FOUNTAIN: the source or origin of anything

Images from the installation and website launch / public talk curated by Joni Low and commissioned by the Vancouver Heritage Foundation in 2014in collaboration with the CBC Media Archives (Colin Preston); with guests Vancouver historian Bruce MacDonald, Indigenous plant elder Cease Wyss and Vancouver's hidden streams researcher Celia Brauer. Video clips from the CBC News and our Indiegogo Campaign created to build a relational network.

FOUNTAIN: the source or origin of anything
Photographic mural, 30x40' vinyl

Fountain: the source or origin of anything is a public art project by Laiwan that explores the metaphor of fluidity within the city’s built environment, visible and invisible. Inspired by a residency in the CBC’s analogue media archives, Laiwan has created a project that inhabits public and virtual spaces.

The first element of Fountain is the large-scale, photographic mural at The Wall, CBC Plaza, on display at 700 Hamilton Street, Vancouver from March 2014 to November 2015.

The photograph is sourced from the 1956 CBC film Summer Afternoon, and shows the Georgia Viaduct seen from the intersection of Keefer and Columbia Streets in Vancouver's Chinatown when the False Creek waters flowed under the bridge.

The second element is an interactive web project, which extends the exploration of fluidity throughout the city, bringing together oral and natural histories of nearby communities and reflecting on the changing nature of memory – and archives – in our digital age. It is an exploratory virtual space open to contributions, designed to create a communal flow of ideas over time.

Visit the website: FOUNTAIN online

Read Joni Low's Curatorial Essay

View the original 1956 CBC Film Summer Afternoon 

Read about the Georgia Viaduct Then and Now by local historian Keith Freeman

In 2015 I was looking to interview Chipper Mah, one of the boys in the film, to make a podcast. I have found him, and he literally lives around the corner from me (what amazing good fortune!). We have since been working on interviews, public talks (see Mobile Barnacle City), and I’m working on a new film project with Chipper.

See current podcasts:
Vancouver Historian Bruce Macdonald speaks about Keefer & Columbia streets in Chinatown

Indigenous Ceremonial Activist Cease Wyss speaks about ancestral sites at Burrard Bridge & at Trout Lake

False Creek Watershed Organizer Celia Brauer talks about Vancouver’s Lost Streams

Read the Hydrologic Blog developed by resident intern Renee Mok

And you can also enjoy Fountain's Facebook Page to receive updates on all Fountain issues and events.


Fountain's poetic lines were inspired by and sourced from the B.C. Government’s ‘Glossary of Water Quality Terms’. The scene shows the Georgia Viaduct seen from the intersection of Keefer and Columbia Streets in Vancouver's Chinatown in 1956 with the original False Creek waters.