I watched the people passing by these signs. I liked this picture because there is a man to the right who seems to be seriously contemplating the message on the signs. Additionally, the women walking is reading the signs. The elderly lady on the left also stopped to read each sign. The other gentleman casually looked at them.
I put them up Friday night and as of Saturday afternoon they were still up. I wanted to put them up for the weekend as I figured this would give them some longevity. The messages are pretty straight forward. The sign on the left presents one of the main questions of this project, and the question of guerilla poetry in general. This challenges the assumptions that we reside in “public space”. While Hazco, warning signs and the Real Estate company are allowed to be displayed, signs which are not part of this corporate messaging will be removed. I am curious to see how long these will stay up.
The second sign to the right reads “Destroy Hyperconsumption / Dismantle Capitalism”. This speaks to the point that unlimited expansion requires unlimited/unregulated consumption. The illusion of the “Green Economy”, something which the mayor of Vancouver, Gregor Robertson, is pushing, is that we will be able to consume ourselves out of the ecological crisis. Alas consumption, the basis of the Capitalist economy, is the very problem. Putting the word “Green” in front of it will do nothing to change this fact. Thus we must dismantle the very fabric of the Capitalist economy and create a new economic dialectic.
Well as of Tuesday, July 20th, 2010 these signs are still up. The West End community’s capacity for tolerating dissident messages seems to be very strong. Interestingly, the fact that these signs are still up suggests that this place is derelict. The signs I put up at the Davie Community Garden on Burrard and Davie were taken down within a day. Likewise, those messages on municipal (“public”) property were also taken down fairly promptly. Yet these signs have staying power. It is save to assume that “Hazco”, the development company, would probably not desire these signs to be up as they consider that fence to be their private property and would see its messaging undermining their legitimacy. Since these signs have not been taken down it would be safe to assume that the owners have no idea they are up. As such this property has become derelict and in disuse. Moreover, it shows a complete detachment from the community in which they desire to develop. In other words, this derelict nature reveals a detachment from the Capitalist mode of multinational developers and producers from the communities in which they operate, i.e. they do not reside, live or interact within the communities they exploit. They care nothing for communities other then how they can exploit them for profit. Oddly this does not seem to be lost on the populace of the West End and Vancouver:
Probably the most interesting development is that, rather than our signs being defaced or destroyed, it has been Hazco’s sign. It seems as if someone has tried to rip most of it down. Currently in the West End there is a lot of animosity with the development path the City of Vancouver (and by extension Vision Vancouver, the party with the most council seats) and this seems to be expressed in this defacement of corporate messaging rather than community messaging. For the record the Ecological Collectivist Union neither condones, nor condemns, vandalism/defacement. Rather we just try to contextualize it and put vandalism/defacement into its proper metaphorical position as our article on the G20 Protests/Vandalism suggested. Each individual person must come to grips with what they see as ethically legitimate within our current political/economic system. All this being said, such defacement of corporate messaging adds an interesting element to this “poem”.
It has been over two weeks and these signs are still up. In fact they are the only plywood signs that are still up. They survived the Celebration of Lights and the Pride Parade. Being a West Ender I must say that I am proud of our community. They have shown a high tolerance for messages which do not conform to the dominant capitalist narrative. The local businesses obviously do not see it as an attack on them personally, but on a system which is inherently ecocidal. This shows an open-mindedness and critical capacity within the West End which is lacking in the other communities of Vancouver’s downtown core.