Gallery Hours
Tuesday to Sunday 12 - 6pm
Free Admission

Field House Studio Blog

Walter Scott
July 1 to 31, 2015

Scott is an artist from Kahnawake whose work is based in writing and illustration and is known for his ongoing comic book series, Wendy, which follows the fictional narrative of a young woman living in an urban centre, whose dreams of contemporary art stardom are perpetually derailed by her fears and desires. In July, Scott will begin research towards a new Vancouver-specific commission exploring collaborative performance and script writing. He will also be leading workshops with the Native Youth Program at the Museum of Anthropology. Scott will also be working along side artist Keg de Souza on the summer youth program EXCHANGE.

Scott currently lives and works between Toronto and Montréal. For the Images Festival 2015, Scott produced Wendy Live! where a cast of English, Japanese and Mohawk-speaking performers enacted the newest Wendy book before its 2016 North American English-language release. Alongside his comic work, Scott produces work involving printmaking and sculpture and is represented by Macaulay & Co. Fine Art, Vancouver. He recently completed a residency at the Koganecho Bazaar, Yokohama, Japan.



Burrard Marina Field House - Walter Scott

Maddie Leach
June to July, 2015

Taking up residency earlier this year in June, Maddie Leach began research towards a Vancouver-based project. Leach’s practice is one that seeks ways of making artworks as a means to interpret and respond to specific context, through a lengthy process of enquiry and social interaction establishing relationships between form, materials, locations, histories, events, individuals and communities.

Leach was nominated for the Walters Prize 2014 for If you find the good oil let us know (2012–›2014), created during a two year residency at Govett-Brewster Art Gallery in New Plymouth, a town known for its oil and gas exploration on New Zealand’s North Island. The project centered on 70 ‚litres of supposed ‘whale oil’. With layered and complex associations to whaling from indigenous sustenance to colonial/capitalist industry, whale oil speaks to New Zealand’s past and evokes its new economic boom in crude oil exploration. Leach sought to return this mythic substance to the sea, beginning a tangential journey that ended with a cube of cement made from the firing of 70 litres of mineral oil relocated to the seabed several kilometres off the coast. Through such ephemeral aesthetic actions and an unfolding public dialogue, this search for the authenticity of the ‘whale oil’ connected fragmented industrial and cultural narratives central to the context of New Zealand. Sharing her unfolding research, Leach then invited fourteen individuals to offer written letters as responses to the work, the only stipulation being to begin the letter with ‘Dear.’ The texts became a series of ‘Letters to the Editor’ in the Taranaki Daily News developing a curious narrative composed by multiple authors, from scientists to sailors, cement workers to oil-industry executives.


Burrard Marina Field House - Maddie Leach

Over the course of ten weeks, the Contemporary Art Gallery brought together eleven emerging artists: Anne Riley, Charlotte Newman, Hannah Axen, Kelly McInnes, Kristina Jaggard, Lexi Vajda, Maia Nichols, Matilda Cobanli, Natalie Tin Yin Gan, Ryan Genoe, Sophia Wolfe to explore the intersection between dance, choreography and visual art in our inaugural Summer Intensive. Working with mentors: Justine Chambers, Delia Brett, Daelik and Burrard Marina Field House Studio resident Brendan Fernandes the group participated in studio visits, gallery tours, performance workshops and seminars throughout the summer. This culminated in the production of a one evening installation/durational performance work titled 600 Campbell, at the Russian Hall on September 10.

Considering the absence and presence of objects and bodies, the group developed a series of performances and installations examining ways in which each piece intersects with another, connecting the work, the audience and the space. The artists collaborate to presented the viewer with an invitation for interaction, allowing them to influence the work and the space both as observers and active contributors. The evening was a huge success with well over a hundred people stopping by throughout the night participating in the various performances ranging from audio works and overhead projector performance to a durational chair performance in the main auditorium. Check out the pics!

We are working on a video of the evening we will be posting soon!

We acknowledge the generous support of the British Columbia Arts Council Council Youth Engagement Program.

-Shaun Dacey



600 Campbell: Summer Youth Intensive Finale

Similar to the myths told in many large, cosmopolitan cities, Vancouver seeks strength through the telling of its cultural diversity. During my research residency at the Burrard Marina Field House Studio, I had the opportunity to visit a variety of institutions charged with cultural vitality. Time after time I was confronted by the awkwardness, sincerity, humour, and impossibility of such a project.

This spirit is not only evident in the stories exchanged between visitors to and residents of the city, but is calcified in its institutional counterparts: the ethnographic museum, the cultural centre, the theme park, the gift shop, and the tourist office. Together, these places dispense a type of ethnographic currency that both maintains an order and projects a hope for the city to be the best it can be. What is at stake when a city defines itself in terms of the cultural populations that make it up?

Visiting the Dr. Sun Yat-sen Classical Chinese Garden, a perfect replica of a Ming Dynasty Garden, was to be confronted with ideas that were vastly different from Vancouver’s Chinatown just beyond its walls, and again indecipherable from the modern, sprawling, predominantly-Chinese suburb of Richmond just beyond Vancouver. Within the pleasant confines of the garden (and its gift shop), books on Zen Buddhism, authentic jade jewelry, and Tibetan textiles, spoke a very different language than the world just outside. What is the function of distilling culture to objects, who is acting as the cultural translator between groups, and who is the assumed audience for such systems of display? A visit to the Museum of Anthropology (MOA) revealed a much more tightly curated experience, but similar questions persisted. Facing an impressive collection of encased objects from many corners of the earth, I wondered why the display of ethnographic material aims to compartmentalize, order, and control something that we know is fluid, dynamic and contradictory.

The focus of my continued work in Vancouver will play with the notion of ethnographic currency, who is the subject of ethnography and who is not, the materialization of cultural groups, and the display systems enlisted to communicate this material to an audience. In 2015 I will continue to research these areas with my longtime collaborator Mirjam Linschooten. Continuing to work with the supportive team at the CAG and within the inspiring cultural community of Vancouver is something I look forward to with great anticipation.

– Sameer Farooq

More on Sameer’s visit.

More on Sameer and Mirjam’s practice.


An initial research visit to Vancouver – Sameer Farooq

As mentioned previously, I hosted artist Sameer Farooq in Vancouver for research towards an upcoming residency and public project in 2015. Beyond making entrancing documentaries, Farooq also has a shared artistic practice with long time collaborator, Dutch artist Mirjam Linschooten. the CAG has invited the duo to develop a Vancouver-specific project. With Linschooten already in residence in Morocco for a project their working on thier, Sameer was the only one able to come out for this initial research visit.

Farooq and Linschooten began their artistic collaboration while studying at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie in Amsterdam. They consider their joint practice as an archeology of the present. The Museum of Found Objects, with iterations in Cairo, Johnston, Rhode Island, Toronto and Istanbul, used everyday objects to fuel alternative ways of engagement across a broad range of physical and cultural contexts. Something stolen, something new, something borrowed and something blue (2014) responded directly to the looting of the Egyptian Museum at Tahrir Square during the Arab Spring. They built a temporary photo studio in Cairo and worked with a local calligrapher to make announcement posters asking the simple question: ‘What objects from your home would you like to see displayed in the Egyptian Museum?’ For a month, they photographed and interviewed people with the objects that were brought in.

Farooq was very excited to explore all the Vancouver has to offer. With a special interest in ethnographic display and cultural histories in the city.  He visited the Museum of Anthropology and Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden, taking guided visits offered by each institution.  We were also given a behind the scenes tour of the Museum of Vancouver by Kristin Lantz, Curator of Audience Engagement. The permanent collection is a hidden gem of Vancouver’s material culture. As a last stop before he left town, I took Sameer to the Richmond Night Market, an important stop in the exploration of Vancouver’s cultural fabric. Out of these visits Farooq and Linschooten will begin to build frameworks for a new project in 2015.

