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Posted by: Amanda McCuaig on February 18, 2013 at 2:27 pm

When Viviane, Curatorial Lead of Sex Talk in the City, began her research on vibrators she was a little surprised to find that the Museum already had one in its collection.

But one vibrator does not a vibrator display make. To flesh out the history of the vibrator Viviane connected with Vancouver’s own Womyns’Ware, to see if they would be willing to loan their impressive collection of vintage vibes.

I got to take a field trip out to Commercial Drive where I spent a fun-filled hour with Womyn’sWare director Otter Luis photographing pieces from their collection and laughing about how happy the people depicted on the packaging were (we’re pretty sure that one couple pictured were happily doing their taxes together).

Sex Talk in the City features 11 vibes from Womyns'Ware's collection.

Womyns’Ware is a leader in Canada for designing healthy sex toys and for their innovative way of thinking about operating a sex toy store. A big part of what they do is make asking questions easy – Just a few years ago I went in with my mom and one of her best (male) friends because he was curious as to why a sex store would have such an accessible store front and just HAD to check it out. It was his first time ever in a sex store, and the staff let him ask a million questions. He’s ranted about the great experience ever since.

Andrea Dobbs of Womyns’Ware wrote a post for us last year about society’s fears around sexuality, and it’s a must read if you haven’t already.

This Thursday Womyns’Ware is coming to the MOV to lead a workshop in designing for pleasure! So come, get inspired by vibes from the past 100 years, and design your own while learning about the history of sexual satisfaction by technology historian Rachel Maines (whose research inspired the movie Hysteria).

Posted by: Anna Wilkinson on February 12, 2013 at 5:23 pm

 

 
With our Sex Talk in the City exhibit opening this week, we've been talking a lot about the history of sexuality and the controversies that have raged around subjects like women's reproductive health and birth control in the city throughout the years. It seems whether in the bedroom, the streets, or the classroom the topic of sex has caused even ordinarily reserved city-dwellers to express some pretty strong emotions. In that spirit, this week we're talking about some other (not quite so sexy) issues that tend to get us all worked up, namely: Surrey's bad reputation, our city's film industry, public transit funding woes, and who could forget, affordable housing.
 
Hating on Surrey? Well, now there's a t-shirt for that. Surrey entrepreneur Don Pitcairn is selling t-shirts with the logos “The future dies here" and “Better safe than Surrey” spoofing the city's official motto and its reputation for violent crime. Not surprisingly, this has angered city officials who have sent Pitcairn a letter asking him to cease and desist the production of the clothing line. However, it looks as though those of you still wanting to buy and sport the controversial tees will be able to, given that parody and satire are protected by our national copyright law. 
 
Film Industry Love. Today (February 12) City Council will respond to a motion proposed by Mayor Gregor Robertson asking for a "national approach" to the film and television industry in Canada. Motivation for the motion comes from observations that Vancouver's tax credit offers for filmmakers have become less competitive, causing some productions to move to Ontario and Quebec. Bill Bennett, the BC minister responsible for film, has said that while the province is certainly on board with supporting film, it is unlikely that it will increase the millions of dollars already subsidizing the industry. Keep your eyes out for developments on this one.
 
Frustrated with Increased Transit Fares? There's good news, they won't be increasing again soon. Well, not exactly, anyways. Metro Vancouver mayors recently converged to propose five new sources of funding for transportation expansion projects such as light rail in Surrey and rapid transit along Broadway. In a letter to Transportation Minister Mary Polak the mayors stated that while "economic and political limits have been reached on the rates of existing taxes and fares" they would like to see funding come from sources such as a vehicle registration fee and a regional sales tax for Metro Vancouver (that could generate up to $250 million per year). The province is currently considering the recommendations outlined in the letter. 
 
Hoping for (Affordable) Homes. Finally, we thought we'd turn your attention to a project dealing with another touchy subject: affordable housing. As this Tyee piece explains, the Housing Matters Media Project is "a series of 11 digital short films produced by Lower Mainland youth who've been affected by the region's ever-growing need for affordable housing." They will hold their second screening of short films on February 20 at SFU. Get out there and check out these provocative, compelling pieces, if you haven't already!
 
