This workshop series invites participants to explore the wider issues and challenges in Vancouver through a design lens.
Sunday afternoons (2:30-5:00pm) throughout April, the Museum will curate a series of playful explorations and thoughtful workshops in conjunction with the Your Future Home exhibition and its central themes: Affordability, Density, Mobility and Public Space. Each workshop session can be experienced as a standalone event, or participate in all of them for maximum engagement!
April 3: Modify Vancouver: An Introduction to Design Fiction
Hosted by the Vancouver Design Nerds, this workship will introduce participants to Design Fiction through the research of guest speaker Ian Wojtowicz. It will spark creativity, collaboration and a methods for generating conceptual ideas as they pertain to local issues around Vancouver’s mobility and public space.
Participants will work in small groups to put theory into action, re-imagining a Vancouver without any limits. Designers use the practice of Design Fiction to propose and provoke discussion about what is and what could be, to produce projects that sit between the plausible and imaginary. This is a unique technique that takes a speculative approach to creative work; think science fiction for the present! Join the Design Nerds and use your creative imagination to design near future realities around such areas as public transportation and public space.
April 10: Dear Vancouver: An Experimental Letter Writing Campaign on Public Space
This workshop invites participants to brainstorm and create a new and experimental campaign for communicating with, through and across the city of Vancouver. Workshop coordinators - Justin Langlois and Alicia Medina Laddaga - will lead participants through creative forms of writing to synthesize letters that will be documented and subsequently distributed though post and/or online.
Letter writing campaigns have long been the first line of action by citizens asking for change in their communities. Whether writing to city hall, letters to the editor, or even posters in public places, the ways in which we address our city and one another goes a long way in shaping how we think about and live within Vancouver. Dear Vancouver workshop will implement collective letter drafting of enthusiastic praise, important demands, and open-ended questions to get to know where we live, and how we live in Vancouver. No experience in letter writing is necessary. Non-English speaking community members are highly encouraged to attend.
April 17: Make It Rain
This workshop, facilitated by members of The Vancouver Public Space Network (VPSN), explores the concept of making public spaces in rainy climates usable and enjoyable all year round. Participants will review and discuss precedent studies, followed by a “live” analysis of remote video feeds from around the city of Vancouver. In an effort to work through solutions for more rain friendly city spaces, participants will be asked, ‘what are the impacts of a predominantly rainy climate on the design of public spaces?’
This workshop will develop materials and documentation that will be used as a basis for advocacy and education directed towards making Vancouver’s public spaces better adapted for the rainy months. After participating in the Make it Rain workshop you will be inspired to connect and celebrate one of Vancouver’s most overlooked assets: the rain.
April 24: Improv-ing the City. Designing Policies through Participative Theatre
Alec Balasescu and Jonathan Bleackley of Civic Renewal Lab host a role-playing and improv workshop that will explore Vancouver’s development, housing, and affordability policies. Guided by the question, "for whom is the city built?" and borrowing from similar policy-based theatre work, participants will be led in acting out the impact of key housing policies and policy questions, with an interest towards helping residents understand the stakes, opinions and goals of the various players involved, and why finding solutions can be difficult.
Actors will be assigned diverse roles such as homeowner, renter, real estate agent, foreign investor, contractor banker. They will be provided with a current or proposed policy and be asked to act out the implications of that policy. The eventual goal of Improv-ing the City is to help participants better understand the complexity of the issues, what is causing the real estate crisis, and identify what policy changes Vancouver could adopt moving forward to address the problem.
This event has been canceled but may be rescheduled in the future.
Andy Yan discusses the City's future and the Your Future Home exhibition on CBC's Our Vancouver with Gloria Macarenko.
Gregory Dreicer and Richard Henriquez discuss Your Future Home on Global News.
Cover story from The WestEnder: The Museum of Vancouver’s newest exhibition looks to empower residents to shape their city’s future.
Museum of Vancouver exhibit looks to the future, via Vancouver Courier
"Your Future Home lets you visualize how this city’s future might look, instead of just reading about it. In fact, the exhibit looks like it might be so aesthetically pleasing, interactive, and entertaining that you might stop worrying—for an hour or two, anyway—about how you’re ever going to afford a home in this town." - via Georgia Straight exhibition review and photo gallery.
Your Future Home statistics curator Andy Yan declares 91% of Vancouver homes valued at more than 1 million dollars, via Global News.