-Shaun Dacey


Exploring Vancouver with Sameer Farooq

Earlier this month I had the pleasure of hosting artist/filmmaker/designer Sameer Farooq at the Burrard Civic Marina Field House for research in anticipation of a future residency in 2015.

On September 9th we presented his captivating documentary, The Silk Road of Pop (2013) at Burrard Marina common room. Shot in the Xinjiang province of China, the film explores the diverse and vibrant music scenes in Uyghur culture. Ranging from traditional Uyghur music, pop, heavy rock and hip hop, music becomes a platform for Uyghur youth in Xinjiang’s rapidly gentrifying cities via the influx of Han Chinese and industrial mining. ‘

In the words of Farooq:

Music was the perfect arena to explore the experience of Uyghur youth in the distant northwest of China. As a Muslim director I feel a particular compassion to the Uyghur case. After spending over three years living and working in Beijing, I was astounded upon my first visit to Xinjiang. Everything was oddly familiar: music, food, traditions – yet we were still in China. Making this film stems out of my strong desire to represent a diversity of being Muslim. In a broader sense, I recognize that my position as a postcolonial filmmaker has prompted me to develop new ways of dealing with material which speaks from a position of placelessness, critiquing established norms and creating a space within documentary making which is relevant to my experience. I let this position inform my directorial vision of The Silk Road of Pop and see the project as a timely and relevant pursuit.

I was struck by the raw energy of the young musicians and their diverse creative response to life in Xinjiang. After the screening an engaging conversation developed between Farooq and audience members highlighting the difficulties of shooting this type of film in China as well as the history of Xinjiang and Uyghur culture as the origin of Turkish culture. A few audience members of Uyghur decent thanked Farooq for making such an eloquent film giving voice and presence to their culture.

More on Sameer’s research in Vancouver.

– Shaun Dacey


Sameer Farooq’s The Silk Road of Pop

Last week, I chaired a panel at  The Life and Death of the Arts in Cities after Mega-Events conference co-organized by Simon Fraser University’s Department of English, the University of British Columbia’s Department of Theatre and Film, and the Queen Mary Drama Department, University of London.  The panel was called Art and Activism and I was honoured to have been asked to participate and engage with such an innovative panel and group of conference participants.

The panel consisted of research papers given by Selena Couture, Kirsten Forkert, Heather Sykes and Priya Vadi. The themes of their works focused on questioning the role of Indigenous peoples, lands and culture during the Vancouver, London and Sochi Olympic Games. In their own way, each panelist discussed how the Olympics’ attempts to create a cultural semiotic sign to represent the hosting country- which normally resulted in misappropriating Indigenous knowledges or cultures.  This cartoon image designed for the Vancouver Olympics came up a number of times, click her to see the images:

The international conference generated dialogue about the role of the arts in the production of urban mega-events, with a specific comparative focus on both the positive and negative cultural legacies of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games and the London 2012 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games (ACME website). The Arts and Activism panel brought together academics, artists, cultural researchers and urban planners in order to re-consider the impact and relevance that Indigenous peoples and lands hold in such large-scale events.

Thank you to the organizers for inviting me to participate and for the panelists for sharing some innovative and thought provoking works!

– Lindsay Lachance


The Life and Death of the Arts in Cities after Mega-Events

The Contemporary Art Gallery is hosting Australian artist Keg de Souza as an up-coming Burrard Civic Marina Artist in Residence in 2015.

I have been lucky enough to spend the last few days with Keg as she begins to conceptualize her upcoming residency. Keg’s most recent works explore ideas surrounding space, place and food. These themes appear to be forming around her residency here in Vancouver. Keg has visited community centre’s and women shelters in the Downtown East Side, UBC Farms, MOA and places in-between to reflect on the use of local foods and spatial politics.

We have also learned that Keg is an amazing vegan and dairy-free cook… so we’re counting on taste testing some of her own recipes!

Check out more about Keg and her work on her blog here and stay posted to find out more about her upcoming residency.

– Lindsay Lachance


Mapping Food in Vancouver with Keg de Souza

I’m so honoured to have spent the week attending the Indigenous Acts: Art and Activism Gathering hosted by Dylan Robinson and Candice Hopkins! The Gathering was made up of Round Table Discussions, Sharing Circles, Site Visits, Provocation Discussions and A LOT of delicious meals!

Conversations were held around notions of land, public ceremony, contemporary Indigenous space and how artists are working towards reclaiming traditional space and places. Tania Willard, Raymond Boisjoly, Lorna Brown, Raven Chacon, Mimi Gellman, Duane Linklater, Joar Nango, Peter Morin and Karyn Recollet were some of the participants present for this inspiring and motivating gathering.

All present engaged in critical dialogue to discuss different ways to map space and time, ways to work with protocol and permissions, ways to critically look at borders and the various roles that language plays in these examinations. Re-occurring themes around embodiment, place, space, architecture, sound and identity flowed in and out of the discussions and helped make relations and connects between artists working in different mediums.

On August 5th we shared a dinner at the Burrard Civic Marina Field House. Over the course of the evening the participants wrote quotes, ideas and other kinds of messages to be projected onto the Burrard Bridge. It turned out really well, and generated a lot of laughs! After that we participated in making a light tipi with Cheryl L’Hirondelle. She gave us Sage smodging bundles and a flashlight and guided our bodies to create the structure. The wind played a part in this process as well- sometimes making the structure stronger, and other times blowing our smoke away.

I’m excited to have been able to sit, listen, talk, laugh and share food with those present at this gathering and am eager to see what they will work on next! Chi Meegwetch to all of you for sharing your talent and work with us over the past few days!

– Lindsay Lachance


Indigenous Acts: Art and Public Space Gathering

Burrard Marina Field House Artist in Residence, Brendan Fernandes and Vancouver-based choreographer Justine Chambers led a workshop for the Summer intensive program this week that explored collaboration, conceptualization and authorship. Brendan and Justine are very generous instructors and really encouraged the participants to express themselves through an embodied practice and collaboration.

Justine and Brendan led exercises that brought the participants and their interests together through embodied practice. The participants were asked to write a performance choreography score in five minutes that would have a five minute performance time. After writing their pieces, they put them in the middle and everyone chose someone else’s choreography to perform. We saw people working with their bodies, with the spectators bodies, with the room, with chairs, with shoes… with whatever was in sight! Through this work the participants learned how to conceptualize, create and rehearse a full piece. The group will create their own performance at the end of this program so this work was a great start in helping them learn to share, create and perform ideas.

– Lindsay Lachance


Conceptualizing and Authorship with Brendan Fernandes and Justine Chambers

Recently Burrard Marina Field House artist-in-residence Brendan Fernandes held a life drawing class at the CAG. The gallery was buzzing with over twenty-five artists and the model, Rachel Meyer, a member of Ballet BC. Fernandes worked with Rachel to create a multitude of poses on various sized plinths that highlighted her feet and encouraged participants to focus on this area.

The drawing tasks varied from 30 seconds to 5 minutes then 20 minutes poses. It was really amazing to see the range of differences in drawing style and form that everyone used to interpret Rachel’s poses. We got great feedback from the participants and we’re hoping to hold more life drawing classes at the CAG in the future.

Check out some of these amazing life drawings above and stay tuned to find out more about Brendan Fernandes residency!

– Lindsay La Chance


Life Drawing with Brendan Fernandes: Seeing the Dancer’s Foot

This week the CAG’s Summer Dance Intensive Program attended a movement workshop run by Delia Brett and Daelik of MACHiNENOiSY Dance Society. Delia and Daelik led a workshop that taught the participants to collaborate with their instincts and movements and not to rely on verbal forms of communication.

The embodied exercises led the group to think about creation and rehearsal techniques that they can bring forward with them as they begin to conceptualize their final projects. Delia and Daelik’s teachings and exercises were really engaging and allowed for the participants to get to know each other’s practice and methods for creation.

