Köbberling & Kaltwasser: The Games Are Open
Northwest corner of the Olympic Village
Southeast False Creek, Vancouver, Canada
September 2010 – of undetermined duration
As South East False Creek began its new life as Canada’s largest ‘green’ housing development, the Berlin-based artist team of Folke Köbberling and Martin Kaltwasser used materials recycled from the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games Athletes’ Village to create a situation of exchange and cooperation. On lands slated for future development, the artists created a 6 x 7 x 14m artwork that invited the participation of new neighbours to liberate the discarded, share excess, and contribute to the building of new forms and meanings.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is this?
In the Summer of 2010, Köbberling & Kaltwasser worked with a project crew, team of Emily Carr University of Art and Design students and other volunteers to create a sculpture from over 1,000 wheat board panels recycled from the neighbouring 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games Athletes’ Village. The sculpture took the form of a larger-than-life bulldozer — with shovel down, it faced the expanse of land awaiting future development on this South East False Creek site.
What is it made out of?
The sculpture is made from wheat board – an engineered composite panel of 94% finely ground wheat chaff and 6% MDI, methyl diphenyl disocyanate which is a formaldehyde free binding agent. The material is compostable. During construction, soil was added to some of the sculpture’s cavities to aid in the decomposing process.
How long did it take to make?
9 weeks. Construction was completed on September 10, 2010.
How long will it occupy the site?
The artwork has an undetermined end date. Exposed to weather, soil, and the passing of time, the wheat board construction is giving way to a process of gradual decomposition, its form providing fodder for new growth. Transitioning slowly from sculpture to plant nursery, the project’s bounty will be offered for transplanting throughout the future development. The City will be making decisions about the future of the old City works yard lands in coming years. In the meantime, the generative efforts of The Games are Open will be subject to economic, biological and social forces.
What will happen to it as it starts to break down?
Over time, the wind, rain and sun in combination with local plants, animals and fungi, will weaken the boards to the point of collapse. As they come apart and fall, more soil is being added to encourage further growth and transformation. Native plants are gradually self-seeding and through the efforts of the neighbouring “Grow” public art project (summer 2011), cultivated plants were also introduced.
About the Artists
Köbberling & Kaltwasser create situations that encourage the participation of diverse publics. Their work uses informal methods to make visible the transformation of begged, borrowed, donated, salvaged, and found materials into publicly used objects and spaces. They have exhibited extensively in Germany and internationally and were included in the 2009 Architecture Biennial in Sao Paulo and in the 2010 Poznan Biennial. Recent solo exhibitions include Power Plant / Chinati Foundation, Marfa; Galerie Anselm Dreher, Berlin; Ujadowski Castle CSW, Warsaw/PL; Architekturgalerie am Weißenhof, Stuttgart; Artforum Berlin; Lothringer 13/Laden, Munich; Simultanhalle, Cologne; and Shedhalle, Zurich. Recent works for public space include The Jellyfish Theatre in London’s city centre, Cars into Bicycles at Bergamot Station in Santa Monica, California and Trash Circulated, at the Werkleitz Festival.
Curator and Project Management
Karen Garrett de Luna
Project Leaders, Work Crew
Emma Artis, Miguel Da Conceicao, Gabe Daly, Jinhan Ko, Chelsea Trousdell, Desmond Wong
Volunteers, Work Crew
Neudis Abreu, John Armitage, Emma Artis, Matthew Ballantyne, Stewart Burgess, Neil Chung, Gabe Daly, Louis Douesnard, Sherry Gilbank, James Kemp, Christian Kliegel, Chad Manley, Dave Mason, Emilio Rojas, Michael Schwartz, Mike Taylor, Sandy Wang, Steve Williams, Antoni Wojtyra, Desmond Wong, Michael Zife
Emily Carr University of Art + Design Co-op Students, Work Crew
Lance Cardinal, Tony Charlie, Tom Hsu, Sanghyun Samuel Kim, Bahador Saray Sorour, Sarah Storteboom, Chelsea Trousdell, Shuai Zhao
Commissioned Text (website)
Holly Ward — Read Essay
Photo Documentation (ongoing)
Barbara Cole, Tom Hsu
British Columbia Arts Council
City of Vancouver
The Canada Council for the Arts
Partners in Education
Emily Carr University of Art + Design
Donors and Other Kind Souls
City of Vancouver
Eric Deis Studio
Millennium Development Group
PWL Partnership Landscape Architects Inc
Roberts & Stahl Barristers and Solicitors
Second City Printing
The Model Shop
Germaine and Ian
James and Daniel
Above and Beyond
City and Park Board Staff: Bob Chang, Charlie Cuzzetto, Tilo Driesen, Wally Konowalchuk , Manabu Koshimura, Allen Lee, Scott Hein, Bryan Newson, Alix Sales, Joe Snadel, jil p. weaving
Langara College: Centre for Art in Public Spaces Steering Committee, Katie Eliot, Eric Stewart and Sylvia Tan
False Creek [T & T]