Maike Evers from City Lights on Novus TV explores the Your Future Home exhibiiton.
Gregory Dreicer previews Your Future Home on Shaw Around Town.
"An ambitious new exhibition, currently on display at the Museum of Vancouver, is turning heads and spurring heated discussions about pressing topics." Your Future Home in Your Future City by Canadian Architect.
Podcast with Scalena Real Estate's Adam and Matt. Listen here.
Input from Aboriginal community members is integral to the process of creating usable and culturally meaningful built spaces for people in their daily lives.
At MOV’s Built City Talk on October 8, architects Lola Sheppard, Luugigyoo Patrick Reid Stewart, and city planner and analyst William Trousdale provided insightful thoughts on their work with aboriginal communities. Most revealing were their ideas on how architecture has a lot to learn from the communities they serve. Lola and William spoke humbly of careful listening and looking that needs to take place. This involves adapting and translating the ideas discussed with aboriginal communities into built form. Central to their discussion was thinking about how people will use buildings over a season, and the best positioning for building entrances and overall structures on the land.
Lola acknowledged that the history of Nunavut is immersed in colonialism which can be visibly seen in the southern architecture of the buildings—she emphasizes that this was not nearly as dynamic as the culture it was trying to serve.
Lola reinforced this point with a powerful message voiced by Sheila Watt-Cloutier from The Right to be Cold (2006):
“We are an adaptable people. We’ve had to be. We’ve weathered this storm of modernization fairly well - going from dog teams to snowmobiles, and flying jumbo jets and going from igloo huts to permanent homes, and of course, going from our environment - which is our supermarket - to now having supermarket-like stores in communities - all within a few decades. This has not been without consequences.”
As Patrick explained, the federal government tried to impose Canadian culture and buildings on the landscape. This is evident in the southern style architecture that still dominates many parts of Nunavut.
As an architect who is proudly representing his aboriginal heritage, Patrick sees indigenous cultural practices, such as basket weaving, as inspirational concepts for architects building for and with First Nations communities as it speaks to their identity. Patrick is an architect who acts as a facilitator and designs with and for aboriginal communities.
Similarly, Lola engages in careful listening and learning about the land with communities, and views this as crucial for developing new architectural structures for people in Nunavut.
Lola views the Inuit culture as incredibly dynamic – people in Nunavut are living in a radically changing region climatically, economically, and culturally. For instance, youth learn how to hunt with their elders, as well as engage online using social media tools and technology to create and share their own hip-hop music. Lola suggests that this forms part of an emerging urbanism in Nunavut, and she continues to contemplate the future role of architecture in this.
Lola poses this intriguing question: Can architecture be used as a tool of empowerment for aboriginal communities in the Arctic? Through a project she worked on with students, Nunavut-based organizations, Inuit community members, local artists, and architects based in the north, future spaces are imagined for Nunavut cities and towns to try and address their daily needs.
MOV invites you to come explore architecture’s future role for Nunavut in Arctic Adaptations: Nunavut at 15 until December 13th, 2015.
Arctic Adaptations: Nunavut at 15 has been organized and curated by Lateral Office, with the support of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada and the Canada Council for the Arts. It is presented and coordinated by the Winnipeg Art Gallery with assistance from the Museums Assistance Program, Department of Canadian Heritage, and presenting sponsor Manulife.
Le cabinet Lateral Office a dirigé et organisé l’exposition intitulée Adaptations à l’Arctique : Nunavut à 15 ans, avec l’aide de l’Institut royal d’architecture du Canada, et du Conseil des arts du Canada. Le Musée des beaux-arts de Winnipeg se chargera de la tournée avec le soutien du Programme d’aide aux musées du ministère du Patrimoine canadien, et du commanditaire principal Manuvie.
Today was a very special day for the team that created c̓əsnaʔəm, The City Before the City. The collaborative series of exhibitions was recognized at Rideau Hall in Ottawa, where the curators were presented with the 2015 Governor General’s History Award for Excellence in Museums, by His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston.
The award recognizes individuals or institutions that have made remarkable contributions to a better knowledge of Canadian history. This year’s winning project is c̓əsnaʔəm, The City Before the City. The exhibition tells the story of c̓əsnaʔəm, one of the largest ancient Musqueam villages and burial sites upon which Vancouver was built. It was jointly curated by the Museum of Vancouver (MOV) in collaboration with the Museum of Anthropology (MOA) at UBC, Musqueam First Nation, and Susan Roy from the University of Waterloo.
