CAG Offsite is a series of projects that takes programming outside of the gallery and allows audiences to experience contemporary art within the wider context of the city. In May (2011) the CAG launched the first Offsite project, one that takes artist projects directly into the gallery’s surrounding community. Participants were led on foot in an immersive, interactive experience using a GPS enabled device. Working with consultant Hannah Hughes and Autobox Media, the CAG designed a program that uses LAYAR reality browser to guide audiences on a journey in which they can explore and interact with artwork they encounter along the way. This project worked on any smartphone, and devices were available at the CAG for participants wishing to borrow one.
Tran is a Vancouver-based artist whose practice explores the ways that chance and coincidence influence daily life. He is interested in interactions with strangers and objects in unfamiliar or overlooked places, and a common theme in Tran’s practice seems to be his thoughtful and reverent treatment of the mundane or ordinary.
For A Way To Go, Tran guided his audience on an unexpected route through the downtown core by navigating alleyways and shortcuts. The word “Alley” comes from the original French word “Allée” which literally translates as A Way To Go. Tran names the alleyways, thereby elevating their status, however unlike traditional street names these are derived from his personal encounters with individuals and objects rather than being named after important political figures or national historical references as with most main roads in Vancouver.
As the participants followed the route mapped out by Tran, they encountered digital image, audio, and video files on their mobile device, which corresponded with various sites along the way. Participants encountered hidden spaces in the back alleys and site-specific installations. With A Way To Go, Tran created an opportunity for participants to re-examine downtown Vancouver through an artistic lens based on his particular sensibilities and interests, yet each participant’s experience of the project was decidedly personal and unique.
The Offsite mobile series began with Ron Tran’s project A Way To Go, and was followed by Vibrantes by Federico Herrero that took place in the fall.
This program is generously supported by TELUS, 2010 Legacies Now and the Canadian Art Foundation. With thanks to Hannah Hughes.