At the MOVeum:
 
 
[Image: Quotes above the entrance to the Sex Talk in the City exhibit]
 
Posted by: Anna Wilkinson on February 5, 2013 at 6:28 pm

Innovators, thinkers, and trailblazers across the city are rejoicing at the news that the ever-popular speaker series, TED, is moving its headquarters to Vancouver in 2014. But that's not the only kind of talk happening around town this week: the city held open houses last week surrounding new proposed bike lanes that may make access to the MOV and Point Grey much safer, complaints are flying around a failed energy-efficiency program, and after much discussion, the city will be responding to a recommendation made by the B.C.’s missing women inquiry. Of course, after all of the talk is done, we're hoping to see some very real results, practical solutions, and measurable progress.

Bike Lane Buzz. Chances are if you've ever ridden a bike or walked the streets near the MOV you've encountered high traffic volumes and at least a couple inconvenient crosswalks. A city proposal shopped around at three open houses last week aims to change this. As the city website states, "The Point Grey Road - Cornwall Avenue Corridor Active Transportation Project proposes creating a safe, convenient and comfortable connection for pedestrians and cyclists between Burrard Bridge and Jericho Beach." You can find the all the proposed solutions here and can join the conversation by taking a survey here.
 
Home Energy Loan Fail. A loan program for homeowners looking to reduce their house's carbon footprint looks as though it will no longer be offered by the city. As The Vancouver Sun reports, "Had the program worked as well as city officials and politicians hoped it could, it would have led to as many as 3,000 homes a year being retrofitted with high-efficiency furnaces, hot water heaters, windows and insulation." But complaints surrounding the loan ranged from interest rates being too high to feeling that it wasn't worth it to extend the maximum amount, $10,000, over a 10-year period. As it stands, it's unclear if the city will continue to be involved in the program. 
 
Sex Trade Liaisons. Meanwhile, the city will be hiring two liaisons to work with the sex trade community following commissioner Wally Oppal's recommendation. As the Georgia Straight explains, the new employees will liaise with the city, community groups, police, and those involved in survival sex trade to prevent and reduce violence. However, another of Oppal's five recommendations is currently being neglected: the WISH Drop-In Centre which provides 24-hour emergency services to women is suffering a lack of funding which Mayor Robertson finds concerning. Task force members and city staff will meet again in June to discuss solutions and their progress. 

 
At the MOVeum:
 
 
[Image: Burrard Bridge bike lane, 2008. Photo by Ariane Colenbrander]

 

Posted by: Anna Wilkinson on January 29, 2013 at 10:17 am

In the aftermath of the Waldorf closing the city is looking into mapping cultural resources like arts venues and spaces that resonate with city dwellers. Over at MOVments, this got us thinking about the other kinds of maps we're making and how they're helping to locate us and more importantly, guide us where we're going. Read on for details on a blueprint for a new food strategy, a development plan for a growing municipality, and how neighbourhood rebranding may (or may not) be helping East Vancouverites envision where they live.

Edible Streets. Imagine a city with more farmers markets, community gardens, rooftop plots, and edible landscaping. These are just a few of the actions outlined in the new food strategy being considered by city council. As the Vancouver Sun blog describes "City council intends the Vancouver of the near future to be a model system of just and sustainable locally-grown food, a city as pretty as it is delicious." This deliciously sustainable city would have at its centre a green economy which would incubate food businesses and create infrastructure for food processing and distribution.
 
City of Cities. And speaking of infrastructure, the City of Surrey has challenges of its own as its six, distinct town centres continue to grow. As the Vancouver Sun reports while the city offers (relatively) affordable housing and a myriad of parks and recreation opportunities, it still does not have a cultural infrastructure in the form of large-scale entertainment venues; for these, many still head to Vancouver. President of the Surrey Board of Trade, Anita Huberman, is looking forward to a city filled with "state-of-the-art elegant spaces for arts, events, [and] theatres" that would keep people working and playing there.
 
The Neighbourhood Formerly Known As...Hastings-Sunrise has recently been rebranded as Vancouver's East Village but residents have been slow to adopt the name, and some are not so sure the reference to the Manhattan neighbourhood is apt. Developers are quick to point out that the new name isn't meant to replace the old one but rather to help build a cohesive identity for businesses in the area. As executive director of the neighbourhood's Business Improvement Association, Patricia Barnes describes, "It’s a marketing and branding strategy for the business improvement area, within the Hastings-Sunrise neighbourhood. Critics have their own opinions, but it is not a renaming of the whole neighbourhood.” 
 
