As certain artistic practices continue to emphasize the gesture over the object, similar tendencies can be found in the creation and implementation of public art, with monuments and billboards giving way to flash mobs and crowdsourcing. At their worst, participatory art projects resemble slapdash work parties. However, when they get it right, one wonders why there are not more of them.
Among the more intriguing public artworks of late is For All Is For Yourself. Led by Dr. Cameron Cartiere, who instigated the interdisciplinary chART Collective for a project in Vancouvers Marpole neighbourhood last year, the aim is to convert neglected greenways and brown-field sites into native pollinator pastures using public art as the driving force for positive sustainable environmental change.
For this exhibition, Cartieres project unfolds over three phases. The first involves community members making seed paper from recycled sources. In the second phase, a colony of 10,000 laser-cut bees are produced and exhibited in the gallery. In the final phase, half of the exhibited bees are made available to the public to plant in gardens of their own, with the potential to create new bee-friendly habitats.
Paralleling the work of Cartiere et al. is another bee-themed project: an ongoing jasna guy silk drawing that marries William Morris design with the occultism of Aleister Crowley.