What looks like a giant pile of rubble outside the Shangri-La Hotel in downtown Vancouver is actually an art installation by Chinese art collective MadeIn Company titled Calm. All is not as it seems. Pass by in a hurry and you’ll hardly notice this giant pile of broken cement blocks, grass, and construction waste, but stand next to it for just a moment and you’ll notice something almost imperceptible: the entire pile of rubble is moving, slightly undulating atop a giant hidden reservoir of water.
Calm’s ambiguity and unexpected ability to move provoke us to question ways of observing, believing and understanding facts, and remind us that the truth often differs from what it seems. In this context, Calm comments on the concerns that arise alongside urban development and the gentrification of residential neighbourhoods, whether in Vancouver or Shanghai. While the volume of construction in Vancouver might pale in comparison and scale to that of Shanghai, there are currently several retail and residential expansions underway within a five-kilometre radius of Offsite.