Buzz for more on the arts, politics and events happening in and around Vancouver.