So that is how we determine value? Hmmm.

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Some days I wonder why I even bother.

Since the Calgary Sun wants to continue discussing art.  I will continue to do the same.  Today they did a double page spread of new public art projects that are planned for delivery or are in progress.

It was just the facts, which I have to hand kudos to the Sun for doing this.  It is the type of information that a newspaper should cover.

Thank you to whomever was responsible.

Of course reading the comments generated from these last number of stories was wasted time that I will never get back.  But I digress.

The comments on average were rather predictable.  However, there were a few gems worth talking about.  This is the part that I wonder why I even bother.  It is like wasted breath.  But here we go nevertheless.

Look at this gem from “harcur”:

  • I believe there are hundreds of good artists in Calgary. They may not be world famous but they would donate their art for cost and the recognition of having it displayed.

Then there is this beauty from “Hollie Spencer”:

  • What about having ACAD students donate art in order to advertise themselves. I’m sure it wouldn’t take too much to find a volunteer willing to have free publicity and donate something creative to our landscape, it’s time to enjoy our local talent and have them contribute to our city’s landscape.

Or we could go with this sparkler compliments of “JT Beams” that even made the paper yesterday (see picture for full quote):

  • There’s probably a couple hundred ACAD students who would be thrilled for a shot at something in the public art space for the cost of their semester’s tuition.

Interesting comments all of them.

Even the first world problem stated in the picture above as stated by Jonathon Waldie is interesting.

I would not want to put words into someone else’s mouth.  But, just so that I am clear, I need to get this straight.  Would it be fair to summarize these previous comments this way?

  • We should get artists to donate their time, work, creative thought and technical skills to make my city look more beautiful. We should do this, because they are artists and we all know artists don’t need money.  Let’s use real money for real work or the $80,000 rusting vehicle I want for myself.  But not art.  Yup, that is it.  Anything else but art.  But if we do have to get some art, let’s not spend money on it.

I may have exaggerated the sentiments ever so slightly.  But only to make a point.

To extend those comments further, I would then propose to each of the people who made these comments and others who share these sentiments to try out the same thing with their lawyer, accountant, banker, employees and/or landlord.  They can take your pick, doesn’t matter to me.  Just remember to change the reasons accordingly, but the end result should be the same – get services rendered for free or next to free.

See what they will have to say in response.  Let me know how it goes.

Why would they consider artists to be any different?

Shouldn’t artists also have a reasonable expectation to put food on their table; have a warm place to live; maybe even take the kids to visit their cousins and grandparents at Thanksgiving.

You know, the usual.

Things the writers above probably all take for granted.

Phantom Wing vs. Land|Slide

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Much has been written about Phantom Wing this past week or two.  This is entirely understandable given that it was a five day exhibition which ended a couple days ago.  It is a building (or at least the Phantom Wing portion of it) which is scheduled to be demolished at some point, in the next few months and eventually redeveloped as an arts incubator.

In that context it is interesting to compare this project with another that is happening simultaneously at the other side of the country, just outside of Toronto, in Markham entitled Land|Slide: Possible Futures.

Like Phantom Wing, Land|Slide is a large-scale, temporary public art exhibition with a short duration (five days, September 24-29 as compared to three weeks, September 21 – October 14).  The similarities continue where both events:

  • Started within days of each other
  • involve(d) over 30 artists
  • incorporated built infrastructure connected to the public arts and culture sector (the open-air Markham Museum and cSpace’s planned arts incubator at King Edward School)
  • a large number of temporary site-specific works that often utilized resources available on site was exhibited
  • artists from various stages of their careers were involved
  • free busing to the event was offered from arts institutions (MOCCA in Toronto and ACAD in Calgary)
  • have a lineage that ties back to The Leona Drive Project which took place in Toronto during 2009.

On the surface both would appear to be doing similar things in their respective local areas – one in the Greater Toronto Area and the other in Calgary.  As a result it is worth talking about both projects in context with each other.

