By Esther Tung
Students from the class as well as from other campuses invited for dialogue and collaboration at CityStudio workshops
Until Wednesday, paintings and installations by SFU visual arts students will be scattered across the Woodward’s campus. All of these pieces are meant to fit loosely with the theme of sustainability, from a web of plastic bottles looming over a staircase to a dress made out of newspapers, the stamp of the FPA 161 class’s partnership with CityStudio.
CityStudio bills itself as a design space where students can come together to design practical solutions for Vancouver’s Greenest City projects. Early in the semester, several campuses were approached to take part in their workshop and exhibition, including BCIT, Emily Carr, Langara, VCC, and UBC.
Brendan Yandt, who attended the workshop, was pleasantly surprised by the direction of the workshop attendees’ dialogue. Over 100 professionals and students across various fields attended and came together as a collective to throw some quick ideas out, before breaking up into smaller groups as the evening progressed to discuss their ideas further over food, music, and beer.
“I was expecting the discussions to be more reigned in by considerations of policy and property, but the talks turned out to be charged with imagination and playful speculation,” he said.
Yandt’s group came up with the idea for weight-activated sidewalk tours, in which light could be cast on the ground showing historic features of the street. Perhaps not quite what the CityStudio folk had in mind, but Yandt thought the aspect of collaboration and bringing people together was more important. “It was also a good chance to meet others who were excited about the city. I met a student who was interested in doing guerilla moss bombing in the city, for instance.”
According to Adriana Lademann, the professor of her visual arts class opted not to have his students’ work showcased in the actual exhibition to allow for creative freedom in their final projects, which are also meant to be site-specific to the Woodward’s campus. She did not attend the workshop, but has a piece on the fourth floor of the Woodward’s campus, a lightbox installation of a crescent moon.
While her piece, like most others, is untitled, the idea behind it was to provide commentary on the politics of outer space. “Instead of investing in our planet, we would rather look to the romance of the sky. Governments choose to invest billions of dollars in a space program to look at life on Mars,” said Lademann.