During the six years I lived in Vancouver I had the good fortune to reside in a number of neighbourhoods that would now be considered exclusive. Even then, gentrification was on the rise and this was evident in various parts of the city. I was in my second year at Emily Carr College of Art and Design at the time, which opened its doors on Granville Island the previous year. Every day, as I walked to and from campus, I passed an empty city block that had formerly been city owned low-rental housing. The tenants had moved out long ago, having been evicted from their homes, which were demolished as part of an unsuccessful development project. The overgrown lot had lain in ruins for over a decade and become a dumping ground for many kinds of assorted debris.
For this artwork I collected armchairs and couches from the overgrown brambles to create an amphitheatre of sorts that looked out on the west side of the block, towards Burrard Street, a major thoroughfare not far from the Burrard Street bridge. In doing so, I hoped to create a memorial for the tenants who once lived there, and make a quiet statement about unregulated real estate speculation and short-sighted urban planning.
© Loades 2019