Stop (genocide)


Michael Zeng’s The Stop is an installation of 10 stop signs – at least from the front – at Charlson Park and Vanier Park, Vancouver, Canada, as part of the Vancouver Biennale 2009, which take place September 2009 – June 2011. Apparently, the “stop” view is from the sea wall looking into the park. When you walk around the backside, however, the signs become pink and remind me of a Google map pin marking a photo op with the harbor in the background.

It’s amusing. It would probably make me stop, make me look, maybe even listen. What more do you want in your public art?

It’s probably not a fair comparison, but even though I never saw it in person, I have a powerful mind image of Hachivi Edgar Heap of Bird’s signs along the Mississippi River commemorating the death by hanging of 40 Native Americans in 1862 and 1865 in Mankato, MN.

According to the artist,

“As a sign of respect, forty Dakota-English, red lettered metal signs were exhibited originally in 1990 in the earth in the business zone of what was called the Grain Belt. This is a proud ‘historical’ districts of the city of Minneapolis and the state of Minnesota that houses the grain and flour mills, canals, and facilities to ship out the fruits of ‘American progress.'”

That would have made me stop, too, I think.

Listen to Clara Kim’s take on the project when she was a curatorial intern at the Walker Art Center.