The next workshop will be held by the CAG’s artist in residence Brendan Fernandes and Vancouver-based contemporary dance artist Justine Chambers.


Bodies Moving in Space and Time: Summer Intensive Workshop with Delia Brett and Daelik

“What if where you are right now is all you need to be?”

This was a question Christopher House repeatedly asked us during his “Dancing in the Now” workshop. The CAG’s Youth Summer Intensive participants and mentors were  lucky enough to participate in a very thought-provoking, educational, and exciting two hour workshop with Toronto based choreographer, Christopher House.  As a part of the 2014 Dancing on the Edge programming, Christopher House performed a piece co-choreographed by Deborah Hay entitled The Body in Question. His final performance was Friday, July 11th 2014- check the Dancing on the Edge website for more schedule and programming information.

The Contemporary Art Gallery launched their Summer Youth Intensive, a ten week course for emerging artists interested in cross-disciplinary movement-based performance last week.  Led by four established artists, the 11 participants are considering the intersections between dance, choreography and visual art, culminating in the creation and production of a new work.  A part of this intensive allows for the participants to attend workshops, artists talks and studio visits, and Christopher House’s workshop was one of them!

House’s workshop encouraged the participants to dance in the “now”, to really focus on the embodied present and not to second guess our actions. In encouraging us to move in the “ways that we see the space around us”, House taught us about giving our bodies agency, timing and to consider the differences between space and place.

After the workshop, House stayed to speak with our group where he answered our questions about his work and regarding our individual practices. He shared methodological and creation process tips that will be useful for the Summer Intensive group as they move into developing their own works!

This group is ambitious, talented and inspiring- I can’t wait to follow their process during this summer intensive!

– Lindsay Lachance


Keeping ‘one eye in’ and ‘one eye out’ at Christopher House’s Dance Workshop

Last week I attended my first artist talk as the CAG’s Learning and Public Program assistant. New York and Toronto- based artist Brendan Fernandes is currently in Vancouver for a two month residency at the CAG Burrard Marina Field House Studio.

While in residence Fernandes will be developing a new solo dance piece, co-mentoring a summer intensive youth dance program, and leading a life drawing class that focuses on the dancer’s foot. On Tuesday, June 10th Fernandes gave an artist talk at the CAG where he led us through the creation, rehearsal, and performance processes of his recent works; The Working Move (2012), Encomium (2011), and Night Shift (2011).

(Find out more about Fernandes’ past and upcoming works on his website at

Brendan’s talk was as charming and insightful as his work, which engages with various disciplines including visual arts, dance, performance and theatre. He explained how his work focuses on corporal and embodied lived experiences—which raises questions about “liveness versus stillness”, “space and audience” and “single action versus relational action”. The focus on the body challenges us to re-examine the aesthetics of his works—how do we react as spectators when the body becomes the object, the subject, the artifact and the archive? Fernandes’ works question how we conceive the space, time and performative codes of bodies moving in gallery and museum spaces. I’m stoked to follow Fernandes’ process this summer and find out how the new projects are shaping up!

– Lindsay Lachance

Click here for: Information regarding his Youth Intensive Dance Workshop

Listen to the artist talk here:


Brendan Fernandes Talks the Talk and Talks About the Dancer’s Walk

Brendan Fernandes, the CAG’s summer artist in residence has begun the creation process for his new work! I had the pleasure to visit Brendan during one of his rehearsals earlier this week. Fernandes talked about how he will incorporate themes of labour, the duration of time, notions of self-hood and identity into the creation of this piece.

He is challenging the notion of muscle memory and exploring ideas around the foot as a fetishized object. I’m excited to see how Fernandes will integrate notions of stillness and repetition into his piece. We will be following Fernandes’ creation and rehearsal process over the next few weeks, and stay tuned to find out details regarding his open in-progress performance.

– Lindsay Lachance




Brendan Fernandes and ‘The Foot Stretcher’

Brooklyn based artist and Burrard Marina Field House Studio artist-in-residence, Marie Lorenz has arrived back in Vancouver and has got to work right away on building her handmade driftwood boat.

Check out the images above of her progress so far.

The first image is the first step in the process, it is of the frame that the boat will be built on and is a marker or guide for the whole shape of the boat. Lorenz pre-made this frame and shipped it from New York in order to assemble it here. This is the same boat frame that was used to build the boat she rowed at the Frieze Art Fair in NYC in early May (see pictures here and above). The piece of driftwood, that is seen in the photos on top of the frame, will become the bow of the boat – this is first piece of the actual boat – she will be using found driftwood from beaches in the lower mainland to make the rest, stay tuned for more updates on the building process and launch.

For more information on the residency program and Marie Lorenz’s residency click here.

For details on related events click here.

Click here for some  press on the Frieze Art Fair boat rides with Marie Lorenz.


Boat building with Marie Lorenz

We are pleased to welcome back Brooklyn based artist Marie Lorenz at the Burrard Marina Field House Studio for a residency and project titled ‘Driftboat’. Marie will be here until early June building a new vessel as part of her ongoing project Look for updates on this blog of Marie at the Field House Studio, getting to work building her boat from driftwood sourced from the lower mainland. Read more about her residency and the Burrard Marina Field House here.


Marie Lorenz just arrived back in Vancouver!

Broken City Lab (BCL) are currently artists-in-residence at the Burrard Marina Field House. Their four month project, Flagged for Review examines the surrounding site and its relation to current perceptions of the city through a series of initiated conversations. Every Tuesday until the end of April, the collective will host public games, temporary installations and conversations concerning social and political issues present in Vancouver. These will culminate in the production of a series of flags to be installed at the Field House and throughout the city during the last two months of their residency.

For the first two Tuesday night events, BCL are inviting participants to contemplate and define the use of flags in the urban setting, with the  aim of highlighting a range of curious and challenging ideas that inform the ways we experience, imagine and historicize the city of Vancouver.

During the evening on Tuesday March 18, a series of 12 questions were asked  to the attendees. Questions included conceptions of Vancouver as a place and an how individuals engage with politics. It was very interesting to talk about how we perceive the city in positives or negatives and to share with strangers our political thoughts. The evening finished with a game of ‘spin the bottle’ with participants answering the questions one on one with each other and with Broken City Lab members, Hiba and Justin. Above are a selection of images taken by Caitlin Carr from the evening.


Tuesday April 1, 7-8.30pm
Projecting Forward

This Tuesday’s, Flagged For Review gathering with Broken City Lab will imagine what the future holds for the city of Vancouver, with a series of short declarations created and projected onto the Burrard Bridge. These declarations will be our hopes, doubts and dreams for the future of Vancouver.

Broken City Lab (BCL) are currently artists-in-residence at the Burrard Marina Field House. Their four month project, Flagged for Review examines the surrounding site and its relation to current perceptions of the city through a series of initiated conversations. Every Tuesday until the end of April, the collective will host public games, temporary installations and conversations concerning social and political issues present in Vancouver. These will culminate in the production of a series of flags to be installed at the Field House and throughout the city during the last two months of their residency.

The Field House Studio Residency Program is generously supported by the Vancouver Park Board and the City of Vancouver.

For this residency we gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the Province of British Columbia through the BC Creative Communities Award.


Flagged For Review with Broken City Lab – Tue April 1

Marie Lorenz arrived in Vancouver on December 4th 2013 and stayed for a week. It was only her second trip to Vancouver in her life. On Wednesday  December 5th 2013, Marie, Shaun and I jumped in the CAG van and went scouting around town for places where old, discarded materials—both natural and man-made—tend to accumulate. Why?