“Winning such a prestigious national award is a testament to the hard work, creativity and perseverance of the curatorial teams,” says Nancy Noble, CEO of MOV. “This important exhibition has allowed the Museum to confront its own colonial past, acknowledging the actions of our predecessors and hopefully, in some small way, reconciling the many misconceptions about the Musqueam people, their history and their continued contributions to Vancouver and Canadian society.”
The three-location exhibition intends to generate public discussion about indigenous history, and to raise awareness of the significance of c̓əsnaʔəm for the Musqueam people and for Vancouver. The ancient village of c̓əsnaʔəm was founded about 5,000 years ago at what was then the mouth of the Fraser—the southern border of today’s Marpole neighbourhood.
“c̓əsnaʔəm was a place where families lived and put their people to rest and was a sophisticated society. That’s why the exhibit is called ‘The City Before the City,’ says Jordan Wilson of the MOA and co-curator of the exhibition. “All too often there’s a picture painted of these villages as quite small and primitive, but in fact it was quite a large site, and the Musqueam people played a significant role in shaping the City of Vancouver.”
“Museums are no longer just passive buildings that store old objects. They play an active role in sharing new knowledge,” says Janet Walker, President and CEO of Canada’s History Society, which administers the award. “c̓əsnaʔəm, The City Before the City is a perfect example of how a museum exhibition can counter an existing narrative—that Vancouver is a young city of immigrants—and replace it with a more truthful version of events. In this way, museums help shape our future as well as our past.”
The joint exhibition opened earlier this year at the Museum of Vancouver, the Museum of Anthropology and the Musqueam Cultural Centre, and continues through January 2016. Each location explores different aspects of c̓əsnaʔəm, through artifacts—collected mainly in the 1920s and ‘30s—and new technologies such as 3-D printing.
You can find more information about the exhibition at www.thecitybeforethecity.com.
Since April 23, more than 30,000 visitors to the Museum of Vancouver have had the exciting and astonishing experience of seeing Stefan Sagmeister: The Happy Show in person (a few people didn't actually like it).
With all those visitors, came crazy numbers of social media posts. Thousands of pictures - of gumballs, yellow walls, a giant monkey, digital spider webs, and people riding the stationary bike with a huge neon sign - have filled the people we follow's feeds.
Check out a sampling of those shots below...
Lively Objects brings together artworks that vibrate with mechanical, digital, and magical forces. Installations hidden throughout the Museum’s history galleries awaken our fascination with objects that come to life. The following works will on display through October 12, 2015.
Phone Safe 2 (2015) by Garnet Hertz
Phone Safe 2 is a custom-built safety deposit box that invites people to publicly and voluntarily deposit mobile phones for a set period of time. In doing so, they commit to a short separation from their ubiquitous digital companions.
Topographic Table (2013) by Germaine Koh
Topographic Table recreates the contours of the mountains north of Vancouver. Sensors and Internet-connected electronics embedded in the table’s frame cause it to tremble in response to nearby vibrations and news about earthquakes in the Pacific Northwest. This piece of furniture models the geology and the psychic condition of living near the Cascadia fault line.
Silent Spring (2008) by Wendy Coburn
Silent Spring is a bronze replica of a pesticide sprayer that Coburn found in her neighbourhood. The artist has etched the names of loved ones on the sprayer – a found object re-cast as weapon, monument, and talisman. The sculpture takes its name from Rachel Carson’s 1962 text Silent Spring, which warned of the dangers of synthetic pesticides.
Fable for Tomorrow (2008) by Wendy Coburn
Silhouettes of insects swarm over the imploring bodies of two Victorian ceramic babies. This poignant work by Wendy Coburn is named Fable For Tomorrow after the first chapter of Rachel Carson’s book Silent Spring – an allegory describing a rural village that falls prey to a strange silence as white dust covers the countryside.
Phantom House (2010) by Judith Doyle / Technical assistance: Ian Murray
After the sudden death of her mother and father, Judith Doyle began building models of her family home in game engines and virtual environments. Phantom House is a ghostly suburban dwelling, constructed in SecondLife. The luminous structure is suspended somewhere between real and virtual, remembered and forgotten, inhabited and abandoned.
