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Olympic public art inspired by Vancouver transit!

The City of Vancouver’s public art program has a neat transit-related project from artist Anna Ruth, called Sensory Maps of Vancouver. Check out the video above for more on the project, plus here’s the description from their website:

Sensory Maps of Vancouver is a series of drawings that record the movement of city buses and reflect the experience of public transportation in the urban environment. Using simple drawing tools, the Finland-based artist let the vibrations of each vehicle dictate the lines she translated to paper as she rode and moved from bus to bus during one 24-hour period covering as much of the city as possible. The end result—twenty bus routes, one train line and one Seabus trip later—is a collection of ‘maps’.

Very cool! Look for the maps in bus shelters throughout Vancouver from January 25 to March 21, 2010.

(Many thanks to Derek Cheung for sending this along!)


  • By John Hodgkins, January 27, 2010 @ 3:34 pm

    Mmm – something different, and maybe a bit off the wall?

    Calling them sensory maps might imply that they are designed to assist people with a visual handicap. I think maybe they have some way to go!

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, January 27, 2010 @ 3:41 pm

    Yep, it’s art, not wayfinding :)

  • By Sean T, January 27, 2010 @ 4:05 pm

    I’m sorry but what 10 year old hasn’t done that? For this to make it to the prime advertising space which bus shelters have does not say much for our city.

  • By Cliff, January 27, 2010 @ 5:46 pm

    I fail to see the value in this art. If she repeated the experiment again would she get similar results? No? Then it’s not a map, it’s a bunch of scribbles made by someone riding a bus through town.

    If I commission some scribbles to be made by my nephew and slapped “15 Cambie” on them, would they be featured?

  • By Brandon, January 27, 2010 @ 8:48 pm

    I think its interesting. I couldn’t figure it out at first, but this post helps me to understand a bit more. The way I see this art is that it shows the personality (for lack of a better word) of a certain route.

  • By Brandon (CMBC), January 27, 2010 @ 8:50 pm

    Woops, forgot to state that I was a Transit Operator for CMBC in my comment.

  • By ;-), January 28, 2010 @ 8:07 am

    Would be interesting to stick a seimograph on a bus as it drives through the city. Kinda like the transit driver rodeo, but who is the smoothest driver?

  • By drew86, January 29, 2010 @ 2:12 pm

    I’m sorry to sound rude here, but this is called ART? total BS. i’m tired of so many so called “contemporary artists” taking advantage of the importance of Art by coming up with stuff so out off this world and full of c*ap.

  • By ben K, February 1, 2010 @ 3:03 pm

    I am a first-tier promoter of the arts, but I have to agree with opinions like Cliff’s.

    What galls me most is that the caption implies the artist is Finnish, and not Canadian. If TransLink or CoV or whomever is going to throw money at this sort of cheap random-scratch art, why not finance a local artist (or ten year old) instead? (If I have misunderstood, someone please correct me.)

    I first saw the “8 Fraser” poster a few days ago on Main, and I examined it for several minutes. My conclusion actually was that it was drawn by a mentally-handicapped person — not just because of its appearance, but because of the small print on the poster (regretfully I forget exactly the text; I will revisit it soon and try to figure out what I was thinking).

    I mean no disrespect to mentally-handicapped people; I merely wish to illustrate my (continued) bafflement about this project.


  • By Appalled Taxpayer, February 26, 2010 @ 10:17 am

    Oh my god! Our tax dollars were spent on this?!? If it weren’t for that fact, I would have a good and unconflicted belly laugh. If it weren’t for that fact, the ‘artist’ could call these meaningless, talentless scribbles ‘art’ or anything else for that matter, with little harm done to anyone. But come on! This is just ridiculous, embarrassing, and an enormous waste of money!

  • By thebeatmarket, March 4, 2010 @ 8:21 pm

    To the people who know nothing about art and are solely concerned with the cost to themselves: Shame on you.

    To the people who blast the artist for being Finnish: do your homework — She’s a Canadian artist based in Finland (that means that she’s working there).

    To the people who think their 10 year old could do a better job: Stop and think about the process: could you get a 10 year old to ride the bus for a full day?

    Having taken the bus for many years I looked at the vibrations (some of you call it scribbles) and it’s clear that some of the bus lines are much more bumpy and that converts into more vibrations on the paper. I guess none of you have tried to write a report while on your commute to school or work.

    To Cliff who does not think the term “map” is accurate, and that it’s more of an experiment. You may be right. But as you must be aware conditions and variables change and therefore a second attempt would have different results.

    Finally to anybody who thinks that there is a lot of money in being an artist — Get Real. Haven’t you heard the term “starving artist”? I don’t know what was paid to any of the artists that were commissioned, but i cant imagine it was very much.

    Good for you Anna Ruth.

    -A Bus Rider Too

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