Wednesday, August 13, 2014

ACME 2014

Tonight, at 7 pm in the World Art Centre at SFU Woodward's, I will be launching along with co-organizers Kirsty Johnston and Keren Zaiontz, and additional colleagues from UBC and Queen Mary, University of London, a conference called "The Life and Death of the Arts in Cities after Mega-Events."

As we note on our website, "The conference aims to begin an international dialogue about the role of the arts in the production of urban mega-events, with a specific comparative focus on both the positive and negative cultural legacies of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games and the London 2012 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games. This event brings together academics, artists, cultural presenters, and urban planners from Canada and the UK in order to re-imagine the impact and relevance of the visual and performing arts in such large-scale events. Through panel presentations and roundtable discussions participants will generate new ways of understanding the pressured and paradoxical context of artists and cultural industries being commandeered to produce and promote much of the theatrical and affective experience of hallmark events, while at the same time frequently being subject to aggressive infrastructural and funding cuts once the event is over."

We've got an amazing line-up of presenters and speakers, including Robert Kerr, Director of the Vancouver 2010 Cultural Olympiad; Jenny Sealey, Artistic Director of Graeae Theatre in London and Co-Producer of the London 2012 Paralympic Opening Ceremonies; and Neville Gabie, former Artist-in-Residence with the London Olympic Development Authority. Things kick off this evening with a keynote presentation by renowned Vancouver conceptual photographer Christos Dikeakos, who will be talking with my colleague Clint Burnham about his documentation of the transformation of the False Creek Flats in the wake of Expo 86 and the building of the 2010 Olympic Village.

We have also programed several "art ambles" in the city curated by local artist-scholars (UBC's Dylan Robinson and Coll Thrush; Neworld Theatre's Adrienne Wong, who has returned to the city from her new home in Ottawa especially for this event; and Other Sights for Artists' Projects' Lorna Brown, Barbara Cole, and Vanessa Kwan). One of these is actually going on in False Creek South right now!

But for the rain, everything seems to be going ahead as planned (no anxious phone calls yet!). I hope to be able to blog a bit about the event as it unfolds over the next three days--either here, or as part of a team of posters to our ACME 2014 website.


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