Marie will be moving into the CAG’s Burrard Marina Field House in May 2014, after the Winter semester as an artist in residence at the Marina Field House. She’s been an associate professor at Yale University for the past four years in the Painting and Drawing Department, but the project she’ll bring to life with us here in Spring 2014 is more sculptural in nature. For her ongoing project Tide and Current Taxi Marie Lorenz builds boats, by hand, in different cities and takes people for rides, one or two at a time. This is the first time she’ll be using found materials to construct a watercraft.

The British artist Mike Nelson who recently exhibited here leaked to us a couple prime spots to find odds and ends. But the hunt has hardly begun! When she returns in May 2014, there will be lots more exploration to report. Stay tuned.

To learn more about this project and more of Marie’s work, visit her site Tide and Current Taxi.

Marie Lorenz will become part of the artist-in-residence program at the CAG Field House at Burrard Marina. The Field House Studio Residency Program is generously supported by the Vancouver Park Board and the City of Vancouver. 

– Jaclyn (more of Jaclyn’s writing can be found here, and her tweets over here)


Marie Lorenz paid us a brief visit in Vancouver, but she’ll be back!

Upcoming Burrard Marina Field House residents Broken City Lab (BCL) are hosting Homework II: Long Forms, Short Utopias Conference this weekend (November 8th – 10th, 2013) in Windsor, Ontario. This three-day conference and collaboratively-written publication aims to unfold the ways in which we construct, articulate, and practice ideas of micro-utopias, pop-up ideals, collaboration, and long-term social engagement.

Lucky for us, they’re also making it available via live stream. Check out their website to tap into the unfolding dialogue.

You can also jump into the conversation by using the hashtag #hmwrk2.

After the conference the live stream videos will be archived online and they will be compiling the publication from interviews conducted with the conference attendees.

The Contemporary Art Gallery will be hosting Broken City Lab’s residence from January to April 2014 at the Burrard Marina Field House. BCL will be using the studio to begin work on new Vancouver-based projects.

A bio on BCL:

Broken City Lab is an artist-led interdisciplinary collective and non-profit organization working to explore and unfold curiosities around locality, infrastructures, education, and creative practice leading towards civic change. Thier projects and research have been featured in Fuse Magazine, Public Journal, C Magazine, Creative Time’s Social Practice Archive, Next American City, Alternatives, GOOD, the National Post, the Toronto Star, NPR (WDET, NPHR), CBC Radio One, CBC television, Le Téléjournal, Wooster Collective, PSFK, the Huffington Post, Tree Hugger, and the Atlantic Cities; presented and exhibited across North America including the Art Gallery of Windsor, TRUCK Gallery, Forest City Gallery, Propeller Centre, Open Engagement, Hamilton Artists Inc., the Workers Arts and Heritage Centre, Eyelevel Gallery, White Water Gallery, Eastern Edge, Nuit Blanche, and CAFKA; and have been supported by the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council’s Multidisciplinary Arts, Integrated Arts, Artists in the Community/Workplace, and Media Arts programmes, the City of Windsor, and the Ontario Trillium Foundation. Broken City Lab’s work recently appeared in the 13th International Venice Biennial of Architecture as part of the Grounds for Detroit exhibit and the collective was long-listed for the 2012 Sobey Art Award.



Stream Broken City Lab’s Homework Conference LIVE this weekend

Fresh in town from originally Windsor, via Montreal, Justin Langlois gave a talk at the Burrard Marina Field House about his ideas and his work on Saturday, August 17th. He brought with him a pamphlet of thought-provoking slices of his personal and artistic philosophy, which he flipped through over the duration of the talk as a prompt for further musings and discussion. He’s happy to share it with us in the images above, along with a video he made titled ‘Windsor is Forever’.


Limits & Possibilities: A Pamphlet on Gestures of Art, Education & Civic Life – by Justin Langlois

On Monday, October 7th we attended a potluck get-together for everyone involved in the City of Vancouver’s Field House Residence Program at Roundhouse Community Centre. There were heaping plates of kale, rice, beans and hummus, mini glasses of wine, and three hours worth of interesting presentations about what each group of artists are doing to make the most of their unique locations.

One of my favourites was the Loco Moto Art Collective, located in the Aberthau Mansion at West Point Grey Community Centre. Spearheaded by Laura Lee Coles but including around 20 others, the group works  broadly in the realm of digital media, eco-aesthetics, and the relationships between humans, technology and nature. They are the newest Field House to have set-up shop, and they’ve already hosted a few events indoors and outdoors. They seem to have lots of wild and wonderful things coming up for the new year. They’ll be launching a new exhibition called No Memes No at Hot Art Wet City at 2206 Main Street on the spookiest day of the year–October 31st.

Another group that piqued my interest was Cloudscape Comics. They’re located at 5955 Ross Street inside the Memorial Park South Field House. The 30 of them approach the production of comics from different backgrounds, which makes their oeuvre very dynamic. There’s something for everyone and they release an anthology of comics every year. They recently posted a call-out for submissions with Sci-Fi/Fantasy comics with queer characters and themes. They offer a free drop-in comic jam every Wednesday starting at 7:30pm at their Field House.

And these are only a few examples of the 50 artists who are enlivening 13 spaces in parks around the city. It was awesome to hear about the ways that other artists are negotiating the best use of their spaces, and it’ll be great to keep an eye on all these projects that are largely community oriented and site specific.

– Jaclyn


Field House Meet-up Day

Nathan Crompton gave a lecture and discussion at the Burrard Marina Field House on Saturday, September 28th. We asked him a few questions in preparation for the event, and are now bringing you the second half of the session (the first part can be found here). We’re grateful for the insight and perspective that Nathan brings to this crucial and ever-timely subject matter and look forward to further expanding this dialogue with him and the community.

JB: For people who may not understand the complexity of the power relations embedded in gentrification and may therefore see neighbourhood improvement as simply that, how would you explain to them that the “polishing up” comes at a high cost to a basic, and long-compromised human right—especially for the (large) indigenous population of the area?

NC: That’s a difficult question. I might only be able to point to a contradiction. Currently our neoliberal cities are crumbling before our eyes, with the massive de-funding of basic services both in terms of the human and architectural infrastructure. I’m talking about an entire generation of infrastructure left behind by the welfare state, whether it’s Simon Fraser University, Heather Place or Little Mountain – they’re all in shambles as the war on the poor and working class intensifies. Social democracy, with all of its flaws and compromises – particularly its framework of patriarchal white supremacy – has now been replaced by neoliberalism.

Neoliberal urbanism states that improvements to the city can only be supported if they are funded privately, first by private capital and secondly by the retroactive bonuses, tax cuts and fee exemptions created by the municipal colonial state. Since being elected, Vision Vancouver has taken this model to its highest possible level, setting in motion an entire bureaucracy whose sole purpose is to move social funds upwards, particularly (but not exclusively) for the monopoly developers who fund the political apparatus. So the axiom of our generation is revitalization and improvements, yes, but the precondition is that these improvements only for those who can afford it, under the guise of urban revitalization. It is therefore hard today to discuss urban improvements in an abstract way, detached from class and colonialism. Who is benefitting from revitalization, who is losing out? Does it always have to be the propertied class who determine what is the “highest and best use”? Real-estate knows how to follow through on a process of colonization to gain returns on value, but can we respond with a new affirmation of value, independent from capitalist accumulation and the displacement of our communities? Those are some of the questions we’ve been asking.

JB: The pro-development side seems to argue that gentrification is justified by the fact that the residents in the DTES of today are not in a position to pay the requisite costs to live in a neighbourhood whose real estate potential is exorbitant. What they fail to realize is that the neighbourhood functions as a community and refuge for people who have largely been displaced and dispossessed previously—in some cases several times, by the same system that is trying to again remove them. How can we conceive of a way to bridge this gap between seeing a neighbourhood as dollar signs and seeing a neighbourhood as inhabited by a vulnerable population with a strong existing community?

