August 2012

Posted by: Amanda McCuaig on August 29, 2012 at 10:38 am

We've recently increased our capacity to accept rentals of our beautiful venue, and to celebrate we're offering a limited time discount on regular room rates!

From now until the end of 2012, receive a 15% discount on our regular room rental rates at the MOV when you book a 2012 event and pay for your rental by September 30. Halloween and Christmas are just around the corner, so this is the perfect time to book a fall/winter party or business event and save money.

Learn more about the rooms available over on our rentals and venue page, where there are also plenty of images.  

Rental revenue is put towards the fulfillment of our mission to deliver provocative programs and services to the thousands of visitors and students we engage each year.

For more information on facility rentals, room rates or availability you can contact us at:

Tel: 604.730.5305

Posted by: Anna Wilkinson on August 27, 2012 at 10:54 pm

For this week's installment of MOVments we set out to keep things light, offering some "fun facts" to keep you entertained during the last wee bit of summer. However, as with most MOVments, we got a little serious in spite of ourselves. Read on for the latest on playing in Vancouver (for a good cause), strolling around the city (and the problems that go along with it), and the story of our very own Vancouver Town Fool (who, it turns out, had a pretty serious mission).

(Not Just) Playing Around. Some of us MOVers have had a chance to make it out the PNE this summer and as always, it's a guaranteed sensory overload experience. But if you can slow down and take a little break from eating deep-fried oreos,Canfor's Playhouse Challenge is well worth checking out. Each of the seven playhouses on display uses local forest products and is designed by a renowned architectural firm. Kids are encouraged to interact and engage with the playful designs (think beehive shapes and pirate ships) before they're auctioned off at the beginning of September to raise money for Habitat for Humanity

Vancouver on Its Feet. Frommer's travel website calls Vancouver one of the most walkable cities in the world, noting Stanley Park, False Creek, and Granville Island as particularly idyllic areas to meander through. However, as Carl Funk argues in his recent report entitled “Walkability of transit-oriented development: Evaluating the pedestrian environment of Metro Vancouver’s Regional City Centres” there are definitely things we could be doing better in the pedestrian-accessibility department. As Nathan Pachal summarizes on the Civic Surrey blog, more could be done to widen sidewalks, create segregated bike paths, add connecting streets, and install street furniture at transit hubs like Metrotown and Surrey City Centre. 

Foolish City. And finally, this week The Dependent (by way of the The Tyee) brings us the fascinating story of Joachim Foikis, who, upon receiving Canada Council funding, became Vancouver's "Town Fool" in 1968. Playing with the traditions from Medieval Europe and other cultures, Foikis, dressed in a jester's costume and proceeded to publicly poke fun at social norms and governmental institutions at the time. As The Dependent's Jesse Donaldson describes, "For three years -- starting with his "coming out" at the city's 1967 Canadian Centennial Celebrations (where he was threatened with a knife by a sailor who thought he was a communist) -- he played the Fool, promoting discussion, drawing ire, and promulgating joy, before vanishing just as abruptly as he'd appeared." Despite his playfulness, Foikis' intentions were serious; by making fun of the "rat race" and concepts of social status, he forced observers to re-examine their own civic expectations and assumptions. Great piece, seriously worth a read.

At the MOVeum: 
September 13 - Art Deco Chic: Talk & Tour with Ivan Sayers | Design Challenge Winners Panel 
September 19 - Opening Night - Object(ing): The art/design of Tobias Wong 
September 20 - Built City @MOV: Urban Evolution, Retold 

[Image: Joachim Foikis as the Town Fool. Courtesy of the Vancouver Public Library]


Posted by: Anna Wilkinson on August 21, 2012 at 5:29 pm

Remember how last week we said that BC's push for online voting was a simple tale of convenience in our fast-paced world? As it turns out, it might not be. OpenFile points out why online voting might be more dangerous than you might think. That's right, dangerous. The whole thing got us thinking about how we perceive safety and the different ways that we engage with risk, liability, and uncertainity in Vancouver. So, this week we're looking at the slightly threatening (and also the smelly and the historically biased) side of the city.

