Shimmer Time by Aliya Orr

“I hope the work inspires people to take a minute off their screens and to take in the world around them. The small details: subtle shifts of light, subtle shifts of colour. These small things that transform the world around us.” Artist Aliya Orr

“Shimmer Time” by Montreal-based artist Aliya Orr

Shimmer Time,’ a 90-metre sculptural light artwork was unveiled at the Lonsdale Quay Bus Exchange in the City of North Vancouver on June 30, 2021.

The shifting lights that move along the undulating paneled sculpture welcomes SeaBus riders to North Vancouver. Hidden lights above the panels are on a 12 minute looped sequence, reflecting the average crossing between Vancouver and North Vancouver.

The sculpture has been treated with a light-reactive holographic pigment that mirrors and symbolizes sunshine reflecting over the water.

“Shimmer Time” by Montreal-based artist Aliya Orr

It was late morning when I first viewed “Shimmer Time.” Between bus movements, I captured the lights scattering across the panels. I felt a meditative quality amidst the energy of a world in transit. The ebb and flow of movement, the dynamics of change, the state of impermanence.

“Shimmer Time” by Montreal-based artist Aliya Orr

Published by Rebecca Budd

Lifestyle Blogger, Visual Storyteller, Podcaster, Traveler and Life-long Learner

66 thoughts on “Shimmer Time by Aliya Orr

    1. Aliya Orr is a remarkable artist, Jean Jacques. I added a link to her video in the post so that you could hear her design thoughts. The City of North Vancouver completed a huge upgrade to the SeaBus terminal. I am delighted that they included a public art installation.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for meeting up at the Lonsdale Bus Exchange, Robbie. I agree – very clever indeed. I did some research on the artist and found her work in “Light Society,” which is a collaboration between artists Aliya Orr and Sakchin Bessette. They explore the intersections of art, science, and mysticism. They have a Vimeo channel that features older videos. They are dynamic duo. Here is a quick video that I think you will enjoy: https://vimeo.com/276305880

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      1. It does look like plastic doesn’t it? I was very interested in the type of holographic materials that Aliya Orr used, but all I could find was a “unique holographic material” that is activated by the light sequence positioned above. I understand that she drew inspiration from her experience of watching the changing dynamics of the water while crossing between North Vancouver and Vancouver. Thank you for travelling to my side of the world. Hugs!

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      2. What I most appreciate about the evolution of art is the diversity. Each nation, culture and community adds to the overall story of artistic expression. Street artists have been a powerful force for bringing art to where we live, play and complete ordinary daily tasks. I foresee more of this type of art in the coming years. We now have the introduction of Ai and the NFTs. Art never stops – the art story adds more chapters every day. Truly exciting.

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      3. Hi Rebecca, we do have different art here. There are a lot of wonderful paintings [I think I shared some on my blog once], needlework and beaded artwork. The story of the IXam bushmen is recorded in the most beautiful quilts which are hung on the walls of the museum. I will share one of these artworks for my next Dark Origins post. I also bought to applique cushion covers made by the remaining people of this lost tribe. They are now intermixed with other tribes. I will post a picture of those too.

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    1. Alongside the hidden lights above, the light shifts on the panels are enhanced by the lights of buses that move past the sculpture. Over the past years, I have seen a great deal of interest in public art within our city. Vancouver’s growth in population and limited land area has challenged city planners to explore options in which to enliven where we live. This can be seen in the art installation on our Skytrain Stations and Bus Exchange hubs. Thanks for travelling over to my side of the world.

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    1. No meditation for the bus drivers!!! I admire our bus drivers, Margaret. They keep us moving from point A to point B, and answer a great deal of questions (especially from me). As for walking close to the sculpture – it is rather tricky because of bus traffic on the road between the waiting area and the sculpture. I am delighted you joined me at the Bus Exchange.

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    1. Aliya Orr is an extraordinary artist. I understand that she travelled back and forth on the SeaBus several times and was inspired by the sunshine shimmering on the water. I am assuming that these voyagers were when the sun was shining! LOL. The water becomes even more mysterious when clouds threaten rain (which is quite often as we are in a rainforest. My first purchase when we moved to Vancouver was an umbrella….. but I digress) I was amazed the the sheer size of this sculpture. It is the first thing that comes into view when you exit the SeaBus Station. Many thanks for taking the trip to my side of the world. Hugs!!!

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Humans love shiny, shimmering things. So of course, I had to look up why this was so. What I found is that scientists note “that findings show that our preference for shiny things is linked to our need for water. They believe that every person’s preference for shininess has deep evolutionary roots and that we are attracted to things that serve a purpose for fulfilling our innate needs.’https://pchrome.com/psychology-mans-attraction-shiny-objects/

      Who knew!!!??? It seems that Aliya Orr understood this profound need. Love our artists!

      Liked by 4 people

  1. Dear Rebecca,
    thanks for showing this work of art. Everyday life produces art, albeit in a very alienated way.
    With big hugs 🤗 and 😘 love to you all
    The Fab Four of Cley
    🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Many thanks for travelling to my side of the world. Your words – “everyday life produces art, albeit in a very alienated way.” You have given me something to think about in the week ahead. What I most appreciate about public art is that is comes to us in the everyday of our lives – to the streets where we work and conduct ordinary tasks. This sculpture is for everyone that travels by public transit. It is not for a select few. Neither is it hidden in a museum’s archival closet for lack of exhibition space. Public art is risk – risk from the elements and from vandalism. To me, they are a symbol of courage. Sending hugs and lots of love to my dear friends, the Fab Four of Cley!!!🤗🤗🤗🤗

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    1. You are very kinds, Liz! I was looking up why public art was essential and was not surprised to find that public art adds enormous value to the cultural, aesthetic and economic vitality of a community. When we arrived at Waverley Station, Edinburgh, back in 2015, the first thing that I noticed was that every where I looked there was a quote by Sir Walter Scott to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Sir Walter Scott’s novel, Waverley (I finally figured out that Waverley Station was named after Waverley, the book.) It was a magnificent tribute and I ran around the entire station taking photos, which reminds me I must look for those photos!

