LOCATION: Vancouver Art Gallery façade, between Robson Street between Hornby and Howe Street
DATE: September 4 to September 8, 2015 – 9pm to 3am each evening
ARTISTS: WALLPAPERS, Sonny Assu, Ed Spence
TYPE: Projection Festival

FAÇADE, a monumental projection mapping project and outdoor architectural intervention, transformed the Robson Street façade of the Vancouver Art Gallery with the work of Vancouver-based contemporary artists from September 4 to September 8, 2015. Organized by the Burrard Arts Foundation (BAF) in collaboration with the Vancouver Art Gallery, this public art project featured newly commissioned works by artists Sonny Assu, Ed Spence and the WALLPAPERS artist collective. Projections took place after sunset beginning September 4 until September 8, with a public reception and encore presentation featuring all artists on September 7th, 2015.

Each work conveys the artists’ sensibilities within their studio practices, while utilizing the principles and techniques related to the emerging format of projection mapping within a site-specific architectural context. As a whole the project speaks to the ubiquity of digital forms in contemporary life and contemplates the role that new technologies play in contemporary and public art while engaging the public in a grand intervention in the heart of downtown Vancouver.

FAÇADE 2015 is the inaugural year of an annual festival aimed to provide the City of Vancouver with a dynamic and interactive approach to place-making and visual art experience in the public realm. FAÇADE takes cues from renowned visual arts festivals such as VIVID in Sydney, Australia, and Nuit Blanche in Toronto – events that draw millions of attendees each year.

September 4, Friday – WALLPAPERS
WALLPAPERS is a collective founded in 2011 by Sara Ludy (b. 1980), Nicolas Sassoon (b. 1981) and Sylvain Sailly (b. 1983), artists deeply involved with contemporary image-making tools and culture while developing artistic investigations focused on the production of motion, screen and projection based digital artworks. Their artworks are computer-generated, animated patterns that exist online at www.w-a-l-l-p-a-p-e-r-s.net. Exhibited online, the work takes form as a catalogue of digital patterns, with each artwork created by an individual artist and displayed full-screen on its own URL. WALLPAPERS refers to the pattern-making in both traditional wallpaper applied to walls as well as digital wallpaper applied to computer desktop backgrounds. Each artist conveys their own approach to the format and employs distinctive modes of production. The artworks exhibited through WALLPAPERS hold ties to traditional methods of pattern-making in addition to art forms adjusted to a contemporary technological context of art production and dissemination. WALLPAPERS emphasizes the use of screens and projections as displays for digital art forms. WALLPAPERS is concurrently participating in Beyond the Trees: WALLPAPERS in Dialogue with Emily Carr at the Vancouver Art Gallery through September 7, 2015.

September 5, Saturday – Sonny Assu
Sonny Assu (b. 1975) is an interdisciplinary artist whose work takes the form of museum interventions, large-scale installations, sculpture, photography, printmaking and paintings. He merges the aesthetics of Indigenous iconography with a pop art sensibility in an effort to address contemporary, political and ideological issues. His work often focuses on Indigenous issues and rights, consumerism, branding and new technologies, and the ways in which the past has come to inform contemporary ideas and identities. Assu infuses his work with wry humour to open the dialogue towards the use of consumerism, branding and technology as totemic representation. Within this, his work deals with the loss of language, loss of cultural resources and the effects of colonization upon the Indigenous people of North America. There is a clear interest in materiality in Assu’s work. Each material is carefully considered, particularly in relation to Indigenous culture: hand-painted deer/elk hide drums for their performance significance; posters for their mass-distribution qualities; and copper for its cultural importance to the Indigenous People of the Northwest Coast. Assu’s projects emphasize the intersections and boundaries of traditional Indigenous art within the larger realm of contemporary art. Sonny Assu is Liǥwildaʼx̱w (We Wai Kai) of the Kwakwaka’wakw nations. He graduated with a BFA from Emily Carr Art and Design University in 2002 and the MFA program at Concordia University. He received the BC Creative Achievement Award in First Nations art in 2011 and was long-listed for the Sobey Art Award in 2012 and 2013.

September 6, Sunday – Ed Spence
Ed Spence (b. 1981) is a cross-disciplinary artist who utilizes text, photography and installation in his practice. Currently living and working in Vancouver, BC, much of his work concerns itself in a running dialogue about the human condition in a world of rapidly progressing technological evolution. Spence’s practice addresses complex issues associated with digital culture including information technology, computer processing and post-humanist ideology while continuing the tradition of a physical studio-based practice of art making. Recent work involves photo-collage that mimics a digital aesthetic by dissecting portions of the image into tiny pixels which are cut and reorganized by hand. Born and raised in Salmon Arm, BC, Spence studied and received his BFA from UBC Okanagan in 2005. He was awarded the President’s Purchase Award for a multi-channel video installation and his work has been exhibited across Canada, United States and Europe. In the spring of 2012 he was awarded a two month research residency in Italy where he developed video accompaniment to a contemporary dance performance that was later shown in Berlin.

Monday, September 7 – Encore (WALLPAPERS, Sonny Assu, Ed Spence)
Including a Live Mapping Performance featuring multimedia artists Julien Abril and Frank Dufaux with special musical guest pianist Sanaz Sotoudeh, courtesy of the Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association. Fazioli piano provided in-kind by Showcase Pianos.

About the Vancouver Art Gallery
The Vancouver Art Gallery is a not-for-profit organization supported by its members, individual donors, corporate funders, foundations, the City of Vancouver, the Province of British Columbia through the BC Arts Council, and the Canada Council for the Arts.

About Graphics eMotion
Graphics eMotion is a media arts company that specializes in large-scale Multimedia installations and immersive experiences. Being based in Montreal – UNESCO’ s city of design – the company is comprised of talented professionals from different backgrounds and expertise. Graphics eMotion offers a range of services including architectural projections, immersive domes, LED solutions, custom interactive settings, and water projections. Their 3d, audio-visual, and motion design capabilities inspire people’s imagination through the creation of graphics and immersive experiences.

Image Credits: Ema Peter Photography