The project started when I was out for a run around False Creek last winter and, crossing the Burrard Street bridge, I saw the digital billboard for the first time. I’d been using social media, twitter especially, for a little while then, including in my teaching @ SFU. And I thought – why not set up a twitter feed on the billboard, as some kind of public art project. It seemed so simple. A way to take what is already public (because with twitter especially, as compared to facebook, anyone can read your posts – they don’t have to be your “friends”) and put it in a new, different, spatialized & localized setting or medium. Plus both the sign (being located on Skwxwú7mesh territory) and the bridge (where bike lanes had recently been installed) are nicely controversial – so that was a plus. What I mean by that is that when controversies happen, there’s usually some gap between what we think should happen (native people should be noble savages, bridges are for cars) and what does happen (natives want to make money, there’s more to traffic than cars and trucks). And then, for public art not only to be located on a controversial site but in a way that is both global (through social media) and local (with respect to Vancouver’s history) – that seemed very cool.
Digital Natives on Twitter