Made from a seemingly random selection of materials sourced from nearby construction sites, Shanghai-based artist collective MadeIn Company’s installation at Offsite prompts us to think about perception.
At first glance Calm appears to be debris from a recent disaster, demolition or construction project, but upon closer inspection we see the pile of rubble slowly undulate, as if it were a mirage. In a state of constant flux, this site-specific sculpture evokes the endlessly changing cityscape that has become typical in present day China and elsewhere. Calm’s ambiguity and unexpected ability to move provoke us to question ways of observing, believing and understanding facts, and remind us that the truth often differs from what it seems. In this context, Calm comments on the concerns that arise alongside urban development and the gentrification of residential neighbourhoods, whether in Vancouver or Shanghai.
While the volume of construction in Vancouver might pale in comparison and scale to that of Shanghai, there are currently several retail and residential expansions underway within a five-kilometre radius of Offsite. By mimicking ruins, Calm also questions our faith in an unsustainable economy. Do these unidentified remains suggest a future that cannot sustain human consumption or have they become just a common aesthetic of everyday life? Calm aims to recharge and reactivate this discussion.