We have seen the similarities, now what about the dissimilarities:

  • Facilities used in Markham will remain; whereas in Calgary they will be demolished
  • Financial support from all levels of government and private industry was indicated and community partnerships were listed in Markham; whereas the only stated support was received from the building owner and developer in Calgary
  • There was one curator in Markham; whereas there were five artist-curators in Calgary
  • The artists selected in Markham on average tended to be more established, with broader exhibition experience than was the case in Calgary, which tended to be more locally focused and by extension presumably less-established.
  • The artists work with a museum collection in Markham with a long history limits options (or alternatively expands the options); whereas in Calgary those limitations were not present.
  • The work selected in Markham tended to be more socially or politically-engaged; whereas in Calgary there was little evidence of this.

The main difference can be clearly stated by what the curators held up as their intent for each event as stated in the introduction to each project in each website.

Phantom Wing (http://phantomwing.wordpress.com/about/) described its objective this way:

  • PHANTOM WING proposes the creation of an architectural phantom limb – an event designed to resonate long after the building is severed from its adjoining sandstone counterpart.

Land|Slide: Possible Futures (http://www.landslide-possiblefutures.com/site.html#about) describes the event this way:

  • (Land|Slide is a) backdrop for artists to explore some of the most pressing issues facing Canadians today: how to balance ecology and economy, farming and development, history and diversity. . . in a unique community engagement initiative that pays homage to the past and imagines possible futures.

Both events allude to the place of suburban (and urban) development in cities that are rapidly expanding.

It is my wish that I was able to make it Markham before this event ends so that I could make a proper post-partum which would open the door to further dialogue surrounding both events and the issues relating to development and cultural infrastructure, which both cities must deal with.

Get ready for Beakernight

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Beakernight is tonight.

I was out this afternoon as the robots were getting set up for the music concert in East Village.  The kids will love it and so will the adults.  It all starts at 8pm and will cover the area around Olympic Plaza, East Village, the RiverWalk and Victoria Park.

What you will see tonight:

Come for the fun.  Stay for the dancing and party!!!

It will be a plethora of sensory overload!!!  How awesome is that!!

Remember also that tomorrow is the final day of Maker Faire YYC at Alberta College of Art and Design from 10:00am – 5:00pm (see http://www.makerfaireyyc.ca/)

Oh, oh, OH, Oh!!!

And the Catharsis Catapult is happening to see how far you can toss your crap (or your ex’s crap) using a catapult on the grounds of Fort Calgary between 1:00-3:00pm.

How much more awesome is when you put it all together!!!!  It might almost be as awesome as Nuit Blanche was last year!

Excitement galore

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This afternoon as part of Beakerhead there was a bunch of science buskers along Stephen Avenue Mall.  It is part of a program called Four to Six, and it will happen tomorrow after the work day between 4:00-6:00pm.

A couple highlights to look for:

  • Drivable furniture
  • Roaming scientists and laboratories – the one hosted by Telus Spark was very interesting and perfect for someone like me that has the attention span of a gnat.  I plan to write about it later.
  • Art cars.
  • Get your fortune told by a giant Chinese Fortune Cat (see picture above)
  • Giant motorized spider (see picture above)
  • Drummers drumming
  • Lego
  • A hand-held Theremin
  • Drinks and cocktails at Art Gallery of Calgary with the BassBus (see invitation in photo above)

It all adds up to an enjoyable way to end the work day.  If you have children bring them to work for the afternoon and then spend an hour or so visiting the various activities.  Or you if you are interested in someone at the office, invite them to join you after work and make a date ending up at the Art Gallery of Calgary.  It all adds up to a fun time where you can learn something new.

Another event to be aware of this weekend is the Calgary Mini Makers Faire.  It is kind of a big deal.  It started in California a number of years ago and it is finally here.  It will be held on Saturday and Sunday at the Alberta College of Art and Design (1407 – 14 Avenue NW) located on the crest of the hill beside SAIT and the Jubilee Auditorium.  There is a C-Train Station located close by too – SAIT/ACA/Jubilee.  Tickets are selling briskly, so I would make an encouragement to purchase as soon as possible.  Prices are $15-20 daily or $27-37 for the weekend, children under 12 are free and can be purchased online at http://www.makerfaireyyc.ca/

For more info on Beakerhead and other activities planned for the weekend visit their website http://beakerhead.org