Spotlight on Vancouver. And finally, if you didn't get a chance to see Marpole and downtown all lit up this weekend, check out these photos of the playful Limelight: Saturday Night art installation. 
 
At the MOVeum:
 
 
[Image: Plan of the City of Vancouver, 1910. Courtesy of the City of Vancouver Archives, MAP 387]
Posted by: Mitra Mansour on January 29, 2013 at 12:00 am

[What is Upcycled Urbanism?]

What do you get when you gather some of Vancouver's most talented designers in one room at Museum of Vancouver for the first Upcycled Urbanists meeting? Exploration, play, great questions, even greater conversations, and some amazing ideation. We can't wait to see what our Upcycled Urbanists have planned for our Design Sunday Workshop Charettes!

Workshops start on March 3, so make sure you RSVP and get over here to start building!

Below: Upcycled Urbanism Project Partners from SALA, VPSN, Maker Faire, and Spacing Vancouver

[What is Upcycled Urbanism?]

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Posted by: Mitra Mansour on January 28, 2013 at 12:00 am

[What is Upcycled Urbanism?]

Congratulations to Eric, Jessika, Lindsay, and Minnie on having their modular unit designs chosen as the four finalists to be used by our Partners at SALA, Vancouver Public Space Network, Maker Faire, and Spacing Vancouver to help create a collaborative public realm installation!

The above images are work by UBC School of Landscape Architecture and Architecture Students (Left to Right) - Lindsay Duthie, Eric Lajoie,  Jessika Kliewer, Minnie Chan.

[What is Upcycled Urbanism?]

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Posted by: Mitra Mansour on January 21, 2013 at 12:00 am

[What is Upcycled Urbanism?]

We popped in to help crit the very inventive modular unit designs the students in Bill Pechet's Studio have been creating for Upcycled Urbanism. We were really inspired by all the fabulous designs the students created and very excited to sit on a panel with Marlon Blackwell!

Work by UBC School of Landscape Architecture and Architecture Material Cultures Studio Students - Mahmoud Bakayoko, Minnie Chan, Lindsay Duthie, Jessika Kliewer, Margarita Krivolutskaya, Eric Lajoie, Mallory Stuckel, Shiloh Sukkau, Avery Titchkosky, Lorinc Vass

Photo Credit: Shiloh Sukkau, UBC SALA Student

[What is Upcycled Urbanism?]

Posted by: Anna Wilkinson on January 14, 2013 at 12:11 pm
 
Happy 2013, MOVers! We hope you all had a warm, cozy, and cheerful holiday season ... because that's all about to come to an end. The new year has us confronting a monster (bridge), a bizarre beast (in the form of a poodle sculpture on Main), and the demise of an East Van cultural space (R.I.P. Waldy). Not to mention the economic fallout from the end of the NHL lockout and fears surrounding a new megapub in the Olympic Village. But don't be frightened, gentle readers: on the flip side of these changes and challenges there are opportunities for innovation, evolution, and what we can only hope will be constructive dialogue.
 
Killer Bridge? John Metcalfe over at Atlantic Cities makes the argument that the Port Mann Bridge is out to destroy its human creators (or anyone who crosses its path) pointing to the ice that it threw down on drivers on December 19th. However, it looks like there's plenty more blame to go around: according to this opinion piece from The Tyee, Transportation Minister Polak put the blame on drivers themselves for a January 3rd crash. We suppose one could also blame insufficient de-icing and poor road-condition forecasting. Killer bridge or no killer bridge, let's all just be careful out there.
 
Poodle Party. A new seven-foot poodle sculpture at Main and 18th is causing a little bit of controversy. As the Vancouver Observer reports, at least one resident is confused about how the public art piece, which was sponsored by the city and TransLink, is meant to represent the neighbourhood. Martin Stoakes complains that "Instead of hiring an artist from the neighbourhood, they hired an artist from Montreal who after walking up and down the street decided a poodle was the best reflection of the community." Check it out in front of the new Shopper's Drug Mart and decide for yourself. 
 