      What I most appreciate about Public Art is the symbolism that invites us to pause and reflect, to realize that moments, no matter how ordinary they seem, are truly extraordinary.

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      1. Haha I’m the same. We really should climb it some time, as well as the Wallace Memorial near Stirling (although that is much more of a challenge than Scott’s!!)

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    1. Thank you, Dave for joining me at the Bus Exchange. The quote has a link to a video featuring Aliya discussing what influenced the design of the sculpture which I found very interesting. Vancouver has taken on public art to the extent that it asked local artists to submit their applications for utility box art. Yes – utility boxes. I have been taking photos of these utility boxes over the past couple of years. I just learned that there are calls for proposal for “The Wall” that came out this past week. https://ourcityourart.wordpress.com/2022/01/24/call-for-proposals-for-the-wall-2/

      I’ll be following this closely. What I appreciate about public art – it belongs to us all! And that gives me great comfort!

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    1. I agree – the shifting lights suggest constant change and a state of impermanence. Lower Lonsdale was a hub of activity in the early 1900’s. At that time, it was the marine industrial hub for Vancouver, hosting the largest shipyard in Canada. That time has long past, replaced by an urban landscape of condos, markets and shopping. But if you go back further, for millennia the ancestors of the Squamish, Tsleil-Waututh and Musqueam peoples harvest Burrard Inlet for fish, shellfish, seaweed and plant material. Time moves ever on, and so do we…. Thank you for joining me at Lonsdale Bus Exchange.

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    1. I agree, Alaedin, Shimmer Time brightens the entire tunnel of grey concrete. It is the continuous motion that attracts our immediate attention. I was amazed by the length – it covered the entire wall of the tunnel. I came at a relatively quiet time when all the buses had just left. Yes, I missed my bus, but it turned out to be a great time to take photos. It was a serendipitous moment. Many thanks for stopping by…

      Liked by 3 people

    1. I agree wholeheartedly, Miriam, that cities must embrace public art as a way to invite meaningful dialogues. I read a very interesting article that confirmed that over the past 2 years, throughout the Covid19 pandemic, stories on the importance of public art are being spread globally. Galleries and museums have made every effort to connect to the community, but they were curtailed by restrictions. Public art, on the other hand, comes to us where we are. Many thanks for your visit and comments. Sending hugs!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Public art is the best way to reach the general audience to educate their appreciation of art, Rebecca. I read the news during the first year of pandemic that many museums were closed. How sad.

        The neighbors on our left and right got Covid. The girl on the right got exposed in the classroom. The couple on the left is recovering. I’m glad they’re not seriously ill.

        Take care and be safe. Hugs to you! ❤

        Liked by 2 people

  2. Just the title itself, “Shimmer Time” sends shivers of delight down one’s spine 🙂 I believe great art should evoke emotions, or help us see something in ourselves or in our environment that we haven’t seen before. Looks like this did it, how can you beat “I felt a meditative quality amidst the energy of a world in transit. The ebb and flow of movement, the dynamics of change, the state of impermanence.”? Thank you for introducing this to us!

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      1. You read me like an open book: I not only enjoyed it, I found it FASCINATING — thank you for sharing it! That may go a long way to explain how our ancestors’ decided that gold and diamonds are the things they need to acquire?

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  3. Another beautiful place in Vancouver, and an unlikely place, I guess, a bus terminal. Your video shows so clearly the shimmering, bright moving lights coming from the walls down into the walkway, a good example of ‘Shimmer Time” It is good to see Vancouver embracing another of its outstanding places of Art. Thank you for the video, really very descriptive, showing very well the shimmering lights. This must be a great change for bus drivers from the dull streets and bus stops.

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  4. “Shimmer Time” This is truly a treat offered to us on the lengthy walkway along these shimmering walls in North Vancouver. Thank you for posting the video. The passengers that ride the buses must treasure the sight from the windows and I’m sure will take time to watch the moving, bright and colorful lights as they move on their way. These colorful moving lights are found in lower Lonsdale. but there are many other outstanding art works in North Vancouver. As has been mentioned above, these places of beauty have been important places of joy during this pandemic.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you Diana for your lovely comments. I was exploring why public art is so available in Vancouver. Wikipedia gave me this information:

      “Large portions of public art in the city – located in British Columbia, Canada – are funded by the provincial and federal government. Up to 1% of the budget of a building can go towards the construction of public art.”

      I just received a notification that in 2022, Vancouver has commissioned 23 emerging and established Vancouver, xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), and Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) Nations based artists to create pieces that reflect the complexities of the COVID-19 pandemic, which we will present on platforms across Vancouver until November 2022. So when the sunshine comes out (still raining here) I will be visiting these platforms. I hope that you will join me, even if it may only be virtually. Sending many hugs!

      Liked by 2 people

    1. I knew you would enjoy Shimmer Time, Resa! The Bus Exchange is under concrete where very little daylight comes through. What better place to position Shimmer Time. Art transform ordinary spaces, and reminds us that creativity speaks to the soul no matter where we are.

      Liked by 2 people

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