Sunday, April 25, 2010
When I look at Jeff Wall's Mimic (1982), I can’t help but be embarrassed. Here we have a sophisticated Asian gentlemen minding his own business, when this white guy comes along and simultaneously gives him the finger and makes fun of his race. It seems he is walking just far enough behind the Asian gentleman so that he doesn’t actually have to confront him, and instead is able to mock him passively without risking a rebuttal. The white gentleman appears to be dragging his girlfriend along behind him in a way that suggests her subordinate role. The woman is dressed in skimpy shorts, a skimpy top, and heels. Everything about the photo makes the viewer side with the Asian man. He has the appearance of a respectable person who is a member of the business community. I think the purpose of Wall’s piece is to elicit this type of reaction, to embarrass us and compel us to side with the Asian man. The topic of racism and the Asian community is very Vancouver. As sad as it is to say, especially during the eighties, the increasing Asian population would have festered attitudes of racism. This picture exposes a racism that appears to have stemmed out of both jealousy and misdirected hatred. This photo has the effect of revealing racism as trashy and uncalled for. Although Wall’s Mimic doesn’t exactly shine Vancouver in the most positive light, it has the ability to create awareness about racism in our city.
There were two really tragic deaths in my high school.
It makes me sad that in my mind, they’re still classified as “those two really tragic deaths in my high school”. These kids were known around the hallways, at parties, from elementary school, and in classrooms. I now think back to them and automatically associate the eerie funerals, the lowered flag, the banners and the inscriptions on the school benches to their entire memories.
Of course I wish they were still around, but I also now wish that none of the memorial stuff lingered in my mind. In a way, those constant reminders seem like a pathetic attempt to force memory; aside from having a comforting place to pay respects, I think it would be nice if we had some confidence in our memories.
So it was 4:20 a few days ago...
I know this isn’t along the same lines of the types of cultural memory we’ve been talking about (monuments, tragedies, etc.), but I think it’s kind of cool how the cannabis culture club connects and organizes this massive get-together and chillfest on every April 20th. It feels like there’s a certain pressure to keep up the tradition, and therefore it’s more of a performance of memory than remembering itself. It’s a recognizable date regardless of partially losing its original meaning, and portrays
I really like the umbrellas here too...
Clint Burnham discussed the Vancouver Public Library design as compensating a city “which fears both its First Nations past and Asian future” (36).
I was thinking about the Olympics opening and closing ceremonies... I found it interesting that the closing ceremonies were so infused with classic Canadian stereotypes: giant (expensive) beavers, lumberjacks, and the like. Once everything had been said and done, and the weight of the opening ceremony (and the Games!) had lifted,
I also found it fascinating how much the First Nations culture was stressed. Throughout the Games, I noticed that each of the shows I went to (in the Cultural Olympiad) had a sideshow, portraying very typical First Nations art and performance. In the opening ceremonies, there was almost an over-expression of First Nations influence, not only “pigeonholing” the art, but resulting in a pressured pigeonholing of
Another Note on the Olympics...
(since my Simpsons post didn’t count!)
I was out and about in the streets of
For one, there was a very clear clash between the Americans and the Canadians. I don’t really need to say much about this. But one really cool thing I observed was how many foreigners were backing
Attached are some pics :)