Wednesday, December 23, 2009

2 days 'til Christmas, 48 to opening

We kicked off the longest night of the year at the Lantern Festival at the Roundhouse in Yaletown. Ari was the master of ceremonies in a yellow vest, and Becky and Erik waved red and saffron flags onstage.

It was a magic event with hundreds of people watching fire dancers in the cold and an array of amazing events, including a Whirling Dirvish, and from the Sunshine Coast - Twisted String!

The word of the day is clinquant - glittering with gold or silver, and it's all around us -- everything that illuminates these dark days and nights - all in anticipation of Christmas, just days away.

On the way home from an excellent & fun holiday dinner with crew (Becky wore a dress! and Bri brought her boyfriend!) we passed huge cranes between the skyscrapers glowing with Christmas lights, and glimpsed the Olympic rings in the water, this time green.

At the gulag today The Province's Damien Inwood interviews Gord for an article.

Yesterday Allan May visited Minus 28 degrees, and snapped some photos - the work is so complex & layered, with things I have never seen before in the structure of the ice. Yesterday Gord said, "Every once in a while, I'm thrilled." It's part of his usual creativity see-saw, a combo of haunting doubt, necessary confidence and healthy skepticism.

Phase Five deliverables were due yesterday; this morning the lighting arrived on the coast and Allan May got the B-1 form stamped by the engineer for the wall itself. After the holiday, it's all systems go.

Last night I heard the hotel will most likely host a show of the Paintings Below Zero Turin installation during January and February for their 'Westin Unwind'. More on this later.

These short days melt into darkness so quickly.

Monday, December 21, 2009


The ski goggles were a hit, a bucket of paint spilled and froze instantly and it was, by all accounts: “the hardest day”, the lifting, pouring, carrying buckets full of paint and water, chopping, sawing. And for Gord, making decisions. No more t-bars, for instance.

“The scale has been decided, the colors, the forms, but we don’t know what the final situation will be, exactly. Right now it’s exciting to be in the moment. The possibilities are open for us.”

“This is where it all comes together instinctively; it’s like stick-handling, you trust the moment, and go with your instincts. If you were a control freak, you would fail. The environment has its own measure of control; you just can’t have a pre-determined concept. You have to adapt to the qualities you find.

“With brittle ice, you get really interesting breaks; now we’re layering it; it’s somehow more muscular - and the separation of colors is more pronounced.”

“Gord doesn’t like pickles, unless it’s in a tuna sandwich,” Becky informs us with a smile, “I found out yesterday."

"The goggles are pink! Erik got the only pair of gray goggles, I guess he’s the ‘saw man’ so he deserves more manly-coloured glasses. I’ll get over it; now I’m embracing the pink." Becky is the only rookie crew member among us today, and I ask her impressions.

"Riding my bike through Vancouver, it seems tropical, it’s easy after working on Ice Gate,” she says.

“I knew I’d be cold, but I was open to whatever it required. It’s very physical; it’s hard, heavy work, but I’m toughing up,” she says, flexing a bicep. “It’s gender-equalizing.”

On the home front, Allan May’s crew has installed the first bank of lights and the Kingspan insulation on the back of the wall.

He begins rebuilding the wall on the site at Richmond City Hall on January 7th.

Check out the O Zone website!

50 days until we open.