Douglas Coupland distills Calgary’s essence with new installation

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      Douglas Coupland has created a new work that explores the identity of Alberta’s largest city by condensing an assortment of its distinctive elements into a uniform, colour-coded index. Titled Interpretation of Calgary, Alberta in the 21st Century, the wall-mounted installation is an array of 30 multi-ringed targets, each representing an aspect of the local culture or the natural environment such as curling, wild roses, or the whooping crane.

      “It’s a distillation of Calgary that is both part of the modern world, yet also eternal,” the Vancouver artist said in a news release. “It is a work that engages the viewer in an ongoing challenge to identify and remember what is depicted—almost like a chocolate box and its map. The forms become signs that will, across time, mellow and ripen within a viewer's memory, also acting as a smart and anticipated 'welcome home' moment.”

      Developer Qualex-Landmark commissioned the artwork, which is roughly five metres by four metres in size. It is to be installed in the lobby of an under-construction high-rise condo development in downtown Calgary. Coupland’s other major installations include Digital Orca at the Vancouver Convention Centre, Terry Fox Memorial at B.C. Place, and Monument to the War of 1812 in Toronto.


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      Martin Dunphy

      Mar 4, 2013 at 1:03pm

      Where are the giant toy soldiers firing at the targets?


      Mar 4, 2013 at 5:31pm

      Sorry - these designs are not art - it's merely illustration, and boring to boot.

      Cup Cakes

      Mar 4, 2013 at 6:27pm

      Art for obscenely over-paid oil 'n gas condo dwellers.


      Mar 4, 2013 at 6:33pm

      Apparently the adoring public will be able to see the art through the glass of the condo. That's interesting. Combined with the installation, it may make a statement about how the future must break with the past while still maintaining a connection - but the connection is transparent, cold, and in the distant of a future past we see something yet eternal. And nothing says eternal like a high-rise condo with coloured circles in its office building-like lobby and herp-a-derp.


      Mar 5, 2013 at 10:55am

      Not really sure where and how one makes the distinction between "art" and "illustration", having a feeling the former encompasses the latter, but if it's boring it's because it's in a condo lobby. You can't put challenging "art" in the midst of residents and not expect complaints. A poodle comes to mind.

      Artists complain when people don't pay for their work, and now, people complaining when artists go where the money is. Classic. Condo or not, there is nothing eternal about any of Calgary with the rate at which those suburbs have gone/are going up. Vancouver is no better.

      It's nice to see a little bit of "culture" going in to a city I feel lacks it at some times, and it's wonderful that it's simple enough to be appreciated by anyone that has a chance to see it---it may be in a 'oil money' condo building, but it's hardly a hoity-toity display. It's a reminder of who we are and where we come from, and a nod to some of the things that make Canada so great.

      Torbet McNamara

      Mar 5, 2013 at 1:00pm

      Douglas Coupland isn't very good.