Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Äkkigalleria 3

Äkkigalleria 3 presented a selection of artists at the multimedia edge of the current art scene in Vancouver. The work references the Olympics in a critical point of view, to discuss deeper concerns within contemporary society. Here is a presentation of the artists:

Jesse Corcoran’s piece “Sad Majority” was on display at the Crying Room Gallery before and during the Vancouver Olympics. The graffiti styled drawing, representing four un-happy faces and one happy face, was order to be removed by “officials” in the months preceding the Winter Games. The controversy was however short lived and the piece was re-installed during the Olympics. This drawing directly addresses the imbalance of profit in hosting a “big money” event such as the Olympics.

Robert Gardiner looks at surveillance and use of space in his video “Survailing Airspace”. This video was first shown as part of the exhibition “A Collective Response- a group exhibition responding to the current cultural landscape in Vancouver” at Gallery Gachet. In this piece, Gardiner films an advertisement for the Olympics in an empty hallway that is under surveillance. Gardiner’s work looks at the use of space and security during the Olympic Games through a humorous lens by bringing focus to the absurd.

Rina Liddle is interested in boundaries between the private and public spaces. Liddle’s work is rooted in interactive and new media expression through which she physically puts the viewer in an active position. “We Are Watching” was first shown at the Jeffery Boone Gallery as part of the “Bright Light” project sponsored by the Vancouver City. This project has been modified, from its original presentation form, to suit the space, context and public of Äkkigalleria.

Heidi Nagtegaal’s artistic practice springs out of her background in craft and her interest in social exchange. The performance “Redirecting traffic 2010” was made at the height of the Olympics on a busy street in Downtown Vancouver. This project uses crocheted traffic pylons to help redirect the flow of traffic in a piece that amplifies an artistic temper-tantrum to a dangerous degree while remaining calm. Look at me! Look at Art! Don’t run us down! Pay attention! Nagtegaal’s video symbolically demonstrates the lack of concern and social solidarity in a busy society.

Christian Nicolay’s photograph “20$10” was part of the Artwalk stream of impromptu galleries in Gastown Vancouver during the two weeks of the Olympics. The photograph depicts the fragile hands of a street person holding five 2$ coins. The coins are split into the silver rings and the yellow centre pieces, in much the same way as public opinion was split over hosting the Olympics. Nicolay references the imbalance of wealth generated by the Olympics and hints at other possible uses of taxpayers’ money.

Nola Semczyszyn intertwines light humour with a highly conceptual practice. “A is for Abecedary” is an interactive listing of words used in the Olympics and in Vancouver/Whistler during the Winter Olympics 2010. The list also includes words that are related to the effect of this event on the City and its residents.

Danna Vajda comes from a back ground in writing and fine art which she combines in publication projects. Vajda’s piece is a script/artist book that encourages performance. The text groups athletes, artists and performers in a discussion about modes of representation, the rules of the game and authorship within the Olympics. Vajda has taken advantage of Äkkigalleria to bring her project "olympicsolympicoolympia" into physical being.

The Vancouver De[tour] Guide 2010 is an interactive internet based media-art project. The basic idea behind this project was to offer tourists another side of the “Beautiful British Columbia” Vancouver as advertised by the Olympic committee. The intention of the project was also to rise to the number 1 spot on the Google search list and thereby to compete with the glossy publicity of the Olympics for recognition. The project site for The Vancouver De[tour] is still on-line and active. Visitors of Äkkigalleria are invited to learn about Vancouver and are invited to add any information they might know about the City.

The majority of the artwork in this exhibition was discovered at various venues around the City during the two weeks of the Vancouver Olympics. Several pieces, including Danna Vajda’s “olympicsolympicoolympia”, Nola Semszyczyn’s “A is for Abecedary” and Rina Liddle’s “Working with what is left” came to life for the occasion of this Äkkigalleria exhibition.

By extracting all of these pieces from their original context (the Olympics) the content of the Winter Games is reduced to a pretext in addressing larger and more urgent social questions of security, money and happiness.

Greetings from the Olympics, Greetings from Home!

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