Thursday, December 17, 2009

A Word of Welcome

Welcome to the Performing Vancouver blog, which is intended to serve as a web archive and ideas exchange related to a similarly titled course that I will be teaching in the English Department at Simon Fraser University, starting in January 2010.

In this course, students and I will be analyzing the city of Vancouver through the lens of performance studies. In addition to focusing on key works in the plastic and performing arts that take Vancouver as their subject, we will also discuss various hallmark events, signature architecture and urban design, sports and leisure activities, advertising campaigns, even the local restaurant scene, that together showcase Vancouver as a Pacific Rim lifestyle destination ripe for tourism, real estate speculation, and capital investment.

We will also examine how such globally-inflected performances of place promotion frequently come in conflict with more historically situated and politically fractious civic responses to questions of homelessness and gentrification; crime and safety; social sustainability and property development; funding for the arts and resource management; institutionalized forgetting and community remembrance.

Our discussions will be organized around four main modules: the work programmed for and the audiences attending the January PuSh International Performing Arts Festival; the 2010 Winter Olympics; the history of the commissioning, design, siting, and response to various Vancouver monuments and memorials; and post-1960s conceptual and performance art produced in the city, with a special focus on the Vancouver School of photography.

Stay tuned for further postings from enrolled students beginning in January.

Peter Dickinson
Course Instructor

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