Commissioned by the City of Vancouver, Surface made the hidden world of False Creek visually tangible.
This live 24/7 video documentary brought the underwater world of False Creek to the surface via a large LED screen
on False Creek at Ocean Concrete (for all the water, seawall and bridge traffic to observe) and a website (surfacer.ca).
In doing so, Bowie took the viewer beneath the surface to observe what is normally out-of-sight, out-of-mind. Surface was an
3 year ongoing live (and thus unedited) documentary of the underwater life of False Creek - one of the most taken for
granted waterways in British Columbia.
As the Aquabus made its way from stop to stop (or alternatively when parked at its dock), live underwater images
were transmitted live to the internet from a camera mounted under the boat to surfacer.ca and also to a large LED
screen mounted on the side of a structure at Ocean Construction on Granville Island. There was also a small onboard
screen on the designated Aquabus and an additional screen at False Creek Community Centre in Vancouver.
False Creek, a tidal body of water, once had an abundance of with aquatic life, until it was heavily industrialized
after colonization and until very recently was heavily polluted. Aquatic birds and sealife are starting to make a
comeback though still in relatively low numbers. This is reflected in the live stream that often functions as an
abstract mix of colours and impressions, sometimes tiny organisms, or crustaceans or fish swim by. Once teaming with
aquatic life, this body of water is showing recovery with an influx of species, but at a time when our oceans are
vulnerable to changes in temperature and oxygen levels.
The future of the underwater environment and what is manifest on the screen is wholly dependent on us:
our collective historic and present activities.
A Montreal company called Moment Factory, who designed the software and controlled the interactive systems for Nine Inch
Nails live shows as well as many other events worldwide, produced the software system for Bowie's project.
Globe and Mail
Georgia Straight, Fiona Bowie public art
Surface is commissioned by the City of Vancouver, under the project section Marking and Mapping, through its
Olympic and Paralympic Public Art Program for 2010, where artists were invited to propose projects based on sites of
their own choosing.
Many thanks for the generous support of Surface Project Partners:
and here ;
City of Vancouver
Emily Carr University IT
False Creek Yacht Club's Welcome Center
Concept, art work, project manager:
Software and system integration:
Moment Factory. Special thanks Dominic Audet, Hugo Desmeules, Vincent Pasquier, Pierre-Luc Brunet
Surface is installed on:
Special thanks to Jody Collins and Jeff Pratt who helped make this project possible.
Special thanks to Trevor Whike and Tony Randall who helped make this project possible.
Internet service provider: Emily Carr University
Special thanks to Chris Brougham and Ron Burnett
LED Screen location :
Special thanks to Dave Faber
Camera Hardware Installation(special thanks):
Radio mesh: Metro Mobile Radio
Electrics: Trevor Gibbons
City of Vancouver Project Manager:
Karen Henry (thank you)
© 2010 Fiona Bowie