Why are you laughing? $1.5M secures Vancouver’s beloved smiling statues, but what do they really mean?
They are crowd pleasers, to be sure. Fourteen figures, larger-than-life self-portraits by a renowned Chinese artist who conceived and crafted them from bronze. Grinning from ear to ear, every one. That’s Yue Minjun’s trademark, after all. He applies it to all of his work.
Known collectively as “A-maze-ing Laughter,” the 14 pieces were installed beside Vancouver’s scenic English Bay three years ago, as part of a public sculpture initiative. They became an instant hit. Children love them. Grown-ups, too.
But they were always intended as a temporary installation. All 14 pieces — each weighing 250 kilograms — were to be returned to artist Yue last year. The deadline for their removal was extended to the end of this month. They would have to go, unless someone could meet Mr. Yue’s $5-million asking price, buy the work, and keep it in town. (Photos: Vancouver Sun; The Province; PNG)
Douglas Coupland-created ‘V-Pole’ may take high tech to the streets in Vancouver
To clear its streets of cellphone towers, parking meters, Wi-Fi terminals, streetlights and even community message boards, the city of Vancouver is pushing forward with a scheme to compress all the technologies together into specialized “Vancouver poles” planted throughout the city.
“Meet your inevitable future,” wrote novelist Douglas Coupland, the technology’s creator, in an introductory Tweet.
The device, no larger than a telephone pole, would manage cell signals for multiple carriers, as well as wireless Internet for the surrounding neighbourhood. In-ground pads plugged into the pole would provide inductive charging for parked electric cars. An integrated touch screen would display maps, ads or payment interfaces, and an LED street light would be perched at the top of the pole. (Photo: Martin Tessler/Mathew Bulford; Illustration: Andrew Barr)