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Events, New Releases – April 4, 2013

Haiku Tracking

The 6th annual Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival kicks off today with Cherry Jam and Bing Thom Architect’s Haiku Tracking installation at the Burrard Street SkyTrain station downtown.

What if a balloon could tell the stories of its adventure? What did it see? Where did it go?

Haiku also captures these fleeting moments in time. They are placeholders in the memory of a poet. When a poet records these fragile experiences, the haiku holds them in a delicate rhythm. Observations of nature or contemplation on life are carefully presented through a deliberate cadence.

The Haiku Tracking installation gives the balloon the chance to tell its story through a haiku.

A large cluster of balloons will be located at one of the cherry blossom festival sites in Vancouver. The balloons create a helium filled canopy floating above the heads of festival-goers. Long ribbons hanging down from each balloon tempt the people passing through to take one of the balloons with them.

The people who take a balloon will find a small note attached high up the ribbon. The note contains a message encouraging them to record the final destination of their balloon. It might be at home, in the park, or they might report the tragedy of an encounter with a pine tree.

The note informs the participants of a webpage where they can write a haiku poem about the moment when the balloon lands and record the location of the final touchdown. The webpage will automatically drop a pin on a Google map creating a pattern of these haiku from all around Vancouver.

The best architecture is designed to give people an enhanced experience of place. Public art is made with a similar purpose but it interacts with people at a more intimate scale. Projects like Haiku Tracking give the designers at Bing Thom Architects the opportunity to have their ideas involve people in a direct and immediate way. The designers can directly witness the pleasure that they bring to their community by testing the flexibility of their designs beyond the walls of a building.