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Artists involve Surrey community in interactive outdoor artwork

30jan(jan 30)8:00 pm26apr(apr 26)11:59 pmArtists involve Surrey community in interactive outdoor artwork(january 30) 8:00 pm - (april 26) 11:59 pm

Event Details

Varvara and Mar: We Are the Clouds

January 30−April 26, 2020

Preview night: Thursday, January 23 | 8 p.m.

Surrey, BC – Surrey Art Gallery is excited to present a new interactive artwork at UrbanScreen. Varvara & Mar: We Are the Clouds will be on display from January 30 to April 26, 2020, with a special preview on January 23 at 8 p.m. The artwork will be visible every night starting half an hour after sunset until midnight. It can also be seen onsite and from the Skytrain going past Gateway Station. Admission is free.

Have you ever seen yourself in the clouds? Estonia-based art duo Varvara & Mar's site-specific artwork We Are the Clouds delights visitors to Chuck Bailey Recreation Centre with a playful twist on the self-portrait: the cloud portrait.

Using software designed specifically for the project, in conjunction with a Microsoft Kinect camera, We Are the Clouds captures imagery of Surrey community members and re-interprets it into the form of clouds. Visitors can perform live in front of an onsite kiosk and have their “cloud persona” appear immediately onscreen, projected onto a brilliant blue sky across the side of the recreation centre. Capturing only the silhouette of a given participant, the technology allows all prospective cloud-makers to contribute to the formation of an ephemeral cloud community, which will appear on the screen.

Prior to the exhibition's opening date, Surrey locals were invited to attend production workshops with the artists, where their on-camera performances were recorded to create the initial body of imagery. The artists intend the project to bring locals together within a space of play-making and creativity. The use of the silhouette is a reminder that everyone is invited and welcome to participate.

“We Are the Clouds is a lot of fun, but it is also a subtle commentary on the relationship between play-making and community-building,” says Surrey Art Gallery Assistant Curator Rhys Edwards. “Every participant’s movement becomes part of a larger choreography, where people’s gestures play off of each other to create a space of generosity, leisure, and calm.”

We Are the Clouds comprises part of Surrey Art Gallery's 2020 winter exhibition programming. Other shows include Susan Point: Spindle Whorl, a prolific display of silkscreen prints from the Vancouver Art Gallery; Don Li-Leger: Counting the Steps of the Sun, featuring vivid colour works from the late artist; and How Green is Your Muse?, a celebration of nature from the Filipino Music and Art Foundation. Surrey Art Gallery will celebrate these exhibitions at its opening reception on Saturday, January 25 at 7:30 p.m.

About the artists

Varvara & Mar is an artist duo formed by Varvara Guljajeva and Mar Canet in 2009. Their work is often inspired by the digital age. In their practice, they confront social changes and impacts of the technological era. Varvara & Mar are also fascinated by kinetics, participation, and digital fabrication, which are integral parts of their work.

They have exhibited their artworks in a number of international shows and festivals, including MAD in New York, FACT in Liverpool, Santa Monica in Barcelona, the Barbican and the V&A Museum in London, Onassis Cultural Centre in Athens, Ars Electronica museum in Linz, ZKM in Karlsruhe, and more.

The duo has completed various commissions, such as Neuronal Landscapes (2018) for the Estonian History Museum and Wishing Wall (2014) for Google and the Barbican for their Digital Revolution exhibition. In 2017, they completed a public art commission in Tallinn for NUKU Theatre, and have been recognized for their public artworks in Estonia.

About Surrey Art Gallery

Internationally recognized for its award-winning programs, Surrey Art Gallery is the second largest public art museum in Metro Vancouver. Founded in 1975, the Gallery presents contemporary art by local, national, and international artists, including digital and audio art. Its extensive public programs for children through to adults aim to engage the public in an ongoing conversation about issues and ideas that affect our communities and to provide opportunities to interact with artists and the artistic process. Admission is free. Surrey Art Gallery gratefully acknowledges the financial assistance of the City of Surrey, Province of BC through BC Arts Council, Canada Council for the Arts, and the Surrey Art Gallery Association.



January 30 (Thursday) 8:00 pm - April 26 (Sunday) 11:59 pm


Surrey Art Gallary

13750 88 Avenue in Surrey

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