Digital Natives


April 4 — 30, 2011
Electronic Billboard
Burrard Street Bridge
Vancouver, BC

The public artwork Digital Natives was sited on the electronic billboard at the Burrard Street Bridge. Curators Lorna Brown and Clint Burnham invited artists and writers from across North America to contribute messages to be broadcast over the month of April, coinciding with the 125th Anniversary of the City of Vancouver.

Digital Natives intervened in the physical, social and historical context of the site, the billboard and the city with a series of ten second text messages interrupting the rotation of advertisements. Taking the form of Twitter messages, invited contributors responded to the site’s charged history, the ten-second format and the 140-character limit of tweets. The sign itself became an artistic and literary space for exchange between native and non-native communities exploring how language is used in advertising, its tactical role in colonization, and as a complex vehicle of communication.

Encouraging dialogue among artists and writers, between First Nations and non-First Nations communities, and between artists, writers and the public, Digital Natives is public art that the public not only ‘receives’, but also produced. Local and remote audiences were welcome to tweet their messages to @diginativ, and a selection were broadcast, represented in red text on a blue background.