Your friend and mine, Roadsworth appears to be cashing in on his fame. If you haven’t heard, The fine folk who own the Eaton Centre hired him and his friend Brian Armstrong to make a quote, installation, unquote. Initially I thought “great!” but then upon hearing more about it, I started to think that it might just be an attempt to Greenwash Ivanhoe Cambridge (aka the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec).
It’s gotten a fair bit of mainstream press (more and still more) some random bloggers, and a bunch of websites made by (and for) the creators, but no real critical analysis. Which further solidified my thoughts about the Greenwashing. But I figured I would reserve any and all judgment until after I visited the mecca of consumerism.
Well I made it there today. And in my humble estimation, it is Greenwashing.
I hear you ask; “Hey dude, why do you think it is Greenwashing?” Well let me tell you…
First off, if it wasn’t greenwashing, why does the didactic display look like some sort of advertisement?
Second off, if it wasn’t greenwashing, why is it impossible to avoid the ads when looking at the “art?”
And third off, if it isn’t greenwashing, why is it that there are 12 year-olds in Montreal who could have done a better job? I don’t know how many of you saw Arrimage 2010 – Distortion, but I did, and this is what I said about it last year. And for that matter Arrimage happens every year at the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal (2009 version, 2011 version) It is an exhibit of art made by elementary and high school students that is then exhibited at Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal. Since schools don’t have an awful lot of cash for art supplies, very frequently they use trash and other recycled material. And I can say without a doubt, that there is stuff I’ve seen in the Arrimages that beats Fragile hand-down.
Now my not-even-two-year-old nephew could have made those. (Actually I take that back, his mother would have killed me and then strung me up by my balls for the dogs to eat if I let him use a pair of scissors to cut up the cups.) But you get my drift, right?
Now, despite my complaining, it isn’t all crap. I gotta hand it to whomever was the person who came up with the idea of turning one of the holes in the Eaton Centre into a 3-D pond. The quote, fish, unquote, below the quote, water, unquote, is a stroke of genius. Pity that that level of thought couldn’t be upheld for the entire project.
BGL on the other hand, is a group of artists who can keep up a certain level of quality in their art, while at the same time making extremely pointed commentary on consumerist culture.
And as long as I am handing out compliments, Fragile by Roadsworth and Brian Armstrong at the Eaton Centre does get noticed by the shoppers.
And I presume that getting people to stop is one of its primary purposes.
Another reason that I think it is Greenwashing, is this:
Quick, guess how much that thing cost? And then how much to create the program (ok, you can call it an app, if you like) to explain ecosystems? And while I’m at it, although you really can’t tell it from here, the screen is not at an appropriate height for children, who I would presume are the intended audience.
Oh, and if you’re interested, my guess would be about $10,000 for the touch screen and another $10,000 for the program. I wonder if Roadsworth and Brian Armstrong saw any of it? Personally I would think that most of the cash was scooped up by Genevieve Kelly who appears to be the brains behind Projek room. Because not only is there the massive touch screen, but then there are also the videos! (Click on this link for the Projek room’s videos) All five of them.
Given that the Eaton Centre has displayed the corpses of Chinese political prisoners, I’m inclined to believe that their ethics, when it comes to presenting exhibitions are not of the highest caliber. And while one might think that they present exhibitions in order to entice people in the doors, figuring that once you’re in the Eaton Centre, you are much more likely to make a purchase than if you were not. But I personally believe that they are actually looking to manipulate their public image. Or in blunter terminology, they want to look good, they don’t really want people to think that all they are interested in is more money.
When more than 75,000 people each day walk through it (more than 3,000/hour if it was open 24 hours every day) it’s kind of difficult to get a handle on whether there are more people showing up at the Eaton Centre because of an exhibit, or if they present an exhibit in order to appease and appeal to the people who already frequent the Eaton Centre. My guess is the later. But as I am fond of saying, I have been wrong before, and I will be wrong in the future.
As well, I’ve rambled on here for more than 1,200 words. Far more than I intended. I think I’ve made my point that the actual exhibit is more craft-like than art; that it doesn’t represent the highest caliber of craft; and that I think it is all an attempt on the part of Ivanhoe Cambridge (aka the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec) to make most people think that they actually care about the environment, when in fact all they really care about is accumulating as much money as possible.
I’ve got some more pictures, but I really should wrap it up here. By all means go see it yourself and make up your own mind. They don’t throw it out until the end of October.