If you walk by the Vancouver Public Library these days you’ll see that someone has piled two shipping containers on top of each other and put a sign that says "ContainR" in the doorway. If you’re alone and you’re a woman, you might hesitate to enter, unless your friend has already told you that movies will be playing inside. I shared the space with three young men, two of whom were wearing hoodies, but I was reassured by the large screen at one end on which male and female dancers (acrobats?) floated around in space. (Didn’t catch the name of this film but they are all listed on a sign outside the container). The next film, "Phoenix Dance" was about the dancer Homer Avila, who had his leg amputated at the hip but continued to dance—beautifully.
"Phoenix Dance" lasted 15 minutes, time enough to ponder how chilly one gets while standing inside a metal container on an early spring day in Vancouver.
"ContainR" is a part of a project to "provide affordable sustainable spaces for use by artists and cultural organizations, using recycled shipping containers as building components." Turns out that used shipping containers have nowhere to go when they retire so people are using them in interesting ways all over the world. I once bought fireworks from inside a container in Parry Sound, but that’s not nearly as interesting as the projects below:
- Container City, London
- Hostel in South Africa
- Redondo Beach house
- Keith Dewey - Victoria BC Residence
- Amsterdam Student Housing
- Adam Kalkin’s 12 container house
- Papertainer Museum, South Korea
After "Phoenix Dance" I watched black and white footage of Canadian figure skater Petra Berka, who was the first woman to land a triple jump (a triple salchow) at the 1965 Canadian Championships. Loved the footage of Petra being televised on one of those rounded rectangle-shaped TV screens that was typical of the ’50s.
Kurt Browning was up next, dressed like a hobo and dancing/skating with a broom, and suddenly I realized that I was getting too cold and late to stand around there any longer.
ContainR is open 10:00 am – 8:00 pm (closed Mondays) until March 1, 2009. Dress warmly or bring a space heater.