Voxel Bridge: Summer 2021 – 2023

I first heard about Voxel Bridge in Summer 2020, when I walked under the south end of Cambie Street Bridge, past signage that promised a historic moment for Vancouver’s iconic Cambie Street Bridge.

The Cambie Bridge of today is in its third iteration. The first Cambie Bridge opened in 1891.  It was a simple piled-timber trestle with a trussed timber swing span near the middle. The second Cambie Bridge, opened in 1911, was a four-lane, medium level steel bridge, with a length of 1,247 metres, that included streetcar tracks, long gone from the bridge that now stands in its place.   The cost of each bridge is an indicator of how currency has transitioned over the past 100 years.   First bridge $12,000, second bridge $740,000, and the last one built between 1983-85, $52.7 million.  But I digress…

Cambie Bridge now awaits a new era, one that will transform the south underside of the bridge into the largest digital art display of its kind. It is happening now!

I wanted to share the evolving creativity that is occurring.  Today’s video will introduce a before from last year, to the beginning that is occurring this past week.  Stay tuned for more in the weeks ahead.

Description: Title: Voxel Bridge

Artist: Jessica Angel (b. 1980, Colombia)

Medium: Vinyl, Augmented Reality

Exhibition Period: Summer 2021 – 2023

Location: Underneath Cambie Street Bridge South in Vancouver

Voxel Bridge is an 18,000-square-foot immersive installation by New York-based, Colombian artist Jessica Angel. The artwork explores how public space can be constructed and utilized in both digital and physical realities. Using adhesive vinyl and Augmented Reality technology, Angel will transform the Cambie Street Bridge in Vancouver and draw visual parallels between blockchain technology and the structural integrity of the underpass in front of the Southeast False Creek Neighborhood Energy Utility (NEU). This installation will become a point of contact and dialogue around different forms of knowledge.” Vancouver Biennale

I understand that the artwork will have a vinyl overly as its first layer. The next step is much more interesting, serving as a reminder that we are entering into a time when interaction with technology has moved from possibility to reality. When I download a Vancouver Biennale app, I will see digital objects that appear to float around and interact. Voxel Bridge will deliver an animated and interactive experience, analogous to standing in the middle of a circuit board.

Imagine how much has happened since 1891, when Cambie Bridge was a simple piled-timber trestle. Can we imagine what it will be like 100 years from now?

Perhaps it is best just to enjoy this moment. This is your invitation to join me under the Cambie Street Bridge, before and beginnings.

55 Thoughts

    1. Those costs stood out to me too! I had to add them into the post. Cambie Bridge, which overlooks Olympic Village is a vital link to South Vancouver and the airport. It is busy! Just recently Vancouver built capacity for bike lanes and walkways, to accommodate the trend to alternative transportation. (I would love to know the cost of this upgrade, but haven’t located it as yet). This is new art work and I am very interested in how people will interact with it. Technology integrated into reality – we are entering new territory. The underside of the bridge is a well-trodden path to shops and to the Olympic Skytrain station so there will be a great deal of feedback on this installation. Thank you so much for joining me under the bridge. Hugs!!

      Liked by 3 people

      1. It is wonderful that Vancouver’s leadership is so innovative and willing to embrace the new trends. I like this artwork in a big and imposing setting like this bridge. I wouldn’t purchase it for my house. Have a great day, Rebecca.

        Liked by 3 people

  1. Wow!. We won’t digress too far re the costs… What is fascinating is how an area can be reinvented. Where we are there’s been a huge waterfront redevelopment going on for some years now but what’s emerging is pretty impressive. This looks the same

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I think that city planners realize that to foster a wholistic community, their policies and plans require the introduction of art and creative spaces (with nature) where people can gather. I am not surprised that your waterfront is similar to what is happening on our side of the world. I remember standing at a hill overlooking Dundee and out to the sea and horizon. It felt like I was looking at infinity.

      Liked by 3 people

    1. I am delighted that you joined the party under the bridge. The underside of Cambie Bridge has become a place where there are pop-up events – music and parties(the parties were pre-Covid). It is a regular walkway that is taken by many to reach the Olympic Village Skytrain Station. I am looking forward to seeing how this project evolves and how passersby relate to the installation. It should be interesting. Many thanks for your comments.

