Concrete Poetry

Installation \ 2010
Laser prints, wooden billboard, glue \ 8 x 8 x 4′

Concrete Poetry is a wooden billboard onto which an image, taken at the architecture exhibition “Vancouverism” (2010), is repeatedly pasted to form an abstract pattern. Held at the atrium of the controversial Woodward’s redevelopment complex in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, the exhibition presented a largely uncritical, celebratory narrative of Vancouver’s post-war urban development. The image selected for the billboard captures parts of two display panels of buildings by Arthur Erickson and Henriquez Partners, both of which feature spiral staircases, an element also mirrored by an “iconic” concrete spiral stair in the background. Beyond the formal resemblance, the image also plays on a discursive connection between Erickson—the pioneer of Vancouverism and also referred to as a “concrete poet” for his love of concrete brute—and Gregory Henriquez, the designer of the Woodward’s, who purports architecture as “a poetic expression of social justice.” Taking the form of billboard and hollowing out meaning from the image through its endless repetition, the installation serves as a critical framing device for the discourse of Vancouverism.