billed as a ground-breaking exhibit, mash up: the birth of modern culture at the vancouver art gallery would feature mash up strategies employed by 20th century artists such as picasso, marcel duchamp, jean-luc godard, andy warhol, keith haring and more. it would also be the first time an exhibit would take over the gallery. 371 works by 156 artists, filmmakers, musicians, architects and designers spread out over all four floors. 3 years in the making by 30 curators. that’s what hooked me.
i know i can be hard on our cultural institutions in vancouver, because of the much more amazing things i’ve seen and experienced in cities like new york, san francisco, LA, london and paris. i still view vancouver as a “big small city.” whenever i hear someone rave about our culture offerings, i can’t help but to think that they need to travel more.
so i was très intéressant when i read about the set up and the works to be featured at mash up: the birth of modern culture.
the floors were organized by themes:
floor 1 – the digital age: hacking, remix and the archive in the age of post-production
floor 2 – late 20th century: splicing, sampling and the street in the age of appropriation
floor 3 – the post-war: cut, copy and quotation in the age of mass media
floor 4 – early 20th century: collage, montage and readymade at the birth of modern culture
it was a mix bag. there were a few neat things, a few ok things and lots of meh things. i felt a little duped when the sign outside loudly advertise a work by quentin tarantino, and then it turned out to be just a reel on repeat with a couple scenes from kill bill. same with william burrough with one of his book being displayed, plus 3 recordings. or jean-luc godard’s pierrot le fou and 2 ou 3 choses que je sais d’elle being screened, as well as, one U2 video and one brian eno recording. but the VAG did include works by jean-michel basquiat, jeff koons, andy warhol, marcel duchamp and keith haring, which was good.
here are the things i really liked:
cory arcangel’s recreation of arnold schoenberg’s opus 11 entitled drei klavierstücke (aka three piano pieces). this multi-screen installation featured kitty youtube videos. so fun.
another mountain man aka stanley wong’s exhibition featuring those ubiquitous red, blue and white striped plastic bags commonly used by asian people to store items that they’re hoarding. using these multipurpose striped bags, wong creates large scale and immersive installations.
a recreation of futurist painter and musical composer luigi russolo’s intonarumori, italian for “noise intoners.” russolo developed 27 types of intonarumori with different names according to the sounds they produced: howling, crackling, thunder, crumpling, gurgling, exploding, buzzing and so on.
i absolutely loved the wall sized print of jacque villegle working. i want this on my wall!
but my favourite thing, as i’m sure are many people’s, is barbara kruger work on the walls and floor in the VAG’s rotunda. when you’re on the higher floors, looking down at the philosophical quotes, done in all caps black and white, it’s quite the impressive sight – winding around walls, crawling up staircases and inhabiting niches.
overall, i found mash up: the birth of modern culture to be ambitious and interesting. i’m glad that the VAG decided to shake it up and exhibiting something different and modern (enough with the emily carr’s already). they still have a long way to go to catch up to london, new york, paris and such – but it’s a good start.
for the complete list of works, click here. press play for the slideshow or click here for my flickr.
animals inside out. at first, i wasn’t sure if it could handle it. i thought that i might just walk out after a few steps, a few minutes. i even asked the staff member if anyone’s ever walked out or felt ill by what they saw. and not that it alleviated my concerns, she simply said “yes, lots.”
i’ve been to gunther von hagen’s body worlds exhibit in new york, as well as, in vancouver. although it’s disconcerting to see plastinated humans, i was able to stomach it. for the most part. but animals…. i love animals. i had to give a disclaimer to sean and for him to prepare for me to walk out at any moment.
but i stayed. and i went through the whole exhibit. although it was a bit sad, i felt the exhibit was respectful and educational, bordering on captivating and disturbing.
being sensitive of viewers, i’m not going to post pictures right on my blog. i don’t like being visually assaulted when i’m not expecting it, as i’m sure others don’t either. nothing chaps me more than content that might be disturbing popping up in all its glory, without so much as a warning on my twitter feed.
for our friend’s birthday, we went to locked canada, an escape room on kingsway. escape rooms are somewhat all the rage in vancouver right now, with one popping up every few months. i thought with three hardcore and lifelong gamers on our team, we would for sure have the z apocalypse room beat.
