Thursday, April 17, 2008

River Art

BGL: Project for the Don River

If you're travelling up the lower Don trail this spring you may be surprised to find a cruise ship moored in the Don River. Just south of the old Eastern Avenue bridge it's anchored in the middle of the river. It's actually a model of a cruise ship and unless you know some context I expect most people will be pretty confused. It is part of an art installation put together by an art group called BGL (the initials of the three artists - how original).

Their website talks about the project (although I can't access the promised PDF). There was an insert in the Globe and Mail two weeks ago about the project. There is also a blurb on the Mercer Union blog with additional pictures.

Most contemporary artists provide some context for their art and BGL are no exception. I copied this from the Mercer Union site:

A shrunken cruise ship 25 feet long, completely blackened and anchored in the Don. It is faced by a giant life buoy, totally out of proportion to the ship. With these absurd shifts in scale the function of these objects is brought into question. In case of emergency, is the buoy intended to save the entire ship, or is it meant for the river itself? ... The Nowhere 2 and its life buoy is an emblem par excellence of luxury, idleness and materialism, representing a leisure activity gone slightly wrong. They point to the possibility of being in a place without really seeing it, like tourists taking pictures from the deck but never going ashore. The life buoy introduces an element of anxiety, ... BGL are reflecting back to us the conditions of our time, while subtly bringing attention to the ecological issues of the site.

Subtle indeed. I have a hard time making any connection to ecological issues through this art but at least it will get people talking. Paddle the Don happens in two weeks and I presume many of the paddlers will be somewhat bemused as they pass by.

The Nowhere 2. What happened to Nowhere 1? Maybe it sank...

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