Downtown Eastside

Paul Wong

2010, 08:05 minutes, colour, English


Downtown Eastside is available in single channel format for screenings and as a two channel installation with variable configurations.

The Downtown Eastside is one of the oldest neighbourhoods in Vancouver, BC and is known as ‘Canada’s poorest postal code’. The area is noted not only for its poverty but is rife with open drug use, sex trade, crime, homelessness, HIV and mental health issues and all the community activism that comes with trying to fix the problems. The artist records everyday activities in the streets and alleys around the Main and Hasting Street intersection. On the right, the view is from a fixed camera positioned on top of a dashboard, on the left he walks with a handheld camera with wide lens. Along the way he encounters a street artist, engages with two women in Pigeon Park, crack users, dealers and homeless people. No stranger to this area, Paul Wong is part of the history that includes growing up and working in Chinatown, Gastown and Strathcona. The victim of urban decay and neglect this area is currently undergoing renewal with new businesses and condominium developments.

Downtown Eastside has been presented as part of Everybody is Somebody, a multimedia event at Pigeon Park in 2007 and as part of Five Elements at Sun Yat Sen Gardens as part of ‘5’, a series of site-specific events commissioned by the City of Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Public Art Projects.

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