Spaces of Contestation / Collective Walks

spaces of contestation talk series image

UNIT/PITT Projects, Vancouver

October 2013-May 2014

Realized as part of a Curatorial Residency

Spaces of Contestation is a series of talks, performances, public actions, publications, and an exhibition that examines the collective walk/protest/public demonstration as both a performance and a social formation. The core of the project is in four collaborations between artists and community organizations, that initiate community engagement and democratic use of public space via the realization of site-specific participatory performances.

The project is co-presented with the SFU Vancity Office of Community Engagement and the SFU Institute for the Humanities, and is supported through the BC Arts Council’s Arts-Based Community Development Program and by the Hamber Foundation.

Project page on UNIT/PITT’s website


Speaker series at SFU Woodwards
Geoff Mann, Talk 1Scarcity Makes the City Oct. 22, 2013
Jamie Peck, Talk 2Neoliberal urbanism — artful alternatives? November 12, 2013
Urban Subjects, Talk 3What is Already Going On Feb. 5, 2014
Stephen Collis, Talk 4: Riot Dogs and Research Labs – Poetry and Struggle March 12, 2014                                                                            Kirsty Robertson, Talk 5Capitalist Cocktails and Moscow Mules: Activism in the Museum and Gallery, April 16, 2014

Exhibition at UNIT/PITT
March 21 to May 3, 2014

Public actions and performances
March 22 to April 20, 2014

Gabriel Mindel-Saloman will collaborate with the Burnaby Residents Opposing Kinder Morgan Expansion (BROKE), a grassroots residents’ association in Burnaby. The artist will work with members of BROKE towards the realization of a “Mapping Procession” aimed at increasing public awareness of the underground pipeline system existing in Burnaby through a combination of artistic interventions and activist advocacy tactics. Saloman and BROKE will begin with a series of workshops designed to create a “People’s Map” of Burnaby and its resource infrastructure. This map will serve as a guide for making visible in public space much of what is hidden from public discourse around the effects of the pipeline system and its proposed expansion. Saloman and BROKE will be inviting to participate in the public performance a wide range of community groups, including Burnaby residents, local politicians, the Tsleil-Waututh First Nation, students and teachers and many others seeking to resist the Kinder-Morgan Trans Mountain Pipeline and Jet Fuel Pipeline system’s existence and planned expansion in Burnaby.

Project Info

Didier Morelli will collaborate with the Outreach Alternative Program at Britannia Secondary School (Vancouver), an alternative education program for youth of aboriginal descent. The artist will work with the program’s students, teachers and social workers towards the realization of a collective walk-performance that reflect the students’ particular relationship to the Commercial Drive neighbourhood. The goal of the project will be to activate and make visible the students’ presence and lived experience in this part of the city (Britannia Secondary School is located in the heart of the Commercial Drive neighbourhood, a culturally diverse part of East Van). The process of realizing this collaborative project will complement the Outreach Program’s pedagogical activities, which integrate aboriginal learning and traditions in the classroom and provide high-risk students with resources to complete secondary education.

Lauren Marsden: In Pursuit of Perpetual Motion is a performance-based project, to be presented in partnership between UNIT/PITT Projects and the Vancouver Public Library. On the afternoon of March 22, 2014, a group of 10 dancers will present a series of simple, repetitive and improvised movements in a circular procession around the outdoor perimeter of the Vancouver Public Library’s Central Branch building at 350 West Georgia St. The dancers’ movements will be informed by a selection of books that have been chosen by library staff for deaccessioning or “weeding” (the removal and discarding of damaged or out-of-date material from the library’s collection). Each dancer will carry a book on his/her body for the duration of the performance, and after two hours of rotations around the elliptical library building, will eventually move the procession to UNIT/PITT Projects’ gallery space in Chinatown, thereby ending the performance and leaving behind the stack of books to be included in the exhibition component of the project. Inspired by the mythos of the infinite library, this event will evoke the fluctuating capacity of information storage in the library’s collection by moving the discarded materials through a ritual and haptic process of re-circulation.

Project Info

Zoë Kreye and Catherine Grau will collaborate with Dance Troupe Practiceand a number of selected participants to develop a series of movement explorations and scored rituals exploring how to un-write or re-write narratives in public space. The Unlearning Procession will be a migrating public performance that presents a series of modes of being and knowing, developed with members of Dance Troupe Practice through the weekly meetings and workshops leading up to the performance. Dance Troupe Practice meets on a weekly basis and is run as a non-hierarchical amateur dance group interested in collaboration and movement. The group is open for anyone to join as a member.

Project Info