Art School: Semester 3, Week 1

It’s Friday. Do you know where your blogger is?

Well, if I’m your blogger, I’m right here, giving you a summary of the week. Class info comes first, and then I have some photos to share.

English

English 1127 is a class that teaches writing in response to short stories. The intent is to get us to write literary analysis at some level. We read a story — the first was titled The Story of an Hour, but Kate Chopin, originally published in 1894 — and we were asked to create an introductory paragraph, including a thesis statement, for one of three possible perspectives on it.

There is, of course, other reading as well — the textbook was written by a professor teaching at the school — and there are power point presentations with the highlights.

I’m sure I’ve mentioned this is an online class, so we’re all sort of working in the dark at some level. No lectures to attend, and you really need to motivate yourself.

I have my doubts about literary analysis as a useful device in the real world, but it probably helps teach the construction of logical arguments, which is definitely a good thing. Honestly, though, the resulting texts — at least as portrayed in the textbook we are reading — look very formulaic. It’s hard to imagine anyone writing a blockbuster novel using these ideas. And I can imagine this kind of writing killing off the ability to write well and creatively.

Still, it’s a requirement of the diploma, so I am taking the class and doing the work. I don’t have a lot to report on it yet. I will meet the instructor next week, just to put a face to the name. We’ll see what happens after that.

Design

Design class has met twice. It is going to be interesting and different.

The first class meeting we had presentations from a couple of people who are associated with different organizations that work with the City of Vancouver on various projects. They gave us an overview of the general idea, and told us that there may be real money coming if we create a solution that seems practical and it should get built. Not a lot of money, but some.

And the problem we’re looking into? As I think I’ve mentioned before, we’re working on the “heat island effect.” That is, the fact that cities are hotter than natural environments, and that can be dangerous to those living in them. Particularly to more vulnerable populations, who tend to clump in older, less pricey areas of cities, and who have limited means to avoid the heat themselves.

In the case of Vancouver, that means the east side of the city, south of the harbour, where it first started growing, was least planned, the buildings are cheek by jowl, and there is almost no greenery. Most of the residential buildings are old enough to have no A/C, and places like SROs (Single Room Occupancy hotels, where some of the poorest people live) are tiny, so the residents have no real living space and must go outside — into the heat — to socialize.

The second class meeting was a walking tour of parts of the east side, lead by another person, working for yet another organization. (Sorry… I honestly don’t have my notes with these organization names with me.) He had lots of local knowledge. We looked at the environment, saw the few (tiny) bits of green space left, and started to get an understanding of what we’re dealing with.

No solutions yet. That will be collaborative and happen mostly in the classroom over the coming weeks.

Photos

As I mentioned, I have some photos to share with you. I took quite a few while out on the walk with the class, but most of those I am not going to share. Those that are particularly relevant to our project aren’t all that interesting to my readers here, at least not yet. But the walk did lead us to a few interesting things.

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A Film Shoot

Vancouver is a major film industry hub, and a lot of things get shot here. I have no idea what film this was. (I asked, and got several answers, the most likely of which is something from National Geographic, but an online film shoot database didn’t corroborate that, so I honestly don’t know.) What you can’t see in that photo is the line of equipment trucks going down the street to the left. There were quite a few, perhaps two block’s worth.

And we saw another filming site as well, though when we passed it it seemed smaller. That could just mean that we didn’t see the main staging area, though.

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Foo Dog, with stick

This statue is one of a pair of foo dogs on a bridge we stopped at. The location is next to a tiny park which is adjacent to a major set of rail tracks used by the port. The bridge crosses the tracks and lets local residents get to a substantially larger park on the other side. This was all on the western fringes of the area we are learning about, and it’s a bit more wealthy (and possibly gentrified) than areas farther east. Still, it does show there has been some progress, and those who are inclined (and able) can get to a larger park for some fresh air and heat relief if desired.

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I like the sign

Honestly, though, it should be about all artists, not just musicians. I still don’t use streaming services for music because what the artists are paid for those is ridiculously tiny.

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A really nice gelato shop.

This place has a LOT of flavours available. (There’s a third freezer display of equal size that I couldn’t fit into the picture.) I didn’t count, but I’d guess it at around 100. We got here towards the end of the walk, and we were in a very different neighbourhood at the time. It’s called La Casa Gelato, and if you can’t find a flavour you like, you have a serious problem. I’m told it gets really crowded on the weekends.

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There’s history behind this building

This — The Sun Tower — was, for some years, the tallest building in the British Commonwealth. It was built in 1912, and kept that title until 1930 when the Marine Building opened up in town. Also interesting is the fact that the green colour on the top is not patinated copper. It’s wood, painted green to look like that.

Now I’ve shared a bit more about Vancouver. It’s an interesting city. I’ll never be a great tour guide, but we do enjoy living in the area.

Links

  • My mom sent me this link about a pigment and binder museum. I had no idea such a place exists, but the article gives a lot of the history, and some of the reasons such a place is actually useful, in addition to being simply interesting.
  • The usual index of art school posts and other things here on Medium, because Medium’s display isn’t chronological, as far as I can tell.

Dog Pictures

Sorry, Nicki. No new ones this week. ;)

That’s all for now!

Written by

Sculptor/Artist. Former programmer. Former volunteer firefighter. Former fencer. Weirdest resume on the planet, I suspect.

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