Splish Splash One (1974) by Norman White
This prototype for a large light mural commissioned for the foyer of CBC’s Vancouver offices simulates raindrops falling on the surface of a pond. It is an early example of an artistic exploration of the complex effects that emerge from the simple lifelike system of a cellular automaton – a light/logic grid in which each cell is programmed to switch on or off in relation to its neighbours.
Go Go Gloves (2005) by Kate Hartman
Put these gloves on and, like a digital puppeteer, you will be able to control the movement of the dancers on screen. With images drawn from 1960s McCall Needlework & Crafts magazine, Go-Go Gloves pays homage to the history of women’s “handiwork” and draws attention to the ways in which the female body is manipulated through fashion.
End of Empire (2011) by Simone Jones and Lance Winn
Andy Warhol’s 1964 film Empire is a single shot of the Empire State Building that lasts eight hours and five minutes. In End of Empire Simone Jones and Lance Winn revisit this iconic film post-9/11 and the 2008 financial collapse. A custom-built machine projects a video image of the Empire State Building onto the gallery wall, eventually revealing its disappearance from the Manhattan skyline with an eerie, mechanical neutrality.
Device for the Elimination of Wonder (2012-) by Steve Daniels
This simple kinetic system is obsessed with quantifying its environment. A metallic bob takes measurements, which the device renders in grey scale, continuously dropping pages of data to the floor below. This single-minded machine inhabits the gallery with a useless intensity.
The Canadian Committee on Public History awarded its 5th annual Public History Prize Tuesday at the annual meeting of the Canadian Historical Association in Ottawa. The winning project emerged from a curatorial partnership between the Museum of Vancouver, Museum of Anthropology, University of Waterloo, and Musqueam Nation. The collaboration culminated with the creation of c̓əsnaʔәm: the city before the city, a multi-site exhibition project.
This multi-disciplinary, community-based Indigenous research project resulted in a series of three museum exhibitions (all currently on display) at the Museum of Vancouver (2015-2020), Museum of Anthropology, University of British Columbia (2015-2016), and Musqueam Cultural Education Resource Centre (2015-2016).
c̓əsnaʔәm: the city before the city examines the history of Vancouver from the point of view of the Musqueam First Nation. It brings a critical history of city building, colonialism and dispossession, museum collecting practices, and Indigenous activism to public audiences. The project also engages many varied groups in discussions about conflicting and complex interpretations of Indigenous history and heritage sites as well as current debates about heritage and development in the city.
As Musqueam cultural advisor Larry Grant explains, “c̓əsnaʔәm: the city before the city aims at ‘righting history’ by creating a space for Musqueam to share their knowledge, culture and history and to highlight the community’s role in shaping the City of Vancouver.”
“We are thrilled that the committee has recognized this project as an example of innovative scholarship and public engagement,” says Susan Roy, historian at the University of Waterloo and MOV guest curator.
The award recognizes work that achieves high standards of original research, scholarship, and presentation; brings an innovative public history contribution to its audience; and serves as a model for future work, advancing the field of public history in Canada.
Upon accepting the award in Ottawa, Roy shared, "The c̓əsnaʔәm exhibition team is honoured to receive this acknowledgement that recognizes the importance of developing highly collaborative curatorial practices to reflect and promote new understanding of Indigenous history in Canada."
More information about the c̓əsnaʔәm: the city before the city exhibitions can view found here: www.thecitybeforethecity.com.
More information about past Public History Prize winners can be viewed here: http://www.cha-shc.ca/english/what-we-do/cha-prizes/public-history-prize.html#sthash.h4gwPXSu.LEMb9OLQ.dpbs
The Happy Show asked "How Happy Are You? The results are in...
There's a definite trend towards the high end of the graph here, with #10 being the first tube to be cleaned out. The gumball machines were refilled today, so we can start this experiment over again. What do these indications of our happiness mean? Exhibition designer Stefan Sagmeister sheds some light on Vancouver's overall happiness levels (remember this report?), and feeling like a '10.'
Below is an excerpt from Sagmeister's interview with Vancouver Review Media...
VRM: The timing couldn’t be more perfect. Your show opens in the same week a study is reported to show that Vancouver is the unhappiest city in the country!
Sagmeister: I saw that too and I understand that the research was pretty good, meaning that it had been conducted by proper people with proper methods. But the interpretation of it, I thought, was a joke. If you just read down to the fifth or sixth line it shows that the average person in Vancouver feels like a 7.8.
