ETHOS

Installation images from the Vancouver Art Gallery's exhibition Everything Everyday curated by Bruce Grenville in 2011here is the didactic text accompanying my piece:

LAIWAN
ETHOS: writing with found objects
1982
laminated bus transfers

Laiwan is a Vancouver-based interdisciplinary artist, writer and activist, recognized for her investigations into identity, performance and the ephemeral. Using ephemeral materials such as bus transfers, toilet paper, flowers and light, Laiwan creates installations and environments that draw attention to their own fleeting nature. Between 1980 and 1982 the transit system of Greater Vancouver issued bus transfers with a series of red letters printed to designate the day of use, publishing only fourteen letters of twenty-six letters of the alphabet so as to not visually confuse letters like O and Q. Laiwan collected the transfers, the residue of the simple action of taking the bus, with the help of friends; she also retrieved discarded ones from the street. Looking up what she could spell with the fourteen letters from a pocket Mirriam-Webster’s dictionary, the artist then wrote a text with the transfers. The transfers, to use Laiwan’s words, “became signifiers of a language of movement through time and space within a particular geography.” The artist ceased writing the poem when she ran out of the letter E.

 

Ten thousand postcards were printed and were freely taken by the end of the show.

 

ETHOS: writing with found objects was acquired by the Vancouver Art Gallery for their Permanent Collection in 2013.