Speaker Series

The Speaker Series addressed a distinct need regarding the level and quality of discussion about art in public spaces. While Vancouver has accumulated a ‘collection’ of works in public space, both permanent and temporary, there have been very limited opportunities for the public to learn about the conditions, concerns and potential of artwork in the public realm. The Speaker Series provided an opportunity to diverse and specific audiences from the art community, architects, critics, urban and cultural planners and educators to learn about the relationship between public spaces and the creative approaches artists bring to this complex terrain.

Speakers have included:

Marianne Nicolson
Marianne Nicolson (‘Tayagila’ogwa) is an artist of Scottish and Dzawada̱’enux̱w First Nations descent. The Dzwada̱’enux̱w People are a member tribe of the Kwakwa̱ka̱’wakw Nations of the Pacific Northwest Coast. Her training encompasses both traditional Kwakwa̱ka̱’wakw forms and culture and Western European based art practice. She has exhibited her artwork locally, nationally and internationally as a painter, photographer and installation artist, has written and published numerous essays and articles, and has participated in multiple speaking engagements. Her practice engages with issues of Aboriginal histories and politics arising from a passionate involvement in cultural revitalization and sustainability.

Instant Coffee
Instant Coffee is a service oriented artist collective based founded in Toronto, and now based in both Vancouver and Toronto. Instant Coffee developed, in part, as a response to the division and exaggerated difference between studio and exhibition practice. Through formal installations and event based activities, it builds a public place to practice, where ideas, materials and actions can be explored outside of the isolated studio and in a manner that renegotiates traditional exhibition structures, but is still supported by them.
For Instant Coffee, the triad of art practice production, presentation & reception becomes jumbled incorporating the social as a priority. Instant Coffee defines this social as happening in a number of ways: in getting people invested in our projects and what we are up to, but also as satisfying a way in which we like to socialize?one that centers around production but is dependent on the work of others to sustain and facilitate a critical discourse or at least offer the potential for one.

Marco Simcic
Marko Simcic is a Vancouver based architect and artist. His parallel practices are mutually supported by a constant exchange between these two disciplines which explore a shared set of ideas. Founded in 1996, Simcic’s architecture firm has focused on unique and highly involved work, with projects including residential buildings of various scales, interior design spaces and small scale institutional buildings. His architecture and artwork have been published nationally and internationally and have received several awards including a Lieutenant Governor’s Award and a Canadian Architect Award for Metchosin House on Vancouver Island and an IDI Interior Design Award for a Vancouver cafe. He is also a founding board member of Other Sights for Artists’ Projects, a nonprofit arts organization supporting artists and their projects for the public realm.

The Norma Collective
Based in Vancouver, Norma consists of seven artists of diverse backgrounds who reside in BC, Saskatchewan, Ontario and Japan. From 2001 to 2014 Norma produced installation and performance works that employ absurdity, physical endurance and repetition in an exploration of collective identity and cultural anxiety. Norma performed their final work in January of 2014.

The speaker series was presented by The Langara College Centre for Art in Public Spaces, a program facilitated by Lorna Brown.