Stan Douglas

Stan Douglas

Every Building on 100 West Hastings

Book - 2002
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The 100 block of Vancouver's West Hastings Street is the gateway to one of the most contested and controversial inner-city neighborhoods in North America―Vancouver's infamous and impoverished downtown eastside. Lining the south side of the block are Edwardian-era buildings that have born the brunt of shifting market forces over the years.

Developed in the wake of Vancouver's "emergence" as the terminus for the country's national railroad, the buildings in the area have been in decline since the 1930s, when the locus of the city's commerce began moving.

But the "story" of the 100 block is not strictly one of global market forces, nor does it belong to those who, through whatever political stripe, lay claim to it.

The book is based on a monumental-sized digital print of the 100 block of West Hastings Street by Stan Douglas, one of Canada's most distinguished contemporary artists, who utilized current technologies to create a 16'#65533;3' panorama of epic scope, photographing each building and compositing the individual prints to assume a fantastic, impossible perspective; which is reproduced in the book as a removable full-colour poster, 5#65533;" tall and 30#65533;" wide.

Essays by Denise Olekszijuk, Nicholas Blomley, and Neil Smith use Douglas's photograph as a template for assessing the state of Vancouver's contested downtown eastside; its moral, economic and social implications.

Using the work of one of the art world's most celebrated and accomplished visual artists, the book unravels the dynamics of history and sociology, combined with photography and art, to create a compelling and visually arresting document that informs our understanding of what makes a neighbourhood. Copublished by the Contemporary Art Gallery (Vancouver).

Co-winner of the City of Vancouver Book Prize

Now in its 2nd printing.

Publisher: Vancouver : Contemporary Art Gallery : Arsenal Pulp Press, c2002
ISBN: 9781551521350
1551521350
Branch Call Number: 779 D736e
971.133 D73e
Characteristics: 119 p. : ill. (some col.) ; 21 cm

Opinion

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Documentary photography of West Hastings Street.


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m
myluckytigerbelt
May 27, 2011

A small reproduction of this photograph sits on my dining room wall and I love it so when I saw that the library had a book on it, I had to read it. From an art point of view, this photograph is so interesting because of the perspective. Most photos give us a vantage point from where we view the photo like we would if we were exactly where the camera was when the shot was taken. Because this image is digitally manipulated into being, we don’t have the usual vantage point and are forced to come at it from different perspectives and angles. This, plus the location of the photo make this a piece of art that changes and brings different ideas every time you look at it. Also, the street is cinematically lit so it gives it a depth and beauty that isn’t normally there. The artist manipulates us into looking at something in a new and different way. Of course all artists do this, but with photography it is tricky.

The book is a collection of essays talking about the 100 block of West Hastings which has been called the worst street in Canada. For someone from this city who, as a child, walked down Skid Road with my Grandma and has seen its slow turn-down for the last 35 years, this picture raises lots of interesting things. As someone who worked in the area a few years ago and used the neighbourhood, I saw potential for something really interesting as we move forward. Only time will tell what this street turns into over the next decades, but I’ll be watching like a hawk.

This book talks about some of the hows and whys this block and surrounding neighbourhood are the way they are. It talks about how construction and commerce changed what was once the city’s centre into a left-behind reminder of another time. It discusses the way the press has treated and branded it and its denizens over the years and pays particular attention to the language used to do so. I found this discussion particularly interesting especially parts that speak to how the people who built this part of the country made up a big part of the neighbourhood’s people in the last century. At some point the press started referring to the area as a ghetto which basically turns poor people into an ethnic group or something other than the rest of us, which I think, is part of the problem this city has. In my opinion, there are no others there is only Us.

If you are from or interested in Vancouver, Sociology, and/or Photography, take a long look at this photograph and Stan Douglas other work here and then read Every Building on 100 West Hastings by Stan Douglas. It’s a real eye opener and may change how you look at the “bad” part of town where you live. If you’re from here, it may change how you view our city, our poor and the Downtown East Side.

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