Skytrain Safety. The first of many Skytrain fare gates was installed last Monday with the aim of reducing fare evasion and increasing safety for riders. But as OpenFile reports the new system (which won't begin operating until 2013) might make public transit seem safer but will probably do little to actually decrease danger. As TransLink Chief Operating Officer Doug Kelsey suggests, “The keyword is ‘perception.' By having fare gates, it enhances the customers’ perception of the system being safe...Does a light make people safer? I don’t think so, but if it eliminates some shadows and increases the customer’s perception of safety, then great. That’s a secondary benefit for us for sure.”

Odour Laws. Chances are if you've ever spent any time at the corner of Commercial Drive and Hastings, you've smelled something, well, gross. The rendering factory in the area is just one of the facilities that will likely be affected by a new bylaw designed to manage the city's stinkiest smells. High-risk businesses will be required to pay fees of up to $150,000 in order to implement odour management plans.

Getting Into It. There are also dangers associated with leaving some of Vancouver's harsh realities unexamined. For example, as Rebekah Funk argues, terms like ‘urban renewal’ and ‘urban sustainability’ used in place of 'gentrification' can shield people from understanding the detrimental impact of new businesses and higher-income housing on the city's poorest areas. Far from being a cut and dried issue, Funk's article in the current issue of Megaphone Magazine looks at the problematics of building integrated, socially-responsible neighbourhoods in the city. And, in a similarly revealing vein, a recent public intervention campaign aims to draw attention to historical injustices committed by BC's first lieutenant-governor Joseph Trutch against the province's aboriginal peoples. Several stickers reading "Joseph Trutch was a racist bigot” have gone up along Trutch Street. Definitely an attention-grabbing way of fighting historical amnesia.

Getting Cozy on Robson. And lastly, in a move that is making the streets happier, more lively, and ultimately maybe even safer, Robson Street will be filled with giant bean bag chairs for three weeks. The large scale art installation has already got a lot of use from children and adults playing, lounging, and sliding around, since it opened last Wednesday.

At the MOVeum:
September 13 - Art Deco Chic: Talk & Tour with Ivan Sayers | Design Challenge Winners Panel 
September 19 - Opening Night - Object(ing): The art/design of Tobias Wong
September 20 - Opening Day - Object(ing): The art/design of Tobias Wong

[Image: Pop Rocks installation on Robson Street. Photo by David Niddrie]

Posted by: Anna Wilkinson on August 14, 2012 at 9:55 am

MOVments, a museum blog

Controversies in Vancouver, Marpole MiddenThis week, we're engaging with some of the current debates and controversies taking place in Vancouver. From the Olympic Village neighbourhood, to the Vancouver Art Gallery's big move, to the the Marpole Midden, we're lending our ears to some of the city's most passionate voices for a provocative installment of MOVments.

False Creek Comes into Its Own. After years of controversy around the Olympic Village development, the False Creek neighbourhood finally seems to be thriving. As the Globe and Mail reports amenities like an Urban Fare grocery store, a new restaurant with a sizable patio, and the Creekside Community Centre are drawing visitors to the area in droves. Observers have taken note of the suddenness with which this all seemed to happen. UBC architecture professor Patrick Condon describes the phenomenon with a tipping point analogy: “It’s very common to urban areas that suddenly people say, ‘Hey. Let’s go there. That was fun the last time.’ Until that tipping point, people might go there, and say, ‘This isn’t very much fun. There’s not many people here. I don’t think I’ll go back.’”

The 'Pretty Face' Debate. But there are some who would see developments like the Olympic Village as just another testament to Vancouver's tendency to abandon the old, for the new and shiny. Local writer and ranter, Sean Orr for one, thinks that Vancouver is more concerned with its pretty facades than building substantial and meaningful cultural and historical connections. And he seems pretty angry about it. Read his interview with the Westender for an alternative tour of Vancouver that reveals some of the problems related to our constant need for reinvention.

100+ Days of Musqueam Protest. The National Historic Site known as the Marpole Midden is still under threat of development after more than one hundred days of occupation and protest by the Musqueam First Nation. Although the ancient burial ground and village was federally designated as a Historic Site in 1933, the midden on Southwest Marine Drive is on privately owned land. Condominium development had been in the works for a while when it was halted in January after the discovery of human remains. Celia Brauer of the False Creek Watershed Society passionately called for the resolution of the conflict in last week's Georgia Straight. She says, "The Provincial government has the power to overcome the “private property” issue. Future generations are watching. In 2012 swapping Cusnaum [village site] for a less important piece of land and giving a small piece of this Heritage Site back to the Musqueam is the right thing to do."

