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In small and tightly-knit Vancouver, artists reframe the world through a series of sophisticated illusions. By recreating historical moments, staging photos of vernacular scenes, and crafting intricate sculptures that trick the eye, artists reveal how everyday images and moments from the past are not always what they seem.More information and credits
Executive Producer: Eve Moros Ortega. Host: Claire Danes. Director: Pamela Mason Wagner. Curator & Producer: Wesley Miller. Editor: Mary Ann Toman. Art21 Executive Director: Tina Kukielski. Director of Production: Nick Ravich. Associate Producer: Ian Forster. Structure Consultant: Véronique Bernard. Director of Photography: Greg Bartels. Additional Photography: Johan Legraie, John Marton, Rafael Salazar, Ian Serfontein, & Ava Wiland. Assistant Camera: Brian Cheung, Patrick Morrisey, Hélène Motteau, & Angel Navarro. Sound: Brent Calkin, Jeff Carter, Keith Henderson, James Irons, Theresa Radka, & Matthieu Roche.
Title/Motion Design: Afternoon Inc. Composer: Joel Pickard. Online Editor: Don Wyllie. Re-Recording Mix: Tony Pipitone. Sound Edit: Neil Cedar & Jay Fisher. Artwork Animation: Anita H.M. Yu. Assistant Editor: Maria Habib, Leana Siochi, Christina Stiles, & Bahron Thomas.
Host Introduction | Creative Consultant: Tucker Gates. Director of Photography: Pete Konczal. Second Camera: Jon Cooper. Key Grip: Chris Wiesehahn. Gaffer: Jesse Newton. First Assistant Camera: Sara Boardman & Shane Duckworth. Sound: James Tate. Set Dresser: Jess Coles. Hair: Peter Butler. Makeup: Matin. Production Assistant: Agatha Lewandowski & Melanie McLean. Editor: Ilya Chaiken.
Artworks Courtesy of: Stan Douglas; Brian Jungen; Liz Magor; Jeff Wall; Art Gallery of Ontario; Kathleen and Laing Brown; Canadian Stage; Marian Goodman Gallery; Susan Hobbs; Katsushika Hokusai; Catriona Jeffries; Casey Kaplan; NFB Digital Studio; Rennie Museum; Vancouver Art Gallery; & David Zwirner. Acquired Photography: ARTtube.nl; Glenn Baglo; Walter H. Calder; City of Vancouver Archives; Byron Charles Jennings; Jeroen van der Poel; Robbie Schweiger; Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam; Vancouver Public Library; & Vancouver Sun.
Special Thanks: The Art21 Board of Trustees; Michael Aglion; Catherine Belloy; Brooklyn Academy of Music; Pat Casteel; Wendy Chang; Linda Chinfen; Kevin Doherty; Caroline Dumalin; Marten Elder; Christina Faist; Christopher Fedorak; Brigitte and Henning Freybe; Peter Gazendam; Go Fish Ocean Emporium; Mike Grill; Ari Hiroshige; Paul Jackson; Debbie Johnsen; Sherrie Johnson; Jenette Kahn; Kwinten Lavigne; Khan Lee; Lindsay Lorraine; Anne Low; Kelly Lycan; Sheila Lynch; Ella Dawn McGeough; Sarah McMenimen; Scott Moore; Katrina Niebergal; Walker Olesen; Nigel Prince; Bob Rennie; Diana Salier; Sandy Sawotka; Keith Shapiro; Dirk Snauwaert; Cedrik Toselli; Western Front; Wiels Contemporary Art Centre; Andrea-Jo Wilson; & Steve Wylie.
No animals were harmed in the making of this film.
Public Relations: Cultural Counsel. Station Relations: De Shields Associates, Inc. Legal Counsel: Albert Gottesman.
Additional Art21 Staff: Maggie Albert; Lindsey Davis; Joe Fusaro; Jessica Hamlin; Jonathan Munar; Bruno Nouril; Pauline Noyes; Kerri Schlottman; & Diane Vivona.
Dedicated To: Susan Sollins, Art21 Founder.
Through the Art21 Translation Project, multilingual audiences from around the globe can contribute translations, making Art21 films more accessible worldwide.
Interested in showing this film in an exhibition or public screening? To license this video please visit Licensing & Reproduction.
Attentive to the accidental encounters that can inspire an image, Jeff Wall recreates flashes of inspiration obtained from sources as varied as personal recollections to something noticed on the street, to daydreams, and encounters with paintings or photographs. With an idea in mind, Wall goes to exacting lengths to produce the picture, which may include constructing a scene from scratch, factoring in the position of the sun over several weeks, and improvisational rehearsals with performers. Wall’s pictures include both fantastical scenes and vernacular images of people on the margins of society or in moments of exchange and quiet contemplation.
Brian Jungen draws from his family’s ranching and hunting background, as well as his Dane-zaa heritage, when disassembling and recombining consumer goods into whimsical sculptures. Jungen transforms plastic chairs into whale skeletons, garbage bins into a giant turtle carapace, and collectible Nike Air Jordan shoes into objects resembling both the ceremonial masks of British Columbian coastal tribes and abstract modernist sculptures. At once direct and disarming, Jungen’s sculptures are entirely familiar in their material and assembly and yet still trick the eye through complex and deft illusions. While exquisite for their craftsmanship and graphic use of pattern and color, Jungen’s works also contain subtle critiques of labor practices, global capitalism, and cultural stereotypes.
Stan Douglas reenacts historical moments of tension, connecting local histories to broader social movements of struggle and utopian aspiration. In the artist’s intricate works, time and place fold back onto themselves to create a parallax of both vision and narrative: multiple moments in history and geography are experienced by the viewer simultaneously and reconciled into a new story. Working at the forefront of new media technologies, Douglas’s works have taken the form of mobile apps, virtual reality simulations, live cinema, theatrical productions, and multi-channel video installations where the narrative alters continuously through recombinant editing software.
Liz Magor makes uncannily realistic casts of humble objects—garments, cardboard boxes, ashtrays—that speak to mortality and local histories. Magor’s delicate copies are often combined with found ephemera, whether tiny vices—such as cigarettes, candy, and alcohol—animals in the form of taxidermied birds and stuffed toy dogs, or small mementos given to her by friends. Social narratives of how things in the world are created, enter our lives, and depart to the junk heap as part of a vast human waste stream are folded together with personal anxieties and small worries, such as the desire to afford nice things, to mend what’s broken, and to preserve order against inevitable entropy.
“What I like about Vancouver is the fact that it’s on the edge of the continent.
I call it breathing space.”