The people of Vancouver have always been big fans of public art which the city has attempted to satisfy by displaying various sculptures from world-renowned artists.
Some of the displays are temporary and are available for viewing and physical interaction for only a few years while others, such as this one called ‘Engagement’ gain enough popularity with the public that the city purchases the work and creates a permanent addition to the cityscape.
This sculpture was created by the American artist Dennis Oppenheim (1938 – 2011) and was installed in 2005 to coincide with the same-sex marriage debates that were ragging in Canada at the time.
Fifteen years later, especially in a strongly pro LGBTQ city such as Vancouver, the fact that the country had to debate same-sex marriage feels almost quaint. But Canada is a rapidly evolving nation and with enough momentum, dedication and hard work profound cultural changes such as recognizing that ‘Any love is good love’ as the Canadian band Bachman Turner Overdrive sang can happen quickly.
The sculpture itself is 6.4 meters tall, 8.5 meters wide, weighs 1,588 kg and is part of the permanent collection of the ongoing Vancouver Biennale public art exhibition.
The two circular rings are an obvious reference to the rings’ partners exchange but what about the two elements at the top? At first glance, they appear to represent gigantic diamonds but on closer reflection, they seem to symbolize two houses of plexiglass and aluminum. Tilted slightly away from each other they reflect, for me, the precarious balance that marriage has in our modern world. A merging of two houses that together and for a time are joyfully bouncing along the rivers of rapid social, economic and cultural evolution yet at the same time each is trying to remain true to the self.
This photograph was taken on June 1, 2014, using a camera I had modified to be sensitive to infrared rather than visible light. The camera, my trusty and ancient Nikon D80 was modified by the camera techno-wizards at Life Pixel in Mukilteo Washington for deep black and white infrared sensitivity.
In this photographic medium 760 nanometers infrared light which the human eye is insensitive to, bursts onto the scene as white light. But nothing comes for free and the modified camera in being sensitive to the deep red part of the light spectrum is also insensitive to blue light. In this photo, the blue sky and blue water appear nearly black.
While infrared photography is a unique and dynamic visual perspective that’s loved by some (me for example) for others it’s nearly disturbing. What do you think? Feel free to add your thoughts in the comments section below.