The VAG's Big Move. This week the Globe and Mail reports on the fascinating machinations behind the Vancouver Art Gallery's proposed move from the provincial courthouse building downtown to a new, yet to be decided, location. Real estate marketer and art collector Bob Rennie and VAG director Kathleen Bartels are two of the most influential and outspoken people in the Vancouver art scene so it's hardly surprising that both have strong opinions about the future of the city's artistic landscape. Notably, Rennie is suggesting splitting the VAG's collections between multiple new locations that would be spread out through the city. Bartels, on the other hand, is firmly in favour of a single new facility which she believes would be better suited to the visitor experience. Whatever the outcome, we are excitedly waiting to see how the discussion develops.

Online Voting. And finally, in slightly less controversial news, BC is considering implementing online voting for municipal and provincial elections. In fact, we think we can quite uncontroversially say: that would be very convenient.

At the MOVeum:
August 16 - Volunteer Information Session
September 20 - Opening Day - Object(ing): The art/design of Tobias Wong

[Image: Village site of Cusnaum, part of the Marpole Midden. Photo by Tad McIlwraith]
Posted by: Amanda McCuaig on August 13, 2012 at 2:44 pm

Curator of the 2009/2010 Ravishing Beasts exhibition (no longer on display), Rachel Poliquin, is on the verge of releasing her new book, The Breathless Zoo: Taxidermy and the Culture of Longing.

About the book, she says:

"Taking off from some of the things I talk about in this blog, my book explores the cultural and poetic history of preserving animals in lively postures from sixteenth-century cabinets of wonders to contemporary animal art. Why does anyone want to preserve an animal, and what does this animal-thing become? I suggest that taxidermy is always entwined with the enduring human longing to find meaning within the natural world. By drawing out the longings at the heart of taxidermy—the longing for wonder, beauty, spectacle, order, narrative, allegory, and remembrance—I explore the animal spectacles we desire to see, human assumptions of superiority, the yearnings for hidden truths within animal form, and the loneliness and longing that haunt our strange human existence, being both within and apart from nature."

If Ravishing Beasts caught your eye, I suspect it this will be a fascinating read for you.

Posted by: Anna Wilkinson on August 7, 2012 at 7:35 am

Okay, everyone, breaking news: it's really hot outside. So hot, that you probably shouldn't even be reading this. You should be out there enjoying all the park sitting, patio basking, ocean swimming, and beach lounging that your rain-soaked little hearts desire. However, if for some reason you're cooped up in front of your computer, you can at least do the next best thing and read about being outside in this week's MOVments.

Sleeping Out. This week OpenFile gives us the inside scoop on sleeping outdoors. As Jesse Donaldson reports "sleeping out" (in contrast to homelessness) is "a deliberate, conscious decision by otherwise normal, able-bodied folks to forego conventional accommodation (especially in the milder months), to live differently and save money in a very expensive city." Definitely one way of avoiding high rent at least for a little while.

Skinny Streets. The Vancouver Courier makes a compelling and historically-grounded call for "thin" streets in a recent article. Allen Garr explains that many of our wider streets, designed prior to the 1928 Bartholomew plan, were originally meant to be major transportation routes. But in some cases this never came to be, and we were left with unnecessarily wide thoroughfares, little traffic, and what is perhaps a remarkable opportunity to fill in the space with affordable, higher density housing.

Outdoor Art. With City Councillor Raymond Louie calling for an end to the fee for painting murals on homes and businesses, some of us are wondering what a proliferation of Vancouver wall art would look like. Andy Longhurst of The City blog is concerned that the powers that be would restrict the expression of politically-critical public art. As he says, "We’ll have to see where this goes."

Zipping Along. Vancouver was recently voted best car-sharing city in the Northwest by Sightline Daily. Beating out Portland and Seattle, it seems that our fair city stole the show with its three strong car-sharing services and large number of vehicles available for people who want the convenience of occasional access to a car without the high costs of ownership. Read on for the low-down on car-sharing companies like Car2Go, Modo, and Zipcar.

At the MOVeum:
August 16 - Volunteer Information Session
September 20 - Opening Day - Object(ing): The art/design of Tobias Wong

[Image: Ferguson Point Tea House, Stanley Park postcard, c.1960. From the MOV Collection H2008.23.2070]