Michael / Atratus (mbarrick) wrote,
Michael / Atratus

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Device for Rooting Out Evil

What we really need is a device for rooting out stupid.

The upside-down church at the foot of Bute street has been removed. Why? Because a handful of thick-witted Christians thought it was blasphemous and a few whiney condo-owners said it blocked their view. Apparently the Vancouver Parks Board reported, "public response to the work has been mixed, with a greater proportion of the response being negative."

Because people, as a rule, don't go out of their way to praise things they like. And people never go out of their way to share that they don't have strong feelings one way or the other about something. I think it would be safe to say that the vast majority of people for whom this artwork was part of daily scenery either liked it or had no particular opinion about it. It's easier to complain.

In fact I am absolutely certain that the voiciferiously offended Christians are a minority because, in Vancouver, Christians are a minority. According to the 2001 census 57.6% percent of Vancouverites aren't Christian. Of that minority 42.4% what percentage was offended by the artwork? Probably a faction of a single percent, but let's say 1% for the sake of round numbers. So then, here we have 0.424% of Vancouverites offended enough to spout off the Parks Board. That would mean that if you took a random sample of 250 Vancouverites and you'd find one person bothered by the artwork on religious grounds.

Now let's consider the condo owners who complained that the artwork was blocking their view. The piece was about two storeys high. Anyone with a condo above the second floor could not possibly have their view of the mountains blocked. The building to the immediate east of the park has no windows facing the park below the level of the top of the artwork, there is no view to block. The building across Cordova Street to the east of Bute Street is an office tower (incidentally also with no windows below the level of the artwork). The building across Cordova to the west of Bute has a grocery store occupying the first level to a height well in excess of the artwork, so no view to block there. There are three or four ground level townhouses to the immediate west of the park. Only one of those, the one closest to Cordova street could possibly have their view obstructed. But what view? Given the placement of the surrounding buildings and the curvature of the waterfront, the only thing that could possibly be obsured from the view of the one townhouse that can possibly have its view obscured would be new Trade and Convention Centre. So, in short, we have no possible valid complaint from any condo owners whatsoever. My guess is a small number (amounting to a truely insignificant fraction of Vancouverites, perhaps 0.0005%, give or take a ten-thousandth of a percent) of condo owners, who probably don't even live in Vancouver, worried that the artwork might potentially offend a potiential buyer, potentially impacting the potential resale value of their speculation property. That's hardly a reason to remove an internationally significant work of public art.

I enjoyed that sculpture, it was part of my view from my apartment. Now it is gone. And now I am offended.

Vancouver Sun article
PDF version, should the link above fail
Tags: art, vancouver
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