Bik Van der Pol
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Learning From Vancouver
Unlike the increasing types of surveillance in urban space, I confess I care allows a choice to speak up and speak about -either individually, or in dialogue with others - the issues at stake in the city: the impact of urban developments, the shrinking of public space, limitations of civil rights and how this is experienced by citizens in their daily lives. Does one accept this all, as a state of exception, trusting that it will all return back to normal once the air is cleared of the Games?

Paralleling I confess I care, the installation devised by Urban Subjects grabs two historical moments in the dialectic of the production and closure of public space in Vancouver and one speculative future moment. The historical moments hover as grainy archival photographs.

Premier Bill Bennett and labour leader Jack Munro stand on the patio of Bennetts house in Kelowna just after they have shaken hands to seal a deal that would end the most massive protest in the provinces history. This late-night meeting on November 13, 1983 lingers as the betrayal of “Operation Solidarity”, a coalition of unions, community groups, students and activists, as it moved toward a general strike that was to counter
Learning From Vancouver
the initial move in the game of neoliberalism in B.C. Hours of archival research did not churn up the specific image of Bennett and Munro shaking hands, yet that image is dramatically burned into social memory.

The second archival image is of Herbert Marcuse as he speaks to 1,300 students at Simon Fraser University on Tuesday, March 25, 1969. Marcuse was on campus in the wake of the November 1968 student takeover of the administration building that the RCMP ended; he was invited by radical professors and the Department of Politics, Sociology, and Anthropology that was purged following its push to democratize the university. At the time, Marcuse, a leading public intellectual, theorized everyday life within a totally administered society.