Thanks to everyone

Spaces of Contestation panel April 18 2014Last week was busy, with the ISSUE Magazine launch, Spaces of Contestation panel/finissage, Kirsty Robertson’s lecture about protest inside the museum, and lots of last-minute details connected with all of these. Thanks are in order to Mariane Bourcheix-Laporte, Kirsty Robertson, Zoe Kreye, Catherine Grau, Lauren Marsden, Didier Morelli, Gabriel Saloman, Am Johal, Andrea Creamer, SFU Institute for the Humanities, Driftwood Brewing, Outreach Alternative Program of Britannia Secondary School, Burnaby Residents Opposing Kinder Morgan Expansion, STAG Library, the Vancouver Public Library,  Dana Howell, Rhys Kearns, Natalie Gitt, Alexa Mardon, Carla Stewart, Steffanie Ling, Erik Rzepka, Maggie Boyd, Noe Bagshaw, all of our patient neighbours on Pender Street, and everyone who came out to the lecture, the magazine launch, and the panel.

Some of the most demanding work was done by Brynn McNab, who is now editor of ISSUE in addition to managing 236 East Pender. Getting the first number of the relaunched magazine out with no real budget or resources is a remarkable feat.

The exhibition portion of Spaces of Contestation will be open until May 3. ISSUE Magazine is available for purchase online, at the Pitt during open hours, and soon in a few other places. We’ll be making some announcements soon about what happens next.

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Today! We’re open with Spaces of Contestation

2014-04-18 WE'RE OPENToday (Friday, April 18), many of our colleagues at other galleries and artist-run centres are closed, in apparent observance of a religious holiday. Here at the Pitt, as confirmed blasphemers, we’re open during the day today, and tonight we’ll be hosting the panel discussion and finissage event that goes with the intense and sprawling Spaces of Contestation project.

Join us at 7pm for the panel discussion, with curator Mariane Bourcheix-Laporte and artists Zoe Kreye Catherine Grau, Lauren Marsden, Didier Morelli, and Gabriel Saloman; right after that, starting around 8pm, we’ll be celebrating the completion of the constantly-evolving exhibition, the recent conclusion of the lecture series, and the series of walks and public actions that are at the core of the Spaces of Contestation project.

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This week: Kirsty Robertson, ISSUE launch, Spaces of Contestation panel/finissage

panel discussion and finissage imageWe’re at the beginning of a very busy week at the Pitt: Wednesday, April 16, we’ll be co-presenting the final talk in the Spaces of Contestation lecture series; Thursday, April 17, it’s the (re-)launch of ISSUE Magazine at the Pitt; and Friday, April 18 is the day when the Spaces of Contestation project culminates in a panel discussion and “finissage” reception at the Pitt. All this, and one more instalment of the Unlearning Walking Club on Sunday the 20th.


  • Kirsty Robertson: Capitalist Cocktails and Moscow Mules – Activism in the Museum and Gallery A talk at SFU Woodwards, Wednesday April 16, 7pm. Co-presented with SFU Institute for the Humanities and SFU Vancity Office for Community Engagement, part of Spaces of Contestation.
  • ISSUE Magazine launch party ISSUE was originally published by the Pitt from 1983-1985. Editor Brynn McNab, designer Rhys Kearns,  and a marvellous crew of contributors have re-launched ISSUE, a magazine of local culture, that we hope fills a gap in Vancouver art. The launch is on Thursday, April 17 at 8pm.
  • Spaces of Contestation artists’ panel and finissage On Friday, April 18, join us for the culmination of Spaces of Contestation, an ambitious and multifaceted project that has included performances, talks, an exhibition, and public actions in collaboration with community organizations. Curator Mariane Bourcheix-Laporte and artists Zoë Kreye and Catherine Grau, Lauren Marsden, Didier Morelli, and Gabriel Saloman will discuss their work and the overall project beginning at 7pm; after that, please stay (or drop by) for a reception marking the completion of the constantly-changing gallery installation that is just one part of Spaces of Contestation.
  • After that, there is one more instalment of Zoë Kreye and Catherine Grau’s Unlearning Walking Club, on Sunday, April 20, at 11am. If you would like to be part of this walk, please register online for Week 5: Into Shadow.

After this, things might be quiet for a little while, but not for long. The exhibition will run until May 3. Upcoming programs in May, June, July, and August will be announced very soon. Looking forward to seeing you this week!