NC: The events of Reconciliation are coming to a close here in Vancouver. Yesterday Vancouver City Council also apologized to the Japanese community for its motion in 1942 supporting the expulsion and internment of Japanese Canadians during the war. Now is a good time to ask, reflectively, if we want to continue repeating the mistakes of the past. Grace Eiko Thomson told city council that apologies and reconciliation mean nothing in the context of accelerating displacement and dispossession.

“For me, an apology is not enough unless it is followed up. Not for us, it’s too late for us. Most of us are gone. Most of us who experienced the internment are gone. It is so important we remember that what happened to us can happen to others. That is why I raise the Downtown Eastside because that is where we used to live. That is where we were displaced from. And the original people were the Coast Salish first nations who were originally displaced.

She continued: “For me, I really feel we have to be vigilant about other people who are still living in this area at the moment who are still socially and economically being excluded, particularly with this big talk about gentrification. The developers are moving in, the price of land is going up. So what does this mean for the people that are living there? Does that mean they are going to be displaced again? I hope not. This is the most important thing to me right now, that this doesn’t happen to another group of people. This is a unique community with a unique history and there are still people living here who may be displaced depending on how the city decided to act on this area…”

More of Jaclyn’s writing can be found here, and her tweets over here.


Nathan Crompton Interview (Part 2 of 2)

Nathan Crompton hosted by Raymond Boisjoly
Burrard Marina Field House
Saturday September 28, 4 pm

This year marks 100 years since the dispossession of the Kitsilano Reserve, a year the city of Vancouver has also declared  the Year of Reconciliation.

Local writers Nathan Crompton and Maria Wallstam wrote an article in The Mainlander called City of perpetual displacement: 100 years since the destruction of the Kitsilano Reserve in July of this year. It explores the relationship between the rampant gentrification of the DTES & Grandview-Woodlands, and the colonial settlers’ unjust treatment of indigenous populations in the early 20th century. The article piqued the interest of our current Burrard Marina Field House artist in residence, Raymond Boisjoly, who identified that the Kitsilano Reserve discussed in the article is located in the exact same spot as the Burrard Marina Field House (1655 Whyte Avenue) where he’s been working for nearly six months. Throughout his residency at the Field House Boisjoly has been interested in the history of the land the Marina sits on. Crompton’s research and response to the dispossession of the Kits reserve aligns it with the current rash of forced evictions of low income residents in the DTES. A link can be drawn between Boisjoly and Crompton through their evocation of histories as a way to engage urgent current dialogues in the community.

For more detailed maps and history of the Kitsilano Indian Reserve lands go to UBC’s Indigenous foundations online mapping tool

– More of Jaclyn’s writing can be found here, and her tweets over here.

Raymond Boisjoly is currently the artist-in-residence at the CAG Field House at Burrard Marina. The Field House Studio Residency Program is generously supported by the Vancouver Park Board and the City of Vancouver. The inaugural residency with Raymond Boisjoly is supported by the Province of British Columbia through the Ministry of Advanced Education, Innovation and Technology.


Nathan Crompton talk at the Burrard Marina Field House

Today at the Burrard Marina Field House! (Saturday September 28th at 4 pm)

Nathan Crompton co-editor of The Mainlander will be speaking  about the history of the land where Vanier Park and Burrard Marina Field House are located, previously the Kitsilano Reserve (Crompton co-wrote an article about the reserve here).   This year marks 100 years since the dispossession of the Kitsilano Reserve, a year the city of Vancouver has also declared  the Year of Reconciliation .

Our Field House Intern (Jaclyn Bruneau) interviewed Crompton about the article and his upcoming talk this past week. Here is an excerpt where Crompton draws out the analogus connection between the history of the dispossessed land and current situations in the city. We will be posting the rest of the interview in the coming days.

Jaclyn Bruneau: Your article in The Mainlander draws attention to the linkage between the kinds of aggressive colonialist displacement and dispossession that took place 100 years ago in 1913, and the accelerating gentrification happening in Gastown, the DTES, and extending as far as Grandview-Woodlands. What kinds of excuses or justifications are people making for these new developments that render such a seemingly obvious linkage invisible? You cite a The Province editorial is titled, “The sooner the Downtown Eastside is cleaned up the better” which touches on this.

Nathan Crompton: I think that “cleaned up” is a telling choice of words in this case. What the editors of the Province want today is what they have always wanted as they lean in on the benefits of a capitalist, colonial society while disavowing the consequences of displacement, exclusion, endemic unemployment in the cities, etc. Our article tries to draw on old Province editorials. There is a 1903 editorial calling for the displacement of the Kits reserve, which describes the First Nations settlement in familiar terms, as an “eyesore” that should be removed because it does not maximize the financial value of the land.

It is important to read those old articles, because despite the passage of time they resonate with our troubled present. What the Province wants to “clean up” is of course the same communities that have been resisting and surviving since the beginning of colonial settlement. This is why the proposed cleaning is so deeply political and social. The cleansing of Vancouver’s low-income neighborhoods is a social cleansing, and we need to look beyond the realm of ideology and discourse to identify the process. The “proposals” being put forward by the Province already being acted upon by the real-estate developers and the police, so we have the white press, the State and capital, each forming their own part of the eternal recurrence of colonialism.

Be sure not to miss Nathan’s talk today at 4pm at the Burrard Marina Field House.

Nathan was invited to speak by our current CAG Field House at Burrard Marina artist-in-residence Raymond Boisjoly. The Field House Studio Residency Program is generously supported by the Vancouver Park Board and the City of Vancouver. The inaugural residency with Raymond Boisjoly is supported by the Province of British Columbia through the Ministry of Advanced Education, Innovation and Technology.

More of Jaclyn’s writing can be found here, and her tweets over here.


Interview with Nathan Crompton (Part 1)

I think we should all be restless in where we are — not towards accumulation, but towards an urgency in wanting to better understand the world around us.”
— Justin Langlois

Justin Langlois has recently moved to Vancouver from Windsor, Ontario. He’ll be joining the Faculty of Culture + Community at Emily Carr University of Art & Design this Fall, and the CAG invited him to speak about his practice at the Burrard Marina Fieldhouse on Saturday, August 17th. He is co-founder and research director of Broken City Lab, an “artist-led interdisciplinary creative research collective and non-profit organization working to explore and unfold curiosities around locality, infrastructures, and creative practice leading towards civic change,” and he had lots to share about his background, but more so, his present and future.

He has developed his own brand of social rehabilitation in post-Fordist Windsor—a place which he believes is useful to think about in terms of potential opportunities, rather than as plagued by crisis. For Langlois, his entry into art was not one rooted in a studio practice, but instead in artistic efforts that mobilize several artists and ideas—like organizing rock shows, or producing a 200-copy newspaper. It seems inevitable that his small-town upbringing can be cited as an enabler for his enlightened sense of engagement and facilitation.

He touched on some key areas of the organization’s operational pedagogy and flipped through a small pamphlet (click here to view the pamphlet), sharing each page one-by-one. Each page expressed a carefully crafted opinion or idea that followed suit with its title, Limits and Possibilities: A Pamphlet on Gestures of Art, Education & Civic Life—a title originating from Langlois’ belief that it is easier to begin acting and creating within a defined area, instead of trying to wrangle with infinity. He talked about the necessity to re-think the words and terms that we have come to establish meanings for which are insufficient; things like social change, engagement, public participation, and education. He encouraged the audience to consider each point to act as an entry from which a larger conversation could develop, and people responded at the end with thoughtful and sincere rebuttals. It’s only a matter of time ‘til we see what kinds of projects Langlois brings to life in Vancouver.


