Fighting Fire With (Artistic) Fire

My “topic de obsession” for the week is art, in all its wonderful shapes, designs and interpretations. Now, at first glance, the building pictured below seems to be burning. If you watch the video clip, nothing seems out of the ordinary, besides a raging fire consuming a run-down four storey.

burning building 3

Isabelle Hayeur is the artistic genius behind the site specific video installation slash choreographed art installation, aptly titled “Fire with Fire,” shortened from the popular phrase to fight fire with fire. She transformed a Downtown Eastside, Vancouver four storey building to give the appearance of being consumed by flames, using video projectors and 3 blu-ray players. With a very realistic outcome indeed.

burning building

The building is situated in Downtown Eastside, the oldest and most run-down neighborhood in Vancouver. The area is not only spotted with derelict buildings, but has a history plagued with poverty, which resulted in various social problems. This was not always the case though; the neighborhood has seen better days. Before the urban decay set in, pre-1980’s, it was the business hub of Vancouver, bustling with activity and wealth. The area is undergoing a change for the better, evident from modern/renovated the buildings on either side of the “Fire with Fire” project. The 2010 Olympic Games also did a lot for the city’s economy; new condo’s and office buildings are part of the every day scenery now.

burning building 2

To understand the artist’s inspiration, we have to travel further back in the city’s history, to 1886 to be exact. Soon after the city was incorporated, a great fire swept through the neighborhood and destroyed almost everything in its path. A part of the city’s history is thus reflected in Isabella’s video installation. At the same time, it also reminds us of the current social and economic problems and the many lives affected by homelessness, poverty, drug use and even prostitution.

It is striking, however, that so many people just walk on by without giving much thought, or consideration, to their environment. Notice how they walk down the street, gaze up at the “burning” building for a second or two, and then go on their merry way again. In my humble opinion, that speaks volumes, and might as well have been the original concept in the artist’s mind. To expose the social “numbness” that has taken root

For other art related projects with more depth than meets the eye, feel free to point your browser to Farm Animals Turn Butchers in this Full-Back Tattoo or Star Trek Characters Receive the Steampunk Treatment in Photographs.

Via: Boing Boing