      Liked by 2 people

    1. The Cambie Bridge has experienced many changes over the past few years. The most impressive change was when the bridge was adapted to meet the increasing bike and walking traffic. I believe that people are looking for ways in which to reduce their personal carbon footprint and Vancouver is moving to create more capacity for this trend across Cambie Bridge. Thank you for joining me at the beginning of Voxel Bridge! Your comments are very much appreciated.

      Liked by 3 people

    1. I knew you would like this project, Marina. The idea of bringing technology and reality together is being tested within the creative community. I believe you, as an artist and musician, clearly recognize the trends and where art is taking us as individuals and as a society. Stay tuned for more. Sending many hugs back across to your side of the world.

      Liked by 3 people

  2. I can’t say I totally understand what artist Jessica Angel will be doing — 🙂 — but it sounds fascinating. And I love all the camera angles of the bridge shown in the video. Well done, Rebecca! Last but not least, those cost differences for the bridge’s three iterations — wow!!!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I am with you on this, Dave! I have no idea how this art form has come into being. I have been reading about blockchain and NFT’s. This is the definition given by Wikipedia : “A non-fungible token is a unit of data stored on a digital ledger, called a blockchain, that certifies a digital asset to be unique and therefore not interchangeable. NFTs can be used to represent items such as photos, videos, audio, and other types of digital files.” I am amazed by how much NFT’s are being sold for such as the found of Twitter selling one of his tweets for just under $3 Million. https://www.theverge.com/platform/amp/22310188/nft-explainer-what-is-blockchain-crypto-art-faq. What I do know is that technology and Ai is entering the realm of art and creativity. It is an interesting mini-research project for me.
      Perhaps Alan Turing says it best – “One day ladies will take their computers for walks in the park and tell each other, “My little computer said such a funny thing this morning”.” Alan Turing

      Liked by 3 people

      1. I knew nothing about NFT – didn’t even know they existed. So thanks Rebecca a fascinating read.
        On a similar note, I recently saw something on You tube about an artist literally selling nothing- or as he terms it pieces of invisible immaterial sculpture. The piece shown (? That is simply paradoxical) was a demarked square (literally an outline) in the paving of a public place.
        If you buy one of his invisible sculptures then you get a certificate of authencity (which I guess must be like an NFT) to show this piece of air containing the invisible immaterial sculpture is different from every other piece of air not containing a piece of his immaterial invisible sculpture or perhaps even quite another entirely different piece of his immaterial invisible sculpture.
        Hard to believe he is motivated by Ars Gratia Artis or art for art’s sake as MGM used to announce over their roaring lion. Methinks perhaps it is the roar of the demon Mammon ringing in my ears. Or perhaps I am simply Philistine.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. I think that Mammon is indeed roaring this days. Or it is the Emperor has no clothes philosophy in play. The biggest issue with NFTs is that they require perpetual energy. Their carbon footprint is significant. This is from Morningstar relating to trading, but would also include art NFTs: “ As their mass appeal grows and trading momentum accelerates, it is feared NFTs’ environmental impact could be considerably damaging. Against the backdrop of the current discussions involving climate change and sustainability, the wider adoption of NFTs makes the issue of the energy consumption of blockchain technology, and carbon emissions resulting from it, more real and relevant.”
        https://www.morningstar.ca/ca/news/211282/are-nfts-hurting-the-environment.aspx

        We are living in very interesting times, Paul.

        Liked by 2 people

      1. What an extraordinary idea, Graham. We were in North Wales in 2013 but did not have the opportunity to visit Llangollen Eisteddfod! You have inspired me to go back to 2013 and visit Wales virtually. Thank you for the link!!

        Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh Julie, your encouragement and support always give a lift and joy to my day. This is going to be an interesting art installation. I have been reading about blockchain and NFTs but have not fully grasped the potential. Of course, it is so easy to dismiss this art form because I lack the understanding. Then I remind myself to look more closely, with this question: Would I have been one of those people who rejected Impressionism? Sending many hugs back your way.