Artists in Public | Justin Langlois Talk

I knocked on the door of the Field House to be greeted by Raymond who had set out two glasses and a bottle of mineral water. We chatted about Miranda July’s latest project involving personal e-mails and Sheila Heti’s admirable (and very literary) contributions to it; about women writers who incorporate auto-biographical elements into their work; and Wendy, a tragically hilarious fictional character whose haphazard attempt to become part of the contemporary art world is rendered as a comic column by Walter Scott. With the click of a button, we began:

Hey Raymond. What are you up to at the field house?
I’m a Vancouver based artist working on a lot of assorted things here. No one big project but just working toward a lot of stuff coming up—producing work as well as doing research for future work.

How have you enjoyed using this space, now that you’ve been here for a few months?
It’s really amazing. Especially since the weather has gotten better, there’s been this incredible thing where there’s always a lot of activity around here, with Bard on the Beach being really proximate. It’s made for some interesting times.

You were recently in Norway, for a festival called Riddu Riddu which brings Sami people together with indigenous people from around the world. What were you doing there and what did you learn?
I was there presenting work in the context of the festival which was nice. There was less pressure, because everybody there is going to see Buffy Sainte-Marie. It was sort of just like “yeah, I’ve got something in the library” so it feels a lot different [than having a solo exhibition]. I learned that it–it was just nice to come to understand the different circumstances that people sort of come to claim indigenous identity within. It gave me ways to think about how those processes operate in the Americas—things that otherwise just seem really kind of straightforward or easy—that there are different models for how those things happened.

And what was the work you exhibited there?
They were derived from a body of work I made a few years ago where I made indigenous place name black metal logos.

Check us out again soon (Part II on its way!) for more about Raymond.

Raymond Boisjoly is currently the artist-in-residence at the CAG Field House at Burrard Marina. The Field House Studio Residency Program is generously supported by the Vancouver Park Board and the City of Vancouver. The inaugural residency with Raymond Boisjoly is supported by the Province of British Columbia through the Ministry of Advanced Education, Innovation and Technology.

More of Jaclyn’s writing can be found here, and her tweets over here.


Afternoons with Raymond – Part I

This is Part 2 of an interview with Burrard Marina Field House artist-in-residence Raymond Boisjoly and CAG Field House intern Jaclyn Bruneau. Read Part I here.

Afternoons with Raymond – Part II

Jaclyn (JB): Raymond, your recent trip to Norway wasn’t your first connection to Norwegian culture. I heard  a connection of yours to Norway was the black metal music text works made in response to the proposed re-naming of Stanley Park. The City was bouncing around the idea of reintroducing the name of the indigenous tribe that resided on that site since as long as 3000 years ago. What was it about the aesthetic of black metal that specifically jarred you and made it seem right for the project?

Raymond (RB): My interest in it was about being able to approach indigenous issues that didn’t necessarily have to reproduce familiar, established understandings of aboriginal artistic practice. It was about the ability to frame it through another aesthetic that isn’t premised on primordial belonging—that isn’t about what we think we already know about the aesthetics but the capacity to come to see it differently.

JB: Right, and so hence the appearance of the text which is sharp, thorny and harsh-looking. Why were those characteristics the best fit for a project that was trying to reclaim or reestablish a name, considering that the conditions now are completely different in this city for the way we think about First Nations people?

RB: I just like the idea that a lot of it is really decrepit or withered—that it seems to place itself in the midst of the process of decay; that it somehow, at least for me, registers somehow, the less than ideal circumstances that we find ourselves in; where maybe we can’t necessarily conceive of a solution to the complexity of the relationship between aboriginal peoples, the Canadian government, and Canadians generally. And that became this really sort of weird thing that could register those complexities in a certain way. That it was about cultural competency that wasn’t premised on aboriginal identity or belonging but was an elective affinity—that somebody who likes black metal might come to encounter them, and it maybe smuggled in a concern for aboriginal issues that maybe could be communicated or could be legible to a different audience.

JB: You make use of text in some really intricate and thoughtful ways that invite people to re-read and re-assess, testing different potential meanings. I’m talking about your project ‘As it Comes’  in the window of the CAG as well as at Yaletown-Roundhouse  Station, Canada Line. Has text always been part of your work? Why is it important?

RB: Ever since I was a photo student at Emily Carr, I had supportive instructors who allowed me to do something other than making photographs, so it just became this thing that was within a lot of work that I came to encounter. There could be this discrepancy between the work and its description—I found that was a really active place to situate myself, in terms of thinking through (in the very imprecise way) that messages can be communicated.

Like there was this idea that I had about the possibility for thinking of how a failure of translation could actually be a productive thing, that it could be about simply looking at those contingencies of communication and the fact that we use these various strategies, but they produce a very particular framing; that language becomes an interesting way to conceive of that process through which ferry the messages across from person to person, from place to place.

JB: The choice of typeface seems inextricably important from the overall formation of the messages you create. Do the text and the typeface arise somewhat simultaneously in your ideation process, or how is the decision made for that pairing?

RB: It seems very straightforward to me, at least. There’s not necessarily any sort of long process of trying to figure out what typeface might work. So it becomes primarily more about simply what seems like a manageable typeface to use—something that doesn’t necessarily call too much attention to itself, which I guess is a lot different from the black metal works. I sort of see it as being active but somehow not really directive for the message in any particular way. Instead, somehow the message comes to fill it, strangely. So it’s a weird process that I don’t know if I can really articulate.

It’s—at least to me—some not very interesting logistical phenomenon. It’s like, I just have to pick one.

JB: You are hosting a talk at the Field House by writer  Nathan Crompton for Culture Days on Saturday, September 28th at 4 pm . Can you tell me a bit about the thought behind inviting him ?

RB: I don’t really recall the first place I encountered him but he’s really active in Vancouver, and he’s asking difficult questions about a lot of civic processes, and framing them in an accessible way that allows people to talk about them.

But I was interested in talking with him specifically about the article that he co-authored that was recently published on The Mainlander website about the Kitsilano Reserve which is immediately proximate to this studio—because it had come up a few times, so I was just really anxious to think about the necessity to think through that process. The studio being given by the City of Vancouver to arts groups, and individuals, and institutions like the CAG—it seems like a good means not simply to activate the space but also to come to understand something too—that there’s a more complex history behind the fact that these field houses have fallen out of use, and it seems like an interesting thing to talk about. So it’s actually a convenient thing, sort of seeing that article and realizing the potential for some kind of public discussion.

Stay tuned for the third and final installment of this discussion!

Raymond Boisjoly is currently the artist-in-residence at the CAG Field House at Burrard Marina. The Field House Studio Residency Program is generously supported by the Vancouver Park Board and the City of Vancouver. The inaugural residency with Raymond Boisjoly is supported by the Province of British Columbia through the Ministry of Advanced Education, Innovation and Technology.

More of Jaclyn’s writing can be found here, and her tweets over here.


Afternoons with Raymond – Part II

This is Part III of an interview with Burrard Marina Field House artist-in-residence Raymond Boisjoly and CAG Field House intern Jaclyn Bruneau. Preceding Part III was a Part I and II. Check ’em out.

Afternoons with Raymond – PART III

JB: Can you talk a little bit about how your own heritage relates to your work? I know you’ve talked about challenging these more classical, traditional ways of representing indigenous cultures.

RB: Well it does come to inform my work, but not in any simple way. I have made works that sort of trade on traditional imagery. I’m always sort of concerned with making sure that the work doesn’t come to be mistaken for the thing it represents. I’m interested in my capacity as an indigenous artist to be able to make work about indigenous issues that doesn’t simply reduce that to me making work about indigenous issues because I am myself indigenous.
I would like to think that I am also making work about these things because they’re important to everyone. They concern certain circumstances that we’re all in the midst of that come to impact us in uneven ways. So it becomes something that I definitely want to make accessible in a way that is about it coming to have this capacity to communicate something of that experience but in a strange, unfamiliar, unforeseen way.

