Curated by: Lianne Zannier
Mount Pleasant has a history of urban developments from the 1990s onward. There is an ongoing demand for the resources required to accommodate these redevelopments, which aim to increase densification of the neighbourhood. This contributes to an influx of inhabitants and traffic. Located on the corner of Kingsway and Broadway, the Mount Pleasant Urban Screen is uniquely situated above a major intersection. The Illusion of Movement presents six works by contemporary experimental animators. The work within this program aims to generate a dialogue with the surrounding neighborhood by making visible the complications of urban development and gentrification that continuously alter the landscape and lives of the inhabitants.
In Vancouver, film, animation and special effects are a major industry. This industry has expanded and commercial animation and special effects studios have become more prevalent, especially in Mount Pleasant. There are multiple side-effects to this acceleration, including gentrification and a sudden increase in population. Experimental animation offers a different perspective to industry-based animation and highlights the wide-ranging possibilities of animation as a cross-disciplinary artistic practice. It has the flexibility to expand the possibilities of the medium and play to its past, present and future outside of the limitations of the cinematic industry. Weronika Stepien’s In This House is a low polygon CGI animation that showcases a different approach to the high gloss and refined hyperrealism that is typical of commercial work. Her animation combines traditional drawing techniques with CGI animation to present characters caught in awkward repetitive cycles. These absurd actions become modern day allegories for a way of life dominated by uncertain outcomes.
The Mount Pleasant Urban Screen has been mounted on the tallest building in the neighborhood. This stark tower is filled with self contained units and high-priced mountain views that have drastically affected the community’s landscape. Annapurna Kumar’s Mountain Castle Mountain Flower is inspired by storage containers of all sizes. In this work technological and material waste is pitted against a natural landscape. Kumar depicts a colourful metamorphosis from buildings and mountains to material waste.
Flavourcel is an animation collective based in Vancouver who ask what taking up space means in this city. Large-scale private developments have contributed to the lack of accessible and affordable space to live, work, and gather in. Flavourcel’s M.A.S.H is a series of animated rooms. Through these imaginary spaces the collective creates a response to their frustration of feeling boxed-in as a result of the disappearance of accessible spaces to commune in. Each room is unique and involves a blend of animation techniques that showcase the potential of the medium.
Anna Firth’s Pine Processionary is a series of short loops involving a continuous procession of pine planks. Animated on transparent celluloid, the work points to a unique process integral to traditional forms of hand-drawn animation, yet it merges full colour animation with the limited low bitrate colour-palette of animated GIFs. Pine Processionary highlights the acceleration of resources and building materials caught in an endless flow of tearing down and building back up.
The individual units within a condominium are promises of a specific lifestyle branded by gentrified development projects. These units, often promoted as modes of effortless living, are much like mass-produced products that are easily carbon-copied. In Yaloo’s New Millennium Workout Routine the artist performs a state-sanctioned workout routine in anticipation of the year 2000 by the South Korean government designed to promote good health. Within the work Yaloo wears a red long underwear suit – the first mass-produced garment from North America manufactured in modern day South Korea. Compositing herself in the thousands, Yaloo’s New Millennium Workout Routine explores the symbolism of industry, health, wealth and longevity through the hypnotic movement of her multiple bodies – lulling you into a state of complicity.
Karolina Glusiec’s I Hear Lines is a hand-drawn animation commissioned for the Mount Pleasant Urban Screen that attempts to capture the feeling of the neighborhood – and the screen’s relationship to it. Creating drawings in the area surrounding the Broadway and Kingsway intersection, her animated sketches bring the neighbourhood to life through her singular lens. Glusiec’s work uses the intimacy of her drawn lines to capture the character of the area as it appears in the present moment.
The artworks in this program highlight a wide variety of animation processes and showcase the illusion of movement through a multitude of creative methods. All six artworks are examples of experimental animation – a diverse field that, much like the neighbourhood of Mount Pleasant, is undergoing rapid expansion and evolution. The intersection of Broadway and Kingsway is surrounded by a vibrant flow of people moving from one point to the next. To experience the full program, one must pause to take in the experience. This stoppage is a form of counter-development and offers a moment to question this rapid change and ask: who this for, and what is lost in the process?