      Liked by 3 people

    1. I am so glad you joined me under the bridge. Vancouver has set pop-up plazas to help residents and businesses adapt to living and operating through a pandemic. The purpose is to give people a space to eat, visit, rest or enjoy the weather while maintaining a safe distance from each other. The picnic tables under the bridge is one of these areas. I’m looking forward to see the progress of the installation. P.S. To Seaside is the pathway to the Vancouver Seawall. Sending hugs!

      Liked by 4 people

      1. One thing that struck me about the concrete of the bridge is that it looks so clean, compared to underpasses in Boston and New York City. Vancouver must not have as much pollution?

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Ah, we do have pollution, especially in the Fraser Valley when BC experiences fires in the interior. We are now experiencing a heat wave and it is dry. Crossing my fingers that we will have rain soon! But in the meantime, enjoying the sunshine.

        Liked by 2 people

  3. Henceforth when hearing the word ‘underpass,’ I’ll no longer envision graffiti tags and the homeless. Vancouver has the most amazing and creative urban arts installations, so thank you for sharing this with us. Knowing these exhibits are temporary is somewhat saddening. And I’d much rather see natural representations on all the concrete, but that’s just me. 😉

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I share your love of the feeling and look of concrete. To me, concrete is a symbol of strength and structure. This art installation introduces new art concepts that include blockchain and NFTs. At this point, I do not fully understand how this art form is created. Art has moved beyond paint, watercolors into technology. I’m uncertain as to what will happen after two years to Voxel Bridge. In the past, the installations have moved on to other cities. It will be interesting to see how they dismantle everything. Thank you for joining me under the bridge!! Sending many hugs your way.

      Liked by 3 people

    1. Oh, I am delighted that you joined the party, Paul. Here is what I have been thinking about lately. How will our mythologies translate and transform with technology. We are living in a pivotal time of transition, one foot in reality and another in the possibilities of the unknown.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank you for this historical review of one of Vancouver’s important sites. Time has changed much, the several important and progressively costly upgrades and, by all the valuable comments, extremely important to the bridge and to Vancouver. I was impressed by the beauty of the bridge, especially the underneath places that we do not see usually. All is so clean as we progress and the construction so really artfully done. We are currently in a different environment than that time a hundred years ago, for instance we are used to terms like NFTs! ! Again, thank you, your comments describe, so well, what time has changed and produced.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Cambie Bridge has seen Vancouver grow up around her! What a history! I was thinking of our last conversation on NFT’s when I was researching the background on Voxel Bridge. I do not fully understand how blockchain works, but it is something that will continue to evolve as we seek ways in which to integrate technology into our lives. We continue to learn, together!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Wow, that is so cool, Rebecca. I love it when people get creative. They always inspire me with their fabulous ideas. Why not creative a digital arts display under a bridge? Art can be ANYWHERE! Sadly, I’m with very limited internet (on vacation) and can’t view any videos here or on TT&T. I’ll have to catch up later. Thanks for the smile!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Ah, I was a user of the second iteration of the Cambie Bridge.
    I walked across it many times. I remember the steel.
    This installation for the newest iteration looks fab. It is very much of today, as was the one I had traversed. Of course the only art was the bridge itself.
    I’d like to say more about the art aspect, but I will wait. Seems I may be clinging to the past.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Talk about synchronicity, Rebecca. Here I am soon to take delivery of a piano with digital capacity and am so intrigued to start investigating all the technology with which it links. And, here you are writing about a bridge that will, with the aid of technology, invite the observer to witness progress of this amazing technological age right before their eyes. How exciting! We certainly live in progressive times.
    xoxoxo

    Liked by 2 people

    1. We live in a world that offers us fresh opportunities to explore creativity. I have often imagined how Bach or Beethoven would respond our time. I believe that they would be early adopters of technology. I read that Bach innovated with well-tempered tunings; he played with dissonance; he even tried out, late in his life, a new instrument called a pianoforte. As for Beethoven – he was one of the most innovative figures in the history of classical music. He widened the scope of the sonata, symphony, concerto and quartet! I think they would thrive in this new reality. So pleased about your piano with digital capacity. You are going to have lots of fun.

      Liked by 2 people

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