Friction Ridge by Emilie Crewe is an Artist-Initiated Public Art Project. Instead of the traditional approach where the City has already determined the site, this opportunity encourages a more grassroots approach to support artist-led initiatives and experimentation.
In late 2021, a Call to Artists was issued and three artists were shortlisted and invited to propose public artworks for City-owned spaces. Artists were encouraged to look at places where we gather and consider the impacts of the pandemic on how we meet, experience the world or relate to each other.
A Selection Panel awarded the opportunity to North Vancouver-based artist, Emilie Crewe who proposed an interactive LED installation on the façade of City Hall. Friction Ridge is mounted on six galvanized steel wire mesh frames. Three frames are installed on the front-facing overhang of the facade and three discreetly behind, creating a reflection on the windows of City Hall.
Featured prominently on the façade of City Hall, the project aims to connect the local community with their government officials through a real-time messaging system connected to LED light strips.
Composed to mimic the pattern of fingerprints, the project intends to honour individuality while also bringing awareness to the strength and tenacity of the peoples’ voice. The title of the artwork references the thick layer of skin on our fingertips called the “friction ridge”, while also signifying the location of the building atop a literal ridge, as well as City Hall being a place of “friction”, where town hall meetings, bills and bylaws come to pass. Friction Ridge is meant to bridge the gap between city officials and the public, forging a place for accountability, prospect, and possibility." - Emilie Crewe
Emilie Crewe is an interdisciplinary artist based on the unceded land known colonially as Vancouver, Canada. Her artwork often takes the form of multi-channel + single-channel video, installation, and new media. She holds an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and a BFA from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design University. Her work is exhibited internationally in galleries, museums, artist-run centres, experimental film/video festivals, and as public art.
This is a temporary public artwork and will be on view for six months.
Photo credit (night photos): Courtesy of the Artist.