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Oil Change? Join the People’s Procession, April 12

This weekend, as part of Spaces of Contestation, Gabiel Saloman and Burnaby Residents Opposing Kinder Morgan Expansion will be presenting the Peoples’ Procession Against the Pipeline in Burnaby on Saturday, April 12. Want to help us get the word out? Here’s a video by Gabriel Saloman (also showing in the window of 236 E Pender!) that you can share:

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Why Art and Activism Goes Together Better than Oil and Water

News Release


The Pipeline Ends HereThe People’s Procession Against the Pipelines

Gabriel Saloman and Burnaby Residents Opposing Kinder Morgan Expansion (BROKE)

Saturday, April 12, 10am-4pm
Burnaby, BC

Presented by UNIT/PITT Projects as part of Collective Walks/Spaces of Contestation curated by Mariane Bourcheix-Laporte

In the Summer of 2013, Vancouver based artist Gabriel Saloman had a vision of taking a Spring-time walk with a few dozen folks along the existing and proposed pipeline route in Burnaby. After approaching Burnaby Residents Opposing Kinder-Morgan Expansion (BROKE) to collaborate, that humble walk has become a whole lot more than anyone expected. The result of months of research, workshops, planning and outreach will be evident on Saturday, April 12 when the People’s Procession & Rally Against the Pipelines snakes its way through Burnaby neighborhoods that are directly effected by the TransMountain pipeline, tank farm and refinery.

The People’s Procession will begin at 10:00am with an opening ceremony in Forest Grove Park. The walkers will follow the existing Kinder-Morgan pipeline route heading west, stopping briefly for a rest in Squint Lake Park, before winding its way north to where a large rally will take place at 1:00pm in Westridge Park, near the site of 2007′s massive pipeline rupture. The rally will feature music, speakers (including Burnaby MP Kennedy Stewart, Ben West of Forest Ethics and others), poetry, comedy and more. From there the procession will conclude it’s journey to Westridge Marine Terminal, “the end of the line” for tar sands shipments before they are put on tankers and sent abroad. As walkers arrive, a flotilla of boats, canoes and kayaks organized by North Shore NOPE will be making noise on the Burrard Inlet.

Saloman was commissioned to create a performative public walk as part of Unit/Pitt Projects’ “Collective Walks/Spaces of Contestation” exhibition, curated by Mariane Bourcheix-Laporte. The Vancouver gallery’s exhibition which runs from March 22 – May 3, with a reception on Friday, April 18, is an access point to 3 other walks co-created by the invited artists and a community groups of their choosing. Collaborations include Lauren Marsden and the Vancouver Public Library; Didier Morelli and the Britannia Outreach Program; and The Unlearning Walking Club which will host walking adventures every Sunday for the duration of the exhibition.

The People’s Procession was imagined by Saloman as a “counter-map” as a response to the maps provided by Kinder-Morgan and the Federal Government. Speaking about the People’s Procession, Saloman has said “I wanted to create a map that showed the real lives that are affected by this project; a map that could be a different kind of educational tool. By making this map with our bodies, moving through space, the participants carry the knowledge with them and the tools to share it with others – they simply have to go for walk.” In addition to the People’s Procession, Saloman is creating a printed map of the Burnaby pipeline network that includes oral histories; recent and archival photos; and the streets, green spaces and waterways affected by the pipeline.

For Saloman, there was no question of whether Art and Activism could mix. “I know that artists have a way of seeing the world, of understanding how moving and affecting images are created, that is both similar and different to how activists see things. I wanted to see if a protest created from the perspective of artists might create something different than what we’re used to seeing, but still be very effective. Luckily BROKE immediately understood that Art could speak to people in unique ways and they’ve been fantastic collaborators.”

The People’s Procession & Rally Against the Pipeline will begin at 10:00 am in Forest Grove Park and culminate in a rally at 1:00pm in Westridge Park. The North Shore Flotilla will be meeting at Whey-a-Chen/Cates Park at 2:00pm and head out at 2:30pm.

For more information, follow these links:
Unit/Pitt Projects:

The People’s Procession & Rally:

The North Shore Flotilla:


Spaces of Contestation is supported through the BC Arts Council’s Arts-Based Community Development Program and by the Hamber Foundation. The accompanying speaker series is co-presented by UNIT/PITT, the SFU Vancity Office of Community Engagement and the SFU Institute for the Humanities.

