Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Oppenheimer Park

On the south side of the 400-block Powell is Oppenheimer Park (the picture above looks northeast). Opened in 1902 on land donated by Vancouver Mayor David Oppenheimer, the park served most notably as the home field for the Asahi baseball team (1914-1941), as well as a congregation point for those protesting police brutality (Bloody Sunday, 1938). After World War II, the park became the home of Vancouver's longest-running community celebration (the Powell Street Festival, 1977-), but also a launching point for the city's crack cocaine trade (1987-).

Last spring I was invited by artist Juan Manuel SepĂșlveda to view some of the remarkable footage he shot at this park, towards a video he is making as a Master of Fine Arts candidate at Simon Fraser University's School for the Contemporary Arts. Though SepĂșlveda's video is not yet complete, it will eventually join a growing number of recently-produced long-form videos made by Vancouver artists such as Isabelle Pauwels and Dan Starling, all of whom enlist the city not as a generic location, but as a specific place in time.

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