Edmonton Public Culture History 38

Urban Sturgeon,Winter 2015

As seen elsewhere, this piece is guided by reading of pre-Columbian Mesoamerican notions regarding the movement of light and physical balance as well as complimentary insights regarding diamonds as “stars” (as further exemplified by its “scales”). When gently nudged clockwise according to the Coriolis effect the carving will neatly spin while pushed in the opposite direction it will rattle (como un terremoto) or fall over. The piece will also balance vertically, and, in that position, will undoubtedly remind us of the daunting task of navigating a modern urban environment. The Urban Sturgeon was donated to the Amiskwaciy Academy to facilitate learning in a Science class.

The Poet by JZ

This photo was taken on April 4th, 2015 at 2:35 pm. The temperature was -20 Celsius. It was a gloomy, overcast day. Our theme touches on the idea of navigation through the modern environment and the effects that such “variables”, such as street signs and architecture, have on an individual’s cognitive awareness of mobility. I chose the Art Gallery of Alberta as a background because it demonstrates a place of emancipation from common navigation of city sidewalks and busy streets. The AGA is a place of influence where you are free from the rules of navigation. There is no imposed order in which people view the art, which gives a person a sense of freedom as they move about the venue. Each person experiences the art displayed differently through his or her own personal lens and the results cannot be copied or recreated. Although The Gallery is blurry in the background, the building itself is a work of art that allows pedestrians to view an art form without stepping foot inside.

The juxtaposition between the traffic lights and the building itself presents a dichotomy in architectural creativity. The stone’s patterns blend in nicely with the building, as if to suggest that the piece was inspired by The Gallery, even though this was not the case. De Certeau’ explains how moving about The City is more effective than simply viewing it. The Person, in a sense, is a paintbrush and The City is their canvas. The Gallery affects the way in which people move about in their day-to-day lives because it is structured much differently than generic downtown buildings. This, in turn, can affect an individual’s commute as they go about their lives, such as when they choose to take “the long way” to work because The Gallery is en route. As De Certeau states, "Linking acts and footsteps, opening meanings and directions, these words operate in the name of an emptying-out and wearing away of their primary role. They become liberated spaces that can be occupied”. The Gallery was developed with a primary purpose of showcasing art to the public. But the way in which the venue is occupied or viewed may be for other reasons.

Edmonton Public Culture History AGA

Emancipation Station by ADC

This photo was taken on April 4th, 2015 at 1:10 pm. The temperature was a brisk -20 Celsius, with a dark cloud cover and a biting chill. The location for the picture is called, affectionately, The Horizon by many locals. The portrait of the sculpture Urban Sturgeon is, indeed, able to capture the view of the horizon that many enjoy when they visit this place. When considering the theme of a modern urban environment that is prevalent in the identity of the sculpture I could not help but remember the class in which De Certeau was discussed. The idea of The Walker and The Voyeur came to mind. The image of the horizon effectively captures the perspective of The Voyeur. The carving’s vista showcases the various aspects of The City, ranging from the river valley’s beautiful wilderness to the canopy in Hawrelak Park, and also hints at various events as well as the bustling Downtown. From this vantage we are able, as De Certeau might emphasize, to read The City. This reading of The City from The Voyeur’s perspective and locale is also unique in that it is distant from the bustle of the Downtown urban environment. Instead, it is in a quite neighbourhood, and the gaze of The Voyeur bridges the river valley before reaching the Downtown space full of skyscrapers. To be sure, this unique view of The City surrounded by Nature juxtaposes of the river valley and the modern Downtown environment.

To view this image and location solely from The Voyeur’s perspective, however, would neglect the “poetic geography” of the space which, obviously, is very different from the De Certeau’s recollection of the view atop the World Trade Center. People, generally, do not consider the actual street or Valley-view neighborhood found the environs of this specific locale, but instead, emphasize The Horizon. Thus, a “poetic geography” defines this space and the street is eroded from memory as The Walker navigates The City. In closing, this image is crucial in the somewhat general theme of modern navigation. Thus, in this space, the Individual is a Poet, quite able to both to read and then write about the space comprising their surroundings.

Edmonton Public History Culture Vistas

The New Town by CS

This photo was taken on April 4th, 2015 at 2:00PM. The temperature was -20 Celsius with the skies overcast and gloomy. The sculpture is perched vertically on the lip a garbage receptacle, balancing in the light wind. The area where the photo was taken, 99th street between Churchill Square and City Hall, is about to transform. The constant droning of construction brings more than annoyance to the average navigator of these streets, however. Energy, optimism, and excitement will peak upon the completion of the new arena and museum. Our sculpture sits amidst an area of economic and cultural growth. It represents The New Town, very similar to Henri Lefebvre’s famous work. Lefebvre understands the changing environment of The New City, but questions its direction. He wonders whether the terror of The New Town will lead to socialism or super-capitalism. Our sculpture proves that even amongst immense economic endeavours in The New Town, cultural remnants of The Old Town and the contemporary pedestrian can still flourish together. Once the major projects in the area are competed, The Walker will have the power to choose their own, previously unexplored, path. They will walk past new buildings, with new signs, and through areas with new social meanings. Despite the apparent unimpeded march of capitalism in the area, we are still The Walker, and traditional culture can still thrive. The arena and its counterparts will bring countless New Walkers, searching, painting their own path through the area. It will bring restaurants, clothing stores, and the demand for more additions to the Downtown Arts District. Even though the sculpture found here tends to symbolize The New Town, it is not necessarily in the same sense that Lefebvre interprets the concept. Here, the carving symbolizes a modern version of The New Town, where the Old and New coexist, and combine to form a sort of [Hegelian?] synthesis of a New New Town.

Edmonton Arts District

Edmonton Historical Geography Urban Space