Story = Community
What we believe brings us together—or tears us apart.
Two projects, morph and Unbelievable, immersed visitors in an exploration of story, place, community, and identity.
Come Together and Think About Change
morph declared that the Vancouver Public Library is an institution attempting to transform itself and deepen connections to community. The project is an invitation to Vancouverites to come together and think about what change means to themselves, their city, and their region.
Transformation is central to the stories we love. Tales of transformation can be personal, institutional, urban, and global. A frog becomes a prince. A man turns to stone. Land becomes property. morph’s focus on people and places in transition offers tales of Vancouver and British Columbia that encompass metamorphosis, mutation, and growth.
morph asks visitors to act: write on a postcard a message from the perspective of a transformative artifact in the exhibition; rename a street that borders the library block; express an opinion about the dramatic, ongoing transformation of the library’s neighborhood; turn a piece of paper into an origami frog; read a book about change; and respond to one of twelve calls to action depicted on bookmarks. The library can quantitatively and qualitatively evaluate participatory contributions and and share them