The opening of the Os Gêmeos mural, sponsored by the Vancouver Biennale, at the Ocean Cement Plan on Granville Island this last weekend:



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I’m struck by the comparison of “Giants” to “A-maze-ing Laughter” – a Biennale legacy at English Bay.

  • Both are fun, graphic and representational
  • Both are distinctly non-Anglo, created by artists who have done works that look like the people from their places
  • Both engage people through the act of photography

All right, everything engages people through photography, now that everyone has a camera in their hands at all times.  But so many who viewed “Giants” took a selfie with their friends and family or of themselves that it seemed almost compulsory, as though the art demanded it.

Indeed, can we even engage with art unless we take a picture of it?   Is this just a lazy way of visual consumption, as though, once photographed, the art is then ‘seen’?  And is the art the ancillary image, secondary to the photographic selfie?

The difference between the two works, though, is that people will not be able to get close to the silos when the cement plant is in operation.  And it’s just not the same from the other side.