Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Liberty Village Benchmark Inaugural Benches

The Benchmark program, introduced in my last blog, was initiated in 2005 with the unveiling of the first three benches themed onthe past, present and future of Liberty Village. The two which represent past and present are located near Lamport Stadium on Fraser near Liberty Street. They are benches B and C on the map. The one representing the future is on Liberty Street just around the corner from the other two and it is identified as bench A on the map.

Bench A is titled "Interval Bench" and it is the creation of Jess Perlitz who lives and works in Liberty Village. In the media reports I read it was said to be inspired by Marshall McLuhan. Featured with the bench is a set of "talking tubes" which sit on either side of the bench and are joined underground so that one can talk to the person on the other side of the bench through them. Certainly an interesting statement that two folks sitting side by side need an aparatus to talk to one another. Reminds me of the office sending an email to a guy sitting in the cubicle one over.

I wondered what particular Marshall McLuhanism inspired this artist. And since it is called the Interval Bench, I thought it somehow should relate to this McLuhanism:
Darkness is to space what silence is to sound, i.e., the interval.
But try as I may I cannot make sense of that McLuhan quote with this bench, so perhaps not. I looked a bit further at some other McLuhan quotes.

Does it relate to:
As technology advances, it reverses the characteristics of every situation again and again. The age of automation is going to be the age of 'do it yourself.'

or was it:
Art is anything you can get away with

( I hardly think so, this is not so outrageous, but I couldn't help but throw this into the mix.)

I think the quote regarding technology is the appropriate McLuhanism to relate to this work. The talking tubes are a primitive means of communication and yet this is supposed to represent the future. If you think about fibre optics communications technology it is as simple as these "talk tubes" and we use it to communicate with folks who often are not too far away.

The other thought I took away from this work is that although we sit side by side, our future selves may become so dependant upon technology for communication that we need devices to communicate with those who may be sitting on the bench just beside us.

What do you think?

To read the next blog in the Benchmark series go here.

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