The City Without Light

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GWjRkHsGzNM[/youtube] Two weeks ago, as Hong Kong was swept under the tide of bacchanalia known as Art Week — basically a non-stop stream of parties and other well-lubricated events revolving around Art Basel Hong Kong — something remarkable happened to the city’s tallest building. Normally, the 484-metre-tall International Commerce Centre is illuminated by an unceasingly […]

A City on Edge

Protest at the opening of UABB. Photo by Espen Cook Last week in Kwun Tong, Kacey Wong stood inside a burnt wood cocoon, explaining the concept behind his painstakingly hand-made installation. “I wanted to create a place where people could meet quietly and have a greater understanding of what’s going on,” he said. To access […]

Primordial Hong Kong

Like a fever dream or a David Lynch film, Wun Dun begins with a journey into the unknown. Push through an unmarked door into what appears to be a bathroom, where an elderly attendant spritzes you with cologne. Squeeze past him, stumble down a flight of stairs and emerge into an uncanny, neon-lit bar that […]

Les boules roses

When the stretch of Ste. Catherine Street in Montreal’s Gay Village was pedestrianized for two and a half months in the summer of 2008, it was accompanied by a strange policy that forced the street’s bars and restaurants to serve only Labatt beer products on their outdoor terraces. Merchants were unhappy and for good reason: […]

Posted in: Art and Design, Canada, Public Space by Christopher DeWolf Comments Off on Les boules roses , , , , ,

Remembering Columbus

Tatzu Nishi has made a career of bringing monuments down to size. Over the past 15 years, the 52-year-old Japanese artist has enclosed statues around the world in makeshift rooms. Last year, he built a hotel room around Singapore’s Merlion, whose enormous head loomed incongruously over a luxuriously-appointed king-sized bed. This year, Christopher Columbus receives […]

The Bamboo Theatre

Standing inside the cavernous belly of the 800-seat West Kowloon Bamboo Theatre, bamboo master Ying Che and her head worker, Sunny Yim, gaze up at their creation. “It’s very satisfying,” says Yim, a sturdy man with a boyish face who has been building bamboo theatres for nearly 40 years. “When you come to a performance, […]

Roadsworth’s Legacy

Eight years ago, I was crossing Fairmount Avenue near my apartment in Montreal’s Mile End district when I noticed a strange addition to the zebra crossing beneath my feet: barbed wire. Not actual barbed wire, but a painted rendition of it along the edge of the crosswalk, half in yellow, the other half white, both […]

A Creature on the Roof

You can see a lot of unauthorized structures on the rooftops of Wan Chai — sheet metal canopies, rusted chain-link fences, hand-built wooden shacks — but none of them quite looks like KAPKAR, a new sculpture by Dutch artist Frank Havermans, which was installed last week on the roof of the Wan Chai Visual Archive. […]

Posted in: Architecture, Art and Design, Asia Pacific by Christopher DeWolf Comments Off on A Creature on the Roof , , , , ,

Walk This Way

Maya Barkai’s crowdsourced art installation has brought pedestrian crossing symbols from around the world to New York’s streets Only a block north from the construction barriers surrounding the former site of the World Trade Center, which brim with boastful renderings of progress on the nearly-complete September 11th Memorial, another, less conspicuous hole opens up in […]

Who’s Afraid of Ai Wei Wei?

At three o’clock on Wednesday morning, the air beneath the Central Mid-Levels Escalator became thick with the fumes of spray paint as a young university student left a message on the escalator’s pillars: “Who’s afraid of Ai Wei Wei?” Over the past week, the student, nicknamed Chin, has blitzed some of Hong Kong’s most high-profile […]

The Death of a Village

It was bound to happen. 26 months after Tsoi Yuen Village received its death sentence, 100 police officers burst into the remaining villagers’ houses and told them to leave. The villagers were incredulous. “I was negotiating with the government peacefully only a few days ago,” one man, Cheung Sun-yau, told the South China Morning Post. […]

Defrosting Public Space

Sphères polaires at the Place des Festival By the time February rolls around, Montreal has already been buried in snow for a couple of months and your mental map of the city has changed considerably. Places you’d normally linger — the steps at Place des Arts, the plaza in front of Mont-Royal metro, the giant […]

Tunnel Vision: Subway Zoetrope

[vimeo]http://vimeo.com/8207998[/vimeo] Bill Brand’s “Masstransiscipe” installation in New York’s subway I first noticed subway tunnel wall animations in Boston, where the long gaps between stations on the MBTA Red Line provides a captive audience. The animation, composed of dozens of stills that simulated movement as the train zoomed by, was an ad. The message: visit Vermont […]

Posted in: Art and Design, Transportation, United States, Video by Christopher Szabla Comments Off on Tunnel Vision: Subway Zoetrope , , , , , , ,

The Reluctant Urban Artist: Anish Kapoor

In the omphalos of Anish Kapoor’s Cloud Gate, Chicago The contemporary art world can be a fickle place. Less than a decade ago, Damien Hirst somehow managed to earn an overnight fortune by preserving a dead shark in a fish tank. That was before a host of personal troubles — and the ongoing recession’s damper […]

Posted in: Art and Design, Europe, Public Space, United States by Christopher Szabla Comments Off on The Reluctant Urban Artist: Anish Kapoor , , , , , ,