UNIT/PITT Projects | 236 East Pender Street, Vancouver BC Canada V6A 1T7 | +1 604 681 6740 |

UNIT/PITT is grateful for the assistance of the Canada Council, the British Columbia Arts Council, and the City of Vancouver; we are particularly grateful to individual donors, volunteers, artists, and cultural workers, without whom we would be unable to continue.

Canada Council for the ArtsBritish Columbia Arts CouncilCity of Vancouver

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Spaces of Contestation full schedule of events

spaces-of-contestation-talk-series-imageSpaces of Contestation is possibly the most ambitious project we have hosted since our relaunch in 2011. That’s saying a lot, since we’re comparing it to three years of Wrong Wave, the Ill Repute and What Future commissioning series, and the recent Crawling, Weeping mini-festival. The project, curated by Mariane Bourcheix-Laporte, includes five lectures, four collaborative public actions, an exhibition, and a series of publications.

We’ll be announcing details of each one of these events as we get closer, but here’s an event schedule for the next five weeks. Join us this weekend for Lauren Marsden’s In Pursuit of Perpetual Motion (Saturday March 22, 1pm, at the Vancouver Public Library Central Branch) and the first instalment of Zoe Kreye and Catherine Grau’s Unlearning Walking Club (Sunday March 23, 11am, at UNIT/PITT, space is limited so please reserve).

Saturday March 22
Exhibition open to the public in gallery
Exhibition runs till May 3

Saturday March 22, 1-3pm
In Pursuit of Perpetual Motion, Performance directed by Lauren Marsden
Surrounding the outdoor perimeter of the Vancouver Public Library Central Branch (350 W Georgia St).
Co-presented by the Vancouver Public Library Central Branch

Sunday March 23, 11 am
Unlearning Walking Club 1
Meet at the gallery at 10:45 am (walk starts promptly 11am)
space is limited

Sunday March 30, 11 am
Unlearning Walking Club 2
Meet at the gallery at 10:45 am (walk starts promptly 11am)
Space is limited please RSVP

Tuesday April 1, 7pm
Lauren Marsden artist talk
Alice Mackay Room, Lower Level Vancouver Public Library Central Branch (350 W Georgia St)
Co-presented by the Vancouver Public Library Central Branch

Sunday April 6, 11 am
Unlearning Walking Club 3
Meet at the gallery at 10:45 am (walk starts promptly 11am)
Space is limited please RSVP

Saturday April 12, 10am-4pm
The People’s Procession & Rally Against the Pipelines, Gabriel Saloman and BROKE
To participate in the Procession: meet at 10 am in Forest Grove Park, Burnaby. Possibility to join the procession at various meeting points along the way.
To participate in Rally: meet at 1pm in Westridge Park, Burnaby

Sunday April 13, 11 am
Unlearning Walking Club 4
Meet at the gallery at 10:45 am (walk starts promptly 11am)
Space is limited please RSVP

Wednesday April 16, 7pm
Spaces of Contestation Speaker Series Talk 5: Kirsty Robertson
World Art Centre at SFU Woodward’s (149 West Hastings)

Thursday April 17, 1:30-3pm
Procession by Didier Morelli and the Outreach Alternative Program at Britannia Secondary School
Procession starts at 1:30 pm, Britannia Secondary School, 1001 Cotton Dr.

Friday April 18, 8pm
Exhibition reception in the gallery

Sunday April 20, 11 am
Unlearning Walking Club 5
Meet at the gallery at 10:45 am (walk starts promptly 11am)
Space is limited please RSVP

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Coming up: In Pursuit of Perpetual Motion, and The New Clothes

In Pursuit of Perpetual MotionNext up at UNIT/PITT: the very first performance in Spaces of Contestation, a performance and procession by Lauren Marsden and the Vancouver Public Library, In Pursuit of Perpetual Motion. The performance will start at 1pm on Saturday, March 22, at the VPL Central Branch, culminating in a procession from the VPL (350 West Georgia Street, Vancouver) to UNIT/PITT (236 East Pender Street).

Before that, we’re briefly lending our space to the New Clothes, a project by Mia Daniels and Ellen Russell. Starting on the evening of Thursday, March 13, and lasting until Saturday, March 15, you are invited to “bring your worn clothes and make them new”.

We keep saying we’re going to slow down a bit, but it never seems to happen.

