Saturday, July 08, 2006

The Vancouver Biennale, Ubiquity Interactive, Metrocode, Richard Side and Ellie Harvie need some help - desperately.


Apparently I missed the articles the first time around. But picked up on it when it made today's Toronto Star. The Vancouver Sculpture Biennale is doing audioguides by cellphone.

Initially I was quite excited - but then I started listening. They are horrific, bad, lousy, really sucky and almost the worst 42 minutes and 48 seconds I have ever spent in my life.

I have no idea who Richard Side and Ellie Harvie are, but someone needs to teach them what a script is. There are a godawful number of 'umms,' and 'likes.' They repeat themselves so many times that I almost gagged. And if I remember correctly (I sure as shootin' ain't gonna listen to them a second time) think of the 22 things that they did, a full 20 of them were about important, significant, huge, and great artists who have been exhibited internationally, all over the world, and in all the major galleries. With their things on Khang Pham-New they actually recite his bio twice, word for word.

They attempt to walk a fine line between humor and academia. In the pitch I'm certain that they used the sentence 'like John Stewart meets...' Unfortunately, Mr. Side and Ms. Harvie wouldn't recognize Mr. Stewart if they were part of the studio audience and then invited backstage. Their attempts at humor are as flat as Sebastian Fleiter's sculpture in the biennale. Their attempts at biography or analysis, when not repeated to death, are so childish and simplistic, that I assume that they thought that their target audience was Barney, Thomas the Tank Engine, and the Teletubbies. Thankfully it is extremely unlikely that any children will actually be able to hear what they have to say, as those kids cellphones need to have the numbers they can call programmed into them, and I can't think of a single parent who would do that to their child.

In a nutshell, they seem to me like they are the aural equivalent of The Brady Brides TV series.

Then on top of it, they got funding for it from the New Media Research Networks fund and Mobile Muse, which probably means that it cost Canadian taxpayers something like $10,000 per minute to do them. I wish that when we had done it here we had their budget. Yuck.

It has got to be that expensive, otherwise how could Metrocode, Ubiquity Interactive, Richard Side and Ellie Harvie pay their bills?

And then they have this pathetic attempt at a web 2.0 thing, by asking people to submit photos, blog about the pieces and vote for their favorite sculpture. So far (and we are a month and half into it) no one has taken them up on the offer to blog, and they are averaging less than 1 picture per day in their contest. Double Yuck!!

I'd love to get a gander at the phone logs, and when all is said and done I bet you dollars to doughnuts that they do not release the number of votes received when announcing the most popular sculpture.

Actually I can find one good thing about the Vancouver Biennale's web initiatives, they can only get better.

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