During visits to sites of industrial activity, Stuart McCall has been drawn to a recurring curious language of colourful temporary markings inscribed on cement buttresses, building walls, road surfaces, posts, boulders, trees, and the ground. Reminiscent of cuneiform or prehistoric scripts painted onto cave walls, these inscriptions pass a message to some future observer, which presumes an understanding continuum.
In a complex, hazardous, and deadline-driven environment like the modern-day construction site, a simple method of mark making is often the only, and certainly the most expedient, way to pass on information. These markings, in spray paint, chalk, and paint, employ various conventions: geometric representations, coloured symbols, numerals, and abbreviated words. One of their most compelling features is their temporary nature, marking, as they do, the transition between permanence and impermanence. Lasting for months, weeks, or minutes, they indicate action to come. They are then covered, dug up, or otherwise removed from sight. Photography enables the ability to contrast the temporary nature of the markings with the permanence of the resulting structure and the photographic print itself, allowing for interpretation over time.
Stuart McCall’s work was selected via the Georgia Straight and Capture Photography Festival Canada Line Competition.
For the multi-sited public art project On and Off the Road, Capture has installed photo-based artworks on the exteriors of Canada Line stations across Vancouver. The series broadly considers how modes of mass transportation can simultaneously be places of intense control while remaining emblems of freedom and adventure in the Western pop cultural imagination. The artworks consider the road narrative in modern and contemporary art, literature, and film, as well as the limits of that narrative and the need for alternatives.
Presented in partnership by
Capture Photography Festival and the Canada Line Public Art Program—InTransit BC