Public Sculpture, 10 signs
Installed for the Vancouver Biennale 2009 at Charlson Park and Vanier Park
September 2009 - June 2011
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This project explores the possibility of subverting the power of signs by various formal strategies. By disassociating the power endowed to a certain sign from its familiar form and creating a situation that enables re-association, it subverts the power of the original sign and gives it possibilities of fresh experiences with new meaning.
As part of the 2009 Vancouver Biennale, these sculptures are installed in two sites. Both the Charlson Park and the Vanier Park are public parks with abundant pedestrian and biker traffic. The installation consists of a linear cluster of slightly overlapping STOP signs. In such a setting, a sight of the familiar STOP signs arranged in this way evokes humor and a certain disarming wonder. The curiosity so produced draws people to come closer to exam the sight. And when experienced this way, the original STOP sign slowly loses it power and its authoritarian meaning, subverted by its own multiplicity.
When the viewers wander to the back of the installation, they will be further provoked at the surprising disassociation of the familiar octagonal sign from its usual red color and the word STOP, and that instead, now the octagon bears a lively pink color. The lightness of the new color further subverts the power association of the original STOP sign and provides a new possibility of re-associating the sign with a fresh experience and meaning. Indeed, the new association could be so benign and warm that the cluster of the STOP signs might become a site to stop for gathering and leisure activities, becoming ‘THE STOP’.