In the year 1940, a time capsule titled The Crypt of Civilization was sealed in Atlanta, Georgia; set to be opened in the year 8113. Similarly, the design of Hastings Park features a time capsule, albeit for a more realistic span of time: the year 2000 to 2030. Despite the differing time spans of 6117 years and 30 years, these time capsules are representative of the ways in which systems of knowledge are ostensibly preserved, transferred and exhibited across swaths of time.
In this exhibition, Graeme Wahn utilizes the history and future of Hastings Park in Vancouver to examine the results of idealized community planning, collective utopias and the redundance of photographic depiction. Through image-based and sculptural means, the works highlight the production of subsidiary, unintended meanings that occur via systems and objects designed for memorialization. The physical contents and conceptual contingencies of Hastings Park provide a framework within which Wahn establishes an idiosyncratic or esoteric relationship to notions of place, and the common ways in which knowledge is crafted and packaged in order to transcend time.
“Hastings Park will be a sanctuary from the pressures and stresses of living in a growing metropolis. As urban density increases, Hastings Park will bring pleasure not only local residents, but all Vancouverites, as an ‘escape’ from the city in the city.”
– From The Greening of Hastings Park: Restoration Plan, 1996
Some time capsules may outlive many generations to come; concerns include organization, transmission, readability and preservation across large spans of time. How may the sender account for a successful retrieval of information within the unknown conditions of culture, language, species or even astronomical origin pertaining to the future recipient?
Graeme Wahn received a BFA in Photography from Emily Carr University of Art & Design in the spring of 2015. Although invested in the medium of photography, his work considers the image’s capacity to move through both sculptural and installation-based practices.