So my heritage comes to influence that and it’s kind of about seeing a certain possibility in that, in terms of making contemporary art that doesn’t have to come close to aboriginal cultural practices as it is known, but could potentially work towards creating some sort of intuitive change to things or a subtle way of actually just letting material come to do something in and of itself. It’s a complex process in that—in a lot of works, my heritage isn’t necessarily readable in it and I’m interested in that discrepancy, where it becomes sort of, like, a furtive presence. It ultimately requires a certain activity to understand that relationship.

JB: What other cultures have affected you and influenced your work?

RB: A lot of things I’ve been interested in have been about the analyses of subcultures. I look to music a lot. I look at a lot of things that primarily address ideas of cultural transformation as represented through popular music, like the strange idea that both funk and heavy metal are derived from rhythm and blues in a way that each musical form was subtly transformed in a certain transitional process to communicate to a particular audience at a given time and place, but somehow leads to these very divergent forms.

So I’m really interested in that thing where it scarcely becomes that thing that it’s going to be. At least, looking at funk and heavy metal—not specifically cultures, but subcultural forms—becomes an interesting analogy between, at least for me—in terms of trying to understand that process—simply conceiving of an artistic practice isn’t about knowing what it is but realizing that my work can come to transform my understanding of things I have done previously.

JB: What does digital culture have to do with all of this? I’m thinking about the LightJet prints that were on display in March and April which you created by dragging your iPhone around a flatbed scanner as it played musical performances from the ‘60s and ‘70s. Is there a particular comment you’re making by converging these multiple electronic processes of new and old?

RB: So they’re prints made by laser exposing the piece of paper. It’s processed like any photograph, so I guess that melding becomes a strange thing of finding some other sort of way to show the manner in which photography can index time. In a lot of cases, strangely, many of the scans that I made scanned right to left rather than left to right, so it creates these weird tensions that might not be visible. But I like that strange thing in which these different technologies come to function—that they can be used in these ways that they weren’t necessarily intended to be used for; to create some image of these different types of image-making. The ipod on the scanner leaves this layer in between the two of them—the dust and scratches on the glass, so it’s this strange thing of there being a depicted sort of material and an actual material, somehow.

I’m hearing all these stories about children’s intuitive use of touch screen technology that comes to affect the way that they expect printed magazines to function. It leads me to think of that strange thing where our encounter with visual material just creates this different relationship we have to it that is about interacting with it; seeing a certain capacity with it to touch it to make it work.

I think that process of using the ipods and the scanners means to—well, that easily manipulable aspect of it to hold an ipod in my hand—it’s sort of about stressing that physical manifestation of it. That it persists as an object that can be used in these weird ways. So it’s just a present capacity of an ipod and a scanner to produce an image in a very ad hoc way.

JB: Tell us about some of the books on your shelves.

RB: [Echolalias: On the Forgetting of Language], I’m looking at it because I’m teaching a course that is ostensibly about text-based art. The book is this really amazing thing—there are chapters in it that deal with the use of geological metaphors and biological metaphors in our understanding of language… so the idea that a language could be said to die as being a biological metaphor. Looking at shifts, thinking of the way in which language shifts where two languages can come to encounter one another and have subtle effects on one another is often discussed in terms of geology. So it’s a really amazing in the sense that it finds all this incredibly rich imagery in the way people sort of discuss language; and what people expect of it.

JB: How does it read?

RB: It’s quite academic, but really kind of a fascinating thing in the sense that it’s episodic. I know a lot of these started as individual articles—like, H & Co. was first published in Cabinet. So it reads very easily in the sense that it’s not very demanding and fairly short and accessible. So it’s a really incredible book that I’ve been returning to for quite a while and that I’m excited to finally be able to share with students.

JB: Where are you at with the course?

RB: I’m teaching it at Emily Carr and there’s a lot of planning to do for it this month [August].

JB: What else have you got in that pile?

RB: [chuckles] What else?

JB: Show me one more.

RB: Well, there’s this incredible Jimmie Durham catalog—A Matter of Life and Death and Singing. [Begins flipping through the book and does not stop until his response concludes]. This is part of a career-long retrospective. It’s this incredible document that is exciting in the sense that it seems tied to a lot of these other things, like a collection of his poetry and critical writings that are also coming out, but he’s just someone that I really admire and it’s nice to see this kind of extended document concerning his career.

JB: Thank you so much for your time.

RB: No problem.

Raymond Boisjoly is currently the artist-in-residence at the CAG Field House at Burrard Marina. The Field House Studio Residency Program is generously supported by the Vancouver Park Board and the City of Vancouver. The inaugural residency with Raymond Boisjoly is supported by the Province of British Columbia through the Ministry of Advanced Education, Innovation and Technology.

More of Jaclyn’s writing can be found here, and her tweets over here.


Afternoons with Raymond – Part III

Another sunny Saturday brought lots of folks ’round for our 3rd and final Family Day of this summer season. Ros offered a step-by-step demo of how to create functional pinwheels of all shapes and sizes. There were lots of different papers, from patterned origami to neon construction, and some sparkly pipe cleaners to add that final zing. Thanks to everyone who came out for our Family Day series this summer and we hope to see you all soon.


Family Day – Pinwheel Making at the Field House

On Wednesday night, about 50 people came down to the Burrard Marina Field House at 1655 Whyte Street for the launch of the FUSE Summer 2013 issue: Survivors and Survivalists. It began in the marina’s locker room lounge with a sublime performance of traditional Indian music by artist and Dhrupad vocalist Harkeerat Mangat and Tabla drummer Sunny Matharu. Listen to the performance here.

After flipping through the fresh pages, people sauntered around the lawn and eventually upstairs for a drink of something classic or the aggressive and delicious summer punch made by FUSE Contributing Editor Amy Fung. Helen Reed rocked the upstairs patio with her awesome combination of beats that crossed decades and countries until no more dances could be danced.


Fuse Magazine launch at the Field House

This summer the CAG launched a new series of talks at Burrard Marina Field House inviting creative and cultural producers to share their theories, thoughts, and experiences of developing projects in the public realm.

The first talk presented collaborators Zoe Kreye and Catherine Grau who worked on a public project throughout Vancouver entitled Unlearning Weekender, (the project was by Goethe Satellite @ Vancouver, in cooperation with Dance Troupe Practice, Windsor House School, Public Dreams and Revised Projects). They discussed a series of workshops which invited the public to create rituals as a means of challenging invisible social structures aiming to strengthen community bonds.

Read more here about the Unlearning Weekenders Project on the Goethe Institute blog.

Watch the Goethe Satellite video below of the talk at the Field House, video by Ash Tanasiychuk (


Watch the Unlearning Weekenders Video – now live!

Take a look, above at a selection of images from the previous two family day Saturday events, held at the Burrard Marina Field House. Don’t miss joining in the next family day event on Saturday, August 29, from 1-4 pm!


Making art at the Field House – Fun in the Sun

I spoke with Burrard Marina Field House artist-in-residence Raymond Boisjoly, who was on the other side of the big pond, and he took a few minutes to fill me in about where he was, and what he was up to.

Where are you right now?

I am in Manndalen within Sápmi, the land of the Sami people that extends across Norway, Finland, Sweden and the Kola Peninsula of Russia.

What are you doing there?

I am attending Riddu Riđđu, an indigenous arts festival that has been running for 22 years.

What comes to your mind about being there?

Having been gifted a book of Sami proverbs, I found this: “When in a new country, follow its ways.”

Have you seen any art you want to tell us about?

Yesterday I was told about a house here in Manndalen built to spite local Norwegian authorities following the Second World War. Anton Sjåbakken built a house from scraps found from various sources. The Norwegian government want to tax him and collect the equivalent of one years wages for this provisional shelter. Sjåbakken wrote a letter outlining his frustration which also gave the house the name by which it is now known: The Shit Hell Fucking House.

