Best Media Art Installations Coming to Vancouver 2010 CODE Live Festival


The Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games are right around the corner and the town is buzzing. Every set of Olympic Games has a separate cultural line-up that showcases the country’s communities in the arts, theatre and music. This line-up is curated by the Cultural Olympiad by every host city and runs parallel to the official sporting events through out the host city. Vancouver is putting its name on the historical map by adding an additional component to its Cultural Olympiad 2010 called the Cultural Olympiad Digital Edition, or CODE for short.


CODE is running four separate scheduled tracks of digital components that included Canada CODE, an interactive website that encourages photo submissions, CODE Motion Pictures, commissioned film works by Canadian artists, CODE Screen 2010, media pieces that you can access from your own computer and finally CODE Live, an 18 day media-arts-music live festival. All of these tracks are packed with opportunities for participation and digital interaction but CODE Live has the potential for making the most impact with visitors and locals of Vancouver.

With about 50 different artist scheduled for the CODE live festival, it might be hard to narrow down the best installations to check out. The two weeks of the Vancouver Winter Olympics are going to be a whirlwind, so I wanted to highlight some of the most interesting installations to check out during the festival.

The CODE live festival is split into two themes: media installations that are available to the public during the day for free and a series of evening concerts with international musicians. There will be three different locations for the CODE live festival: CODE live 1 is located at the Great Northern Way Campus, CODE live 2 is located at the Emily Carr Institute and CODE live 3 is located at the Vancouver Public Library.

Here is my highlight from the first part of the CODE live lineup: the media installations!

CODE live 1 – Great Northern Way Campus

Artificial Moon - Wang Yuyang (photo courtesy of ArtHub Asia)

Artificial Moon - Wang Yuyang (photo courtesy of ArtHub Asia)

Installation: Artificial Moon
Artist: Wang Yuyang

This large-scale installation is created by Chinese artist Wang Yuyang and creates the atmosphere of artificial light in the shape of our naturally occurring moon. Compromised of many different elements that create a beautiful texture, this Artificial Moon is a commentary on relative space and perception.

Paparazzi Bots - Ken Rinaldo (photo courtesy of Paparazzi Bots)

Paparazzi Bots - Ken Rinaldo (photo courtesy of Paparazzi Bots)

Installation: Paparazzi Bots
Artist: Ken Rinaldo

These three robots clearly represent the creation of ordinary human subjects to celebrity status. Consisting of cameras and sensors, all located on a moving platform, these robots travel in spaces taking pictures of the people around them. Isolating single subjects, they create the dynamic relationship of celebrity and ordinary.

Reactable - Reactable Systems (photo courtesy of Reactable Systems)

Reactable - Reactable Systems (photo courtesy of Reactable Systems)

Installation: Reactable
Artist: Reactable Systems

This flat screen table is an electronic musical instrument that allows the user to manipulate the sounds of the device by placing and moving objects on the screen. The size and color of the object denote what it can do in relationship to other objects. Reactable systems has created an interactive experience that could change the way you think of sound and music production.

Installation: Vested
Artist: Don Ritter

This large scale installation recreates the theory behind witnessing large scale suffering. A large projection screen is triggered by a vest that the viewer wears and when the vest is activated correctly, the screen responds with destruction of the images being viewed. This piece speaks highly to our reaction to others’ suffering.

Akousmaflore - Gregory Lasserre and Anais met den Ancxt (photo courtesy of Scenocosme)

Akousmaflore - Gregory Lasserre and Anais met den Ancxt (photo courtesy of Scenocosme)

Installation: Akousmaflore
Artist: Gregory Lasserre and Anais met den Ancxt

Two French artists Gregory Laserre and Anais met den Ancxt wanted to create the sensitive relationship that can arise between plant and human. Each of the plants in the installation emits a sound when softly caressed creating a garden symphony when interaction occurs.

CODE live 2 – Emily Carr Institute

Installation(s): Electrode and Peau d’Ane
Artist: Valerie Lamontagne

Montreal based media artist Valerie Lamontagne uses her curated media pieces as performance based objects that can interact with her audience. Both of her installations combine wearable media pieces, reflective of high couture fashion, and intuitive technology that has direct, active response to the person wearing it.

Electric Skin - Suzi Webster (photo courtesy of Suzi Webster)

Electric Skin - Suzi Webster (photo courtesy of Suzi Webster)

Installation: Electric Skin and Barking Mad
Artist: Suzi Webster

Canadian multimedia artist Suzi Webster illuminates the third space in the relationship between the object and the subject in her wearable art piece of Electric Skin. Creating visual displays in reflection of the wearer’s biological responses, creates an experience that is soothing and potentially threatening at the same time.

Installation: Company Keeper and Emotional Ties
Artists: Di Mainstone and Sara Diamond

This two piece installation is the collective creation of the media artists Di Mainstone and Sara Diamond, during their shared residency at the Banff New Media Institute. These wearable art pieces are activated by sensors to respond to the wearer’s mood. The response is activated in order to realign negative emotions.

Installation: Skorpions and Captain Electric
Artist: Joanna Berzowska

Master of Science MIT scholar Joanna Berzowska created independently moving garments, titled Skorpions. These garments challenge the wearer in their own actions by creating averse situations in movement and ability. Captain Electric is a set of three kinetic dresses whose design was influenced by the body’s safety responses to unsafe environments. Joanna is co-founder of XS Labs which helped incubate the installations of Sara Diamond and Di Mainstone as well.

Installation: Walking City
Artist: Ying Gao

Artist Ying Gao creates moving pieces of clothing that are tailored with sensors for activation. Unlike other wearable technology, these dresses have individual movements that can be triggered by wind, environment or human touch.

CODE live 3 – Vancouver Public Library

Installation: Sacred Touch
Artist: Ranjit Makkuni

Director of the Enternal Gandhi Multimedia Museum in India Ranjit Makkuni is well versed in multimedia presentations as a connecting element between traditions. This installation is bridge between technology, spirituality and culture, and not specific to any one geographical location.

Installation: When the Gods came down
Artist: Srinivas Krishna

This large scale presentation makes a perfect intersection between the mythology of classic Indian spirituality and new media. Combing the techniques of animation and action-packed filming, Srinivas Krishna recreates the best moments in Indian mythology and brings the gods and goddesses to life.

There will be so many events to check out during the Vancouver 2010 WInter Olympic Games it will be hard to see everything! This is definitely the must-see list that I will be checking out with from the media installations during CODE live.

Rebecca Bollwitt wrote a great Vancouver 2010 Cultural Olympiad post with info on what’s going on around town. Check back for my must-see list of the CODE live evening concert series and the Cultural Olympiad 2010!