Street Economics. One of the most commented-on pieces of news coming out of the city last week was the closing of the financially troubled Waldorf Hotel. As soon as the press release came out, Interneters of all ilks began eulogizing the East Van cultural institution while bad-mouthing the condo developers who purchased it. See what Mayor Robertson had to say about it here, and why there may still be hope for an arts and cultural hub in the area. Another piece of economic news that we hope won't come true? Proposed higher fines for sleeping outdoors and illegal vending aimed at the homeless.
 
Is Hockey Bad for Business? Don Cayo at the Vancouver Sun says yes. He explains that the end of the NHL lockout may actually have a negative impact (albeit slight) on the city's economy: "The reason is, when you think about it, pretty obvious. When people can't spend their money on pricey sports tickets, they spend it on other stuff instead." And a large portion of the money going towards those pricey tickets is ending up with players and owners who are less likely to spend it in the city right away. So go ahead and get excited for the return of hockey, just don't get that excited.
 
Trouble Brewing. Lastly, some residents of the Olympic Village are protesting the opening of the CRAFT Beer Market in the Salt Building, claiming that it will devalue real estate in the area. Worries range from traffic congestion to increased night-time noise and rowdiness. We're hoping that if the project goes through, "rowdiness" will translate into "liveliness" or - even better - "vibrant nightlife." 
 
At the MOVeum:
 
 
[Image: Port Mann Bridge under construction, 2012. Photo by Ken_Lord via Flickr]
Posted by: Charles Montgomery on January 7, 2013 at 12:00 am

Have you ever wished you could redesign and rebuild part of Vancouver's public realm?

Architecture and design is an inescapable part of the Vancouver experience, yet there are few chances for people to influence these designs outside of academic settings, City Hall, or architectural offices. Sometimes it can feel like the city and its spaces are created by unseen hands in some faraway design star chamber. And let’s face it: the designs we live with on Vancouver’s streets are not always as creative and risky as they could be.

What if we could invite everyone to re-imagine aspects of urban design and then actually empower them to build prototypes of their ideas? This is the question that gave birth to Upcycled Urbanism: a design+build project for everyone.

What is Upcycled Urbanism?

Upcycled Urbanism is a participatory project that invites students, artists, designers, makers, and anyone with a even a smidgen of creativity to reimagine and rebuild parts of Vancouver’s public realm.

Working together, teams of participants will design and build prototypes using modular blocks of expanded polystyrene containing material salvaged from the construction of the Port Mann Bridge.

Raw material, ready for recycling into public design in the yard at Mansonville Plastics

In the yard at Mansonville Plastics: raw material, ready for recycling into public design.

First, students from the UBC School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture created building block prototypes. Then, at a series of workshops in March 2013, teams will brainstorm, sketch, and model how to use these blocks for new public design ideas with the help of design experts from our partner organizations. Everyone is welcome. Finally, teams will come together again to actually build their creations at an outdoor design/build spectacle in July. The wider community will be invited to help, critique, encourage the builders, and occupy their creations. Think of it as a combination workshop/street celebration/public art unveiling!

Materials will then be re-recycled for industrial use.

Upcycled Urbanism is a partnership between Museum of Vancouver, the School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture (SALA) at the University of British Columbia, the Vancouver Public Space Network, Maker Faire Vancouver, and Spacing Magazine, with generous additional support from SALA, Mansonville Plastics and the Vancouver Foundation.

Why are we doing it?

By inviting people to re-imagine public art and street amenities, we hope that Upcycled Urbanism will provoke conversations about public realms and design culture in Vancouver, foster collaboration and connection between people of diverse backgrounds and talents, and give participants a greater sense of ownership over the public places they share.

It will also viscerally explore issues of sustainability by removing polystyrene from the waste stream, empowering people to build with it in a large-scale public spectacle, and finally returning the material for further recycling.

Workshops bring people together for design and creation.

How did Upcycled get started?

Upcycled Urbanism began as an idea and grew into a collaborative community effort.

Back in the summer of 2012, we mentioned MOV’s participatory design aspirations to Erick Villagomez, editor of Spacing Vancouver, and he suggested the perfect medium to make this dream come true: expanded polystyrene, or EPS. This material, sometimes incorrectly mistaken for Styrofoam, is super-light and easy to cut into shapes.

