Ever have one of those days where you’re all, I GAVE Peace a chance and ten years later we’re still in Afghanistan? No? Just me then?
Those soft-headed Chihuahua defenders may, in fact, have a point. We now present shocking video proof that the hideous, deformed, shivering naked mole rat clone dog impersonating aliens are in fact subjected to unimaginably cruel torture and pushed beyond the breaking point, prior to being released from the hatcheries upon an unsuspecting and unprepared public.
Turn the sound up and click to watch IF YOU DARE!
original photo by The Blackbird
Have you seen this mural?
Not recently, you haven’t, because it was removed on the orders of Vancouver City Hall, which is apparently in the business of making sure the Olympic Committee don’t get their feelings hurt, rather than in the business of defending the rights of Canadians to the free expression guaranteed them under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
The gallery says in 10 years, it has never before been asked to remove any work.
The city issued the order under its graffiti bylaw, but it comes in the wake of a debate over a controversial city sign bylaw that opponents feared would allow officials to stifle anti-Olympic expression.
“It was pretty clear to me that it was because of the context of the work,” says Colleen Heslin, who runs the Crying Room, a small studio focusing on emerging artists.
Ms. Heslin points out that over the years she has hung about 30 murals there, and has never had any trouble. She has also used that space as a giant chalkboard, allowing passersby to write or draw whatever they wanted (which included swear words) and was never asked to remove that either.
In fact, when her landlord, Peter Wong, received a notice from the city telling him to remove the graffiti from his building, he had no idea what they were talking about. “I called them and said I cannot find the graffiti. And they said the sign [the mural] is graffiti…”
Patrick Smith, director of Simon Fraser University’s Institute of Governance Studies, said the removal of the sign is symptomatic of the high demands the “Olympic movement” places on its host cities. He believes Vancouver will be the beginning of a shift away from the modern Olympic era, with communities saying the cost of hosting is too high.
“A lot is asked of communities, and it seems to me this is a perfectly good example of where we’ve gone too far,” he said. “There’s no other way to describe it other than overreaction, but it’s the city trying to protect a brand that’s not the city’s brand. It’s the Olympic movement’s brand.”
And there was mourning throughout the land, or at least the Downtown Eastside. Even the revered and untouchable Globe and Mail, which had at first featured the image in its article, got out the virtual putty knives and scraped it right off their website, and the bittersweet little mural was removed from the face of the Earth AND the Googleplex.
But not for long, for over on Facebook a spontaneous, outraged movement started, a movement with sharpie-inscribed samizdat tee shirts and all manner of Olympic Mural as Facebook Profile Pic mayhem, and soon, just like in Peter Pan when Tink is dying and you clap your hands to save her (you DO clap your hands, don’t you? And ring a bell at Christmas, so an angel gets its wings? Of course you do, because you don’t want me to come over there and give your sorry motherfucking ass the beat-down), the heartfelt wishes of the good little boys and girls and the undecideds notthatthere’sanythingwrongwiththat all over the Downtown Eastside were heard and the mural rose again.
Here it is as of now:
As far as I can tell, it’s the original piece, with a little bit of touching up around the smiley face.
Live on the Downtown Eastside? Artistic, trustworthy, and nice? Has Fearless City got a gig for you!
Streams of History
Mobile Media workshop, February 4-7, 2009
It’s often said that if we ignore our history we are doomed to repeat it. By recognizing and recording the stories of 20 sites in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, mobile videographers connect past to present, creating an opening for informed reflection on the future. This crossmedia exhibition and web project remixes Labour, Work, and Working People: A Working Class and Labour History Walking Tour using Web 2.0 strategies to expand the number of voices heard and stories told.
Using the latest in digital technology, live video streams tell tales of 20 DTES sites through enduring memories of Vancouver’s labour history. Videographers present the history and context of each site and reveal new relationships with contemporary players. Strikes, lockouts, evictions, state suspicion, attacks on working class movements…markers of a death – each site has a unique role to play in the story of the neighbourhood. New tools are being used to harness history and bring it forward with mobile devices, wireless networks, live screens and video mixers.
The public is invited to interact with the installation throughout the month and add to the stories, while our collective knowledge of DTES history deepens as it is reinterpreted through a digital lens.
This project is based on the “Labour, Work, and Working People” booklet produced in 2002 by the Pacific Northwest Labour History Association. This brochure encouraged people to walk the streets of Vancouver and visit each site. In the foreword to the booklet, the author ends by stating “At the turn of the 21st century, this tour offers insight into the continued struggle by labour to democratize the workplace and the world. Please walk the tour and meet the working people who built the city of Vancouver.”
“Social gatherings, literature and art express feelings about work and community … Film and storytelling also allow artists to celebrate working class struggles and gains.”
Now in that 21st century, new ways of recording, commenting, involving and organizing are available to us. This is a digital updating and reinterpretation of these stories of Vancouver’s working class history.
• To connect 20 Eastside mobile videographers with labour history sites in our community.
• To establish relationships with these sites, researching and expanding their stories.
• To compare, contrast and identify the relevance to today’s Downtown Eastside.
• To convey the spirit of each site in under 5 minutes.
• To use leading edge technology in retelling these stories.
• To archive/make available these stories online so they may be added to and commented upon.
• To test an interactive map that supports locative and mobile video.
20 sites around the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver
Live event from the 20 sites on Saturday February 7th 2009 11am-12noon streamed online and as a remixed VJ installation at Gallery Gachet (88 E Cordova St., Vancouver, V6A 1K2, ph: 604.687.2468).
The outcomes remain in the gallery throughout the month to 28 February.
Online worldwide access via www.fearlesscity.ca and on a Community Walk map.
5 documenters (video-ing the videographers at work)
2 VJs handling the live stream
1 documenter recording the creation of the live streams at the Gallery Gachet
Pancake breakfast crew (shopping/gear/operating)
$20/compulsory training event plus $60 mobile streaming fee = $100/participant
As this is an outdoor event in early February, all participants should come prepared with wind and rain protection for themselves and the equipment; umbrellas are very useful here.
Connection, learning, the process
Participants will have two workshops to attend, on Wednesday, February 4, 6:30-8pm at 65 West Cordova (the Lore Krill Coop) and Friday February 6-8pm, Gallery Gachet
If you wish to participate but are truly unable to attend these sessions please contact Lani at (778.895.1939) and we will do our best to accommodate you.
The first workshop will give an overview of the project, and then offer a chance to select, be assigned, be told (depending on how effectively democracy works here!) which site each participant will cover. We hope the spirit of the project overcomes and possibility of fighting over favoured sites! Participants can research the sites
We may also wish to create pairs of first timers and more seasoned project participants.
So please come with flexibility around the sites you will be connecting with and the other member of your pair.
Having begun the connection to each site participants will then be introduced to the technical aspects of streaming video, and have a chance to see the hardware and software which will be used on the day of the event.
The second workshop will review the relationship with each site, offer guidance and suggestions and support as to film techniques which might be used, and also offer a chance to experiment with live streaming. The Friday evening will also provide us with a chance for meet ‘n greet with our technical partners from Montreal’s Society for Arts & Technology (SAT).
On Saturday February 7th all participants will gather at 9:30am at the Gallery Gachet, share breakfast and prepare for the day.
Each participant will be twinned with one other participant selected/ assigned by the geographical closeness to their own site.
In teams of two the 20 participants will station themselves at the first 10 sites for an 11 am start of streaming.
As each team finishes their first live stream the team then moves into position for their second stream.
Each member of each team will take the lead at ‘their’ site and then act as an assistant/ aide/supporter as their team mate then takes the lead at the second of ‘their’ sites.
11 am first set of five live streams – on ending move to third set of five locations
11.10 second set of five live streams – on ending move to fourth set of five locations
11.20 third set of five live streams – when done, free to return to the gallery
11.30 fourth set of five live streams – when done, free to return to the gallery
11.35 end of live streaming and all participants return to Gallery Gachet
11.50 assemble at Gallery Gachet
12 noon celebration and congratulations, and a chance to view the now archived event
12.30 event formally ends
The source streams will be archived and available online. The ‘VJ’-ing of the live streams will itself be recorded and archived.
All 20 sites will be added to a “Community Walk” map, with direct links to the videos of each site, and with interactive comments and additional historical detail added over time.
history, memory, connection, learning, labour, working class, digital, streaming, VJs, relevance.
The booklet online: Streams of History
The sites on our prototype Community Walk map
Three sites on video walls etc
Suez’s site with a video of VJ-ing in action
Six or seven sites connect with the relief camps and displacement during the depression (the former one….) This book with Vancouver connections is excellent source material*: Bill Waiser* <http://homepage.usask.ca/%7Ewaw273/>casts our minds back to depression-era Saskatchewan in “Who Killed Jackie Bates?”
*A podcast interview with him is available here: (select January 24th)*