Tell me about a meal you’ve enjoyed…

I have been enjoying traditional dried reindeer meat.

… and a reason you wouldn’t want to leave?

The midnight sun provides many good working hours, I often see people simply going about their business at absolutely any time of day.

– Thanks Raymond, see you back in Vancouver, Jaclyn.

Raymond Boisjoly is currently the artist-in-residence at the CAG Field House at Burrard Marina. The Field House Studio Residency Program is generously supported by the Vancouver Park Board and the City of Vancouver. The inaugural residency with Raymond Boisjoly is supported by the Province of British Columbia through the Ministry of Advanced Education, Innovation and Technology.

More of Jaclyn’s writing can be found here, and her tweets over here.


A few things about Norway from Raymond

Collaborators, Catherine Grau and Zoe Kreye met while attending the MFA program in Public Art and New Artistic Strategies at the Bauhaus in Weimar, Germany. It was here that the conceptual basis for their artistic practice was born. Along with a group of about 15 others’ recently spent an afternoon with them at the Burrard Marina Field House. While sitting on the Field House lawn overlooking a view of hundreds of boats, they gave a full overview of their most recent project, Unlearning Weekenders.

Over the duration of the talk, we were introduced to the notion of ‘unlearning’. Grau and Kreye shared texts and theories that influenced them in the development of their project and their own approach to ‘unlearning’. Through their ideas they sought to reassess, deconstruct, look within, or question the things considered to be ‘given’ in our culture.

They spoke of the desire to imagine and make gestures toward decolonizing and deinstitutionalizing today’s monochromatic educational and economic systems. They discussed the ways our current systems fail to address individuals, our hominal wants and needs; how they divide us from our bodies and how they prevent us from knowing ourselves in a way unobstructed by the dogmas that tell us how to be. Zoe illustrated this by mentioning that in every level of our education and work (middle school, high school, post-secondary, professionalism) we involve our bodies increasingly less.

Responding to these ideas, Grau and Kreye’s research led them to forms of physical movement and dance in an ‘attempt to replenish themselves’ from the rigor of both creating and giving.

Throughout the talk the artists shared their experiences, including, developing a 12-hour procession through the city with various local community groups and individuals. Numerous activities occurred through this procession, including: a stick-listening event at Third beach; a backwards walking procession underneath Canada Place; walking across Burrard Bridge all tied to each other and burying themselves in the sand while listening to one participant reading Some Thoughts on the Common Toad by George Orwell.

A good portion of the audience were participants in the weekend procession (hence the Weekenders part of the title). Their presence enriched the discussion with meaningful reflections, questions and contemplations. The artists were receptive and enthusiastic about the insights, and seemed to be mentally banking them for future consideration as they move forward.

I left full of appreciation, excitement and hope about the process of inquiry and making earnest attempts to cultivate a kind of purity of the self. Throughout the talk, I realized their work could not be separate from who they are, their research and the way it feeds into their art, is about shedding the cultural sludge that becomes attached to us. This was epitomized by their relaxed attitude to the occasional sound of planes overhead. They simply paused and waited for it to pass.

For more information on the project, check out their website.

This artist talk was the first of many that will take place at the Field House. We’ll be hosting Family Days on Saturday July 27 and August 24, 1-4 pm. If you want to make sure not to miss anything, keep an eye on our Twitter, Facebook, and get on the mailing list (scroll to the bottom right on the page) to receive our updates.

– Jaclyn, whose writing and photos you can check out here, and tweets over here.

The Field House Studio Residency Program is generously supported by the Vancouver Park Board and the City of Vancouver.


Field House Update: Unlearning Weekenders Artist Talk – Catherine Grau & Zoe Kreye

Hello one and all,

I’m Jaclyn Bruneau, the CAG Field House intern currently working with Raymond Boisjoly during his summer artist-in-residence at the Burrard Marina Field House Studio. I’ll be keeping people in the loop about his activities, and with Field House events by reporting in this blog. Look for posts with the ‘Field House Studio’ blog category and keep your dials tuned in.

A few Saturdays ago, Raymond and I spent the afternoon at False Creek Community Centre where he led a workshop as part of the Vancouver Draw Down, that very cool single-day drawing festival that invites Vancouverites to access various types of drawing workshops for free, held in over 23 locations city wide. The workshop was titled Re-Inventing Drawing and began invitingly with tables scattered with pipe cleaners, masking tape, paper cups, tree branches, string, scissors, pieces of paper big and small, and a ton of markers all of which were used together or separately to create fantastically experimental gestural marks on paper.

Our first two visitors were a pair of twins named Alex and Liam, who seemed to have made use of all the materials. They taped felts all around the parameter of the paper cup; strung together branches, attaching a pen on each end and then twirling the contraption above paper; and stuck felts through holes in foamy paper. Their mom seemed blown away at all the things they came up with. Some others made contraptions with the branches that allowed two people to each take hold of a part of the branch, and proceed to see if they could collaboratively render an image they thought up together beforehand. Raymond even drew my attention to a mystery visitor who got carried away with their new tools on the hardwood floor (oops!). Above are some photos from the workshop.

During the afternoon’s workshop the space was flooded with natural light and we left the doors wide open, so people walking the path outside could peek in and join. We met daughters and dads, kids in strollers, couples, best friends, and even a few grandparents. It was amazing how little instruction everyone needed. They seemed full of ideas, and were very eager–especially those itching to fill their Draw Down passports with stamps. I floated around taking photos and getting people started. Raymond seemed to know exactly what to say in the way of inspiration for those stuck for an idea.

– Jaclyn, whose writing and photos you can check out here, and tweets over here.

The Field House Studio Residency Program is generously supported by the Vancouver Park Board and the City of Vancouver. The inaugural residency with Raymond Boisjoly is supported by the Province of British Columbia through the Ministry of Advanced Education, Innovation and Technology.


News from the Field House & fun with Draw Down!

In partnership with the City of Vancouver Field House Studio Residency Program, the Contemporary Art Gallery is pleased to present Canadian artist Raymond Boisjoly as our inaugural resident artist.

For six months he will occupy the Burrard Marina Field House, using it as a studio and a place for community engagement, coinciding with the launch of As It Comes, two new interrelated public works. The title appears at the Yaletown-Roundhouse Station as a discrete piece, humorously foreboding, and more comic than terrifying, presented in brightly coloured vinyl like a credit from a B-list horror film. Linked to the text in the gallery windows, Boisjoly removes all suggestions of the past, not to deny what has become history, but with the intent to restore belief systems that are still intact.

Raymond Boisjoly
As It Comes
February 8 to June 16, 2013
Window Spaces and off-site at Yaletown-Roundhouse Station, Canada Line and Field House Studio Residency Program.

Opening reception: Thursday February 7, 7–10 pm
Please join us to celebrate the opening of our new exhibitions and to launch this new initiative.

The inaugural residency with Raymond Boisjoly is generously supported by the Vancouver Park Board and the City of Vancouver through its Field House Studio Residency Program and by the Province of British Columbia through the Ministry of Advanced Education, Innovation and Technology.

As It Comes at Yaletown-Roundhouse Station, Canada Line is presented in partnership with the Canada Line Public Art Program — Intransit BC.


Announcing: The Fieldhouse Studio Residency Program partnership


Visit CAG

555 Nelson Street
Vancouver, British Columbia
Canada V6B 6R5

T 00 1 604 681 2700
F 00 1 604 683 2710

Gallery Hours
Tues – Sun 12 – 6 pm

  • Closed on British Columbia statutory holidays
  • The galleries are wheelchair accessible
  • The Gallery is free of charge
  • Suggested donation of $5

Reference Library



Become a Member

The CAG is a not-for-profit reliant on member support. As a Member of the CAG, you are supporting contemporary art now and playing a role in its future.

Make a Donation

Help support the only free public art gallery in Vancouver.
Donate Now