Best of all, said Erick, we have a local, green source for it! Langley-based Mansonville Plastics actually diverts blocks of used EPS bound for the landfill and grinds the stuff down in order to produce entirely new, usable blocks. (In 2012, Mansonville supplied the EPS filling for the wondrous Pop Rocks installation at Robson Square.)

Mansonville generously offered to fabricate a mountain of blocks for the project. Then Spacing, Maker Faire Vancouver, the Vancouver Public Space Network, and UBC’s School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture (SALA) all came on board as partners.

 SALA’s Bill Pechet offered to put his design studio students to work creating EPS building block prototypes. Then, with a small grant from the Vancouver Foundation, we were off and running.

Who can get involved?

You! One of the project’s goals is to get design experts and students thinking and playing with people from other backgrounds. So whether you want to contribute to the design conversation, help build with the blocks, or just watch, you are welcome to join us during our program in the spring and summer of 2013.

We are limited only by our dreams! Image: Tavis Brown's photostream

Activities:

March workshops @Museum of Vancouver:

Sunday, Mar 3:    Designing Together: a primer on how to give fun, inclusive design workshops

Sunday, Mar 10:  Building Public Hallucinations: a design journey with SALA and Spacing Vancouver

Sunday, Mar 17:  Block Talk: creating spaces that bring people together, with SALA and Vancouver Public Space Network

Sunday, Mar 24:  Shock and Surprise: public design juxtapositions, with SALA and Maker Faire Vancouver

Workshop Time: 2:00pm–4:00pm

July Design build event: watch this space for date/location!

 

 

 

Posted by: Anna Wilkinson on December 18, 2012 at 12:36 pm

We've all heard certain stereotypes used to describe Vancouver before (Vancouverites = yoga-fanatic, organic juice-guzzlers). But as is the nature of cliches, while they may contain a kernel of truth, they also ignore a deeply layered lived experience that is not so easily summed up in buzzwords and cute expressions. In MOVments this week we're looking at the city through the lens of a few well-worn adages and in the process deconstructing and complicating some of our civic assumptions.

(Heritage) Home is Where the Heart Is. This story from the Vancouver Sun about the relationship between heritage buildings and densification got us thinking about the notion of "home" and our historically-rooted aesthetic expectations. As the article suggests, in a city that is constantly changing, Vancouverites are being forced to reevaluate what the "quintessential Canadian home" will look like in the future. It also poses an interesting idea from local historian John Atkin: while there seems to be an "inherent" cultural beauty to heritage houses, given time, Atkin believes that our contemporary glass towers will also take on a similar emotional and nostalgic resonance.
 
The More Things Change..."Housing costs are high, but we can't afford to throw up our hands and say we can't afford to build many more houses until costs come down again. In a city growing as fast as ours this would be the counsel of stupidity and despair. We must have more homes and we must have them at prices people can afford to pay." Sound familiar? It was pulled from a Vancouver Sun article from 1958. The Tyee reflects on the findings of the Mayor's Task Force on Housing Affordability, putting them into historical context for us in this little article from a few weeks back. Nothing like some good old-fashioned archival research to shed some light on contemporary issues. Great read!
 
Beggars Can't Be Choosers. Chances are you've heard of Mark Brand's sandwich token program at Save-On-Meats. And chances are if you know about it, you also know that it's been surrounded by controversy from the get go. The Mainlander laid down some harsh criticism of the project that encourages restaurant goers to purchase meal tokens for panhandlers in the area, in this recent article. Peter Driftmier argues that the program's basic conceit ("beggars can't be choosers") is based on an assumption that the homeless cannot be trusted to make "appropriate" purchases with money given to them. He says,"Instead of playing into stereotypes about poor people and tokenizing the poor, it’s best to trust and empower all residents to make the best food choices possible for themselves and their families." Stephen Quinn further complicates the story in his piece for the Globe and Mail where he provides a more nuanced perspective on Brand's social enterprise but also ponders the efficacy of treating the symptoms of poverty rather than the causes.
 
At the MOVeum:
 
January 17 - Built City@MOV
 
[Image: English Bay, c. 1937. Courtesy of the City of Vancouver Archives CVA 1376-569

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