erm, not so much. using up our three clues in the 45 minutes allotted, we were still around 20+ minutes to completing our room. course, we may have been too ambitious, as the success rate is currently holding at 5%.
so, here we are in all our fail glory. if anyone has completed this room, do let me know – i’m not precious about spoilers when it comes to games.
i was headed to the train station when i came upon this young man playing a french song on his accordion. normally, i try to get the hell out of dodge as soon as i can, but this scene stopped me in my tracks. the scene is so french. and it reminds me of when i went to paris.
he brought all his props with him. (the suitcases and portable record player were a nice touch, don’t you think?) and he was dressed like a street urchin. white shirt half tucked into his flood water pants and the no socks look. lace-up shoes, suspenders and that floppy hair. and he played piaf in front of the art gallery. because, of course.
this is how you’d get me to stick around after work.
on what was without a doubt, the hottest day of the year (so far), sean and i made our way out to maple ridge to hang out with some hawks at raptors ridge, a conservation for birds of prey.
for the hour and half that we were there, we got a tour of the facility, got some basic instructions on how to handle a harris hawk and a red tail hawk, went for a forest walk with the hawks on our fist and then free fly the raptors in their flying field.
some photos of our day:
i did have to overlook the fact that the handler was feeding them little pieces of chick chicks for food and to incentivize them to fly to us from across the field. insert sad, teary, frowny face emoji here. it was a little bit upsetting but i had to compartmentalize my personal feelings because raptors need food too. still, i couldn’t help but feel alittle sad.
that aside, the whole experience was pretty cool and it was such a great way to learn about raptors and get close up to them.
after years of saying we would, we finally went to the pumpkin patch. ironic that we didn’t have any money on us to buy said pumpkins. who knew that laity’s pumpkin patch was only a seasonal set up and that they do not accept debit or credit card payments of any kind? oh, really? in this day and age?
however, the woman at the front was so nice, understanding our plight of having driven all the way to maple ridge, that she let us go in anyways. not that we could buy any pumpkins but we could at least romp around the grounds and see the teepees, barnyard animals and petting zoo, corn maze and hay wagon rides.
note to self: lesson learned! carry cash next time we go to pumpkin patch.
feelings all sorts of zen. that’s what happens after floating in 900lbs of epsom salt in a sensory deprivation tank for an hour.
i’ve always wanted to try this, ever since watching olivia dunham do it on fringe. and since this is cheaper than floating in the dead sea…
we took advantage of a social shopper special for $37pp. (regular price $75) at float house in kitsilano. it’s super relaxing – kinda neat how bouyant your body is with all that salt. there’s no fear that your head is going to go under water.
i did not, however, close the door shut. i used a noodle to hold the door for a sliver of light and air. i wasn’t sure how i’d react to the complete absence of external stimuli or being weightless in total darkness for over an hour. my mind runs a hundred miles an hour and i’ve never slowed it down by any other methods, other than yoga. i can’t even sit still long enough to meditate.
however, float tanks can be used to help achieve a deep meditative state. apparently after 45 minutes, your mind starts producing theta brainwaves, which occurs during the period between sleeping and waking. not only does floating relaxes the body, calms the mind and promotes healing, but it helps with creativity and visualization too.
for the first time out, even though i was relaxed, there was a part of me that was very aware that i was in this big, black, watery coffin-like contraption, experiencing “nothingness.”
now that i tried it, i would definitely do it again and explore innerspace more deeply. but maybe not to the point of sharing dream states and meeting walternate on the other side.
one is almost always guaranteed a good time at maplewood farms and we always try to go whenever we’re in need of an animal pick-me-up. last month, maplewood farms held their annual sheep shearing and although we missed the sheeps being shaved, there was still lots of fun to be had.
like getting on a horse!
a pleasant surprise, as i thought that was reserved for kids only, but the farmhand asked if i wanted to get on top of the horse and have him take our picture. erm, yea! giddyup.
but of course, my favourite thing about maplewood are the goats. every single time we’re there, we have to say hello. i love goats – they’re so friendly and sociable. i already warned sean that if ever we bought a farm, we’re going to get ourselves some goats.
i don’t think i would even mind the gumball poops in the yard.