Vancouver, BC
Sunset Beach west, near foot of Broughton Street Vancouver AIDS Memorial since 1 December 2004
996 names
In conversation with Bruce Wilson
What project are you most proud of?
The Vancouver AIDS Memorial. I won the commission in an open competition to sculptors, artists and designers around the province. Arthur Erickson ~ my lifelong hero~ chaired the jury and voted for my entry. It was an unpopular project at the time ~ fuelled mainly by homophobia ~ and it was a struggle that required tireless commitment by all those involved. My proudest moment was at the unveiling where I was asked to speak about my experience in completing the project.
I have to say that your “Aids Memorial Installation” in Vancouver I believe it is one of your most beautiful works. It was really interesting to see something modern, minimal and clean looking depicting a message of hope. How did you arrive at the design that became your end result?
It was a strange and wonderful process ~ the brief was simply that it had to be a names memorial and there was no site chosen. Feeling under pressure to address such an important task, I looked to a playwright friend who had passed away from the disease. He spoke to me in a dream. He told me that it had to be about the names, removed. I knew it had to be indestructible and would be subject to vandalism and graffiti. For this, I chose a bridge-building material called Cor-ten ™ steel, which develops a protective coating of rust. Graffiti could be pressured-washed away and I design the panels and footings to withstand extraordinary forces. The names were water-jet through the steel, giving the otherwise opaque material a diaphanous quality, and creating an interesting light play. Photo © Bruce Wilson Meade Design Group Blogger

30 January 2009
Bruce Wilson, Vancouver