I have a lot of data on myself from the last six years using exactly the same system (of measuring people’s happiness on a scale of 0 to 10). If I had a 7.8 week, well, that was a damn fantastic week, an excellent week! So that there would be any complaints about “Oh my god! We are unhappy because we are only 7.8 on an average!” is ridiculous. Secondly, they were complaining that only 30% of people in Vancouver feel like a 9 or 10. I mean, who the fuck feels like a 9 or a 10? I don’t know anybody who feels like a 9 or 10 on an average.
In a period when I was on drugs and had fallen deeply in love I had several “10” days in a row, but this was a very particular and singular time in my life. I don’t know anybody who could say of them selves that they feel like a 10 for any prolonged period. But to me all this stuff is inconsequential. The fact that some people in some town in Quebec feel 0.3 points better or whatever, is immaterial. At the same time I do understand the problem of if you’re young, and the real estate costs are so beyond you that you can’t aspire to it, then that’s a real problem.
Read the full post here.
Museums like to show off their collections to the public. It’s rarely the other way around. And yet, the Museum of Vancouver is now scouting for the nifty, funky, unique private collections in the region for an upcoming exhibition.
Since beginning the search I’ve had several conversations with some incredible local collectors. A few months ago, I came across Lyanne Smith’s collections on Vancouver transit history. Listening to her talking about her collection was mesmerizing. I got a crash course on urban history using the lens of public transit from the perspective of someone who knew the biz firsthand. Below is a short Q&A with Lyanne. We’re just warming up here! There will be more on Lyanne and her accomplices (a tight network of local transit historians and collectors).
Please continue to check our blog. We’ll be providing updates on the exhibition planning process, featuring more collector profiles and teasing out some of the larger themes that come up every time we ask the question: why do people collect?
Viviane Gosselin: How would you describe your collection?
Lyanne Smith: My collection is an assortment of transit memorabilia from the Vancouver/Lower Mainland areas. The bulk of the collection consists of historical documentation from each of the operating companies, including National Electric Tramway & Lighting Company, BC Electric (BCE), BC Hydro, Metro Transit, BC Transit, SkyTrain, Translink and Coast Mountain Bus Company. Over the years, I’ve collected several thousands of items.
VG: Why did you start collecting?
LS: I started driving a bus with BC Hydro in 1975 and began collecting various pieces of literature about the transit system at that point. The same year, my parents gave me two “Reddy Kilowatt” items used in BC Electric (BCE) promotional campaigns in the 1950s. Since BCE was the forerunner of the company I was working for, they thought I would like these pieces. It kind of kicked off my collection. My collecting became an addiction after I met several of the old conductors/motormen from BCE in 1990 during the centennial celebrations. Having met these transit pioneers, the collection took an even more personal look at Vancouver’s transit history. In some ways I felt responsible for preserving the memory of men and women who dedicated a big part of their lives in the service of public transportation. Collecting is an emotional thing for me: I get so excited when I pick up a piece I hadn’t seen before! I want to know the whole story behind it.
VG: What kind of collector are you, how do you go about collecting?
LS: I focus on fare/transit tickets, the Buzzer, employee magazines, and promotional material, but I also have coin changers, transfer punches, tokens, and other interesting pieces related to that industry. I was given a lot of items from men and women who had worked with the transit system. I also had one antique dealer who looked for unusual pieces for me. I’ve always been very strategic about going to specific antique stores and shows as well.
VG: What are some of your favourite collection items?
LS: Two of my favourites are the “Reddy Kilowatt” pieces my parents gave me: my father’s tie tack (see below) and my mother’s earrings.
Another favourite is the rarest piece in my collection: one of the only -- if not the only -- remaining ticket from the National Electric Tramway and Lighting Company. This company opened in 1890 and was the precursor of BC Electric. (see below)
VG: Looking at your collection of transit archives, what do you think people living in this region today can learn from that history?
LS: They will quickly realize that politics have always shaped the development of transit systems; Vancouver is no exception. Lack of funding, increased user fares, and the nature of expansions have always been at the centre of debates these past 100 years. When people start delving into the historical literature and primary sources on Vancouver transit, they can see that every decade or two, new ideas were introduced for addressing those issues, so that the system could be maintained and expanded; it’s very typical of any transit system. The thing I would like people to remember about the history of transit in Greater Vancouver is the front line employees who made the system run. Without them, there would be no transit system in the Greater Vancouver area.