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Spaces of Contestation Talks online

spaces-of-contestation-talk-series-imageStephen Collis’s talk Riot Dogs and Research Labs: Poetry and Struggle is coming up tomorrow (Wednesday, March 12, 7pm, at SFU Woodwards, free admission). His talk is the fourth in a series about the city, art, and activism, providing a critical context for the overall Spaces of Contestation series. If you have missed the previous three talks, or would like to see them again, our co-presenters at SFU have put them online; you can view the videos of talks by Geoff Mann, Jamie Peck, and Urban Subjects right here:

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Next: Spaces of Contestation

spaces-of-contestation-talk-series-imageVancouver, Crawling, Weeping, Betting is over. After almost two months, seven midnight performances, innumerable city tours, seven stories told and matched with seven drinks; horns, strings, and drums played; twenty-one or more dances improvised; a wallet stolen in front of bystanders and then returned; layers of paint, writing, and paper applied  to the Pitt’s walls week upon week, et cetera, et cetera — after all of that, our doors are going to be closed for a little while so that we can patch the walls, polish the floors, and collect our thoughts.

While we’re taking care of inside business, Spaces of Contestation is moving into a new phase. Spaces of Contestation includes an exhibition, starting later this month; public actions, processions and performances; and a series of talks at SFU Woodwards. The next talk is by poet and activist Stephen Collis, on Wednesday, March 12 — Riot Dogs and Research Labs: Poetry and Struggle. On March 22, the gallery will open with the initial elements of an installation that will evolve over a six-week run. The complete run of public actions will be announced soon; the first one is on on Saturday, April 12, a collaborative procession and performance by Gabriel Mindel-Saloman and Burnaby Residents Opposing Kinder Morgan Expansion.

See you on March 12th for Stephen Collis’s talk, and we’ll see you at 236 E Pender when the doors open again later this month.

UPDATE: see our announcements for In Pursuit of Perpetual Motion (Saturday, March 22) and The Unlearning Walking Club (every Sunday from March 23 to April 20) for the first public actions in this series.


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This is the last chance – Crawling, Weeping final week

Screen shot 2014-02-08 at 1.31.41 PMWe’re coming up on the end of Vancouver, Crawling, Weeping, Betting — a “mini-festival” of visual art, storytelling, performance, music, and dance, accompanied by a book and walking tours every Saturday. This week is the last week of what has turned out to be a sprawling, intense project with some amazing moments.

The gallery installation, which began with a mural by Chris Bose and surveyor’s spikes set in the wall by David McIntosh, has changed every week since Crawling, Weeping began on January 16, and now includes artifacts of all of the Friday night “Bob’s Salon” performances since then, and wall paintings by Bracken Hanuse Corlett, Cease Wyss, Esper, Gone Fishin, and Take5. Your last chance to see the installation will be this week, either during gallery hours (noon to 5pm, Wednesday through Saturday) or during the final Salon, Friday February 28 at 10pm.

The project began with a “Witching Hour Solo” by Chris Bose. These midnight performances (beginning at 11:30pm and running until 12:30) take place in the closed gallery, and are meant to be viewed through the windows from the street outside. We do what we can to mitigate the effects of the weather, providing emergency blankets and sometimes radiant heaters. Chris Bose will be coming back for the final midnight performance, which will start at 11:30pm on Thursday, February 27.

Friday night, the final Bob’s Salon will feature a story by Veda Hille, paired with a wine from host/sommelier David McIntosh, in turn forming the basis of improvisations by musicians Max Murphy, Joel Lower, Gary Wildeman, and Bruce Freedman and dancers Arash Khakpour, Aryo Khakpour, Chris Wright, and Billy Marchenski.

Saturday, March 1, will be the last day of Crawling, Weeping’s city tours. Come to UNIT/PITT between noon and 5pm on that day and we’ll set you up with one of our guides for an unpredictable and charming experience.

All events are free, courtesy of battery opera performance.

Complete schedule for this final week is below. If you can’t make it, you can always buy the book.


Thursday 27, 11:30pm – 12:30 am Witching hour solo

  •  Chris Bose

Friday Feb 28, 10pm – 12 midnight Bob’s Salon

  •  Dance: Arash Khakpour, Aryo Khakpour, Chris Wright, Billy Marchenski
  •  Music: Max Murphy, Joel Lower, Gary Wildeman, Bruce Freedman
  •  Story: Veda Hille
  •  Host: David McIntosh

Saturday March 1, Guided improvised tours of the city

  •  Brian Solomon, Pedro Chamale, Michelle Lui, Aryo Khakpour, Chu-Lynne Ng, Maxine Chadburn.
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