Less than a hundred metres from the Helen Pitt Gallery is Rogers Arena, site of tonight’s showdown between Vancouver’s National Hockey League team and last year’s playoff champs, Chicago. This will be the final and deciding game in a best-of-seven first round playoff series, with the winner advancing to the second round, with two more rounds after that before the league championship is once again decided.
There are many stories attached to this series, a number of which began when the two teams met in the playoffs in 2009, then last year, with Chicago winning both series four games to two. This year, the league-leading Vancouver team was up three games before losing three in a row, adding a tension to the city as palpable as cream is to a coffee.
Whatever happens tonight I expect some form of public catharsis, be it an overturned car, a smashed storefront, or a cop pushing someone to the ground. Back in 1994, when the Vancouver team lost the final game of the playoffs, Robson Street erupted, an event that found its way into a single-channel video installation by Vancouver artist Roy Arden.
Supernatural (2005) is notable not only for its use of CBC footage, and the content therein, but Arden's decisions on when to enter and exit that content, and how long to hold onto the intervening black spaces he provides between clips. More than a reading, Arden's piece is a compelling mix of redaction, monochrome and collage.
As curious as I am to see what happens tonight, I will not be entering the fray, having made plans to dine with someone for whom hockey is, as he put it, “a game of increasingly high velocity in which death during play is inevitable – and who wants to patronize that?”