Streams of History: call for participants

Live on the Downtown Eastside? Artistic, trustworthy, and nice? Has Fearless City got a gig for you!

Streams of History

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.

Produced by:

Fearless City Mobile, in association with DTES Community Arts Network, Gallery Gachet, Mobile Muse 3, and the Department of Canadian Heritage.


•    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.


Fearless City, yo!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 and on a Community Walk map.


20 videographers
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 memory

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.

Background Links:

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* <>casts our minds back to depression-era Saskatchewan in “Who Killed Jackie Bates?”

*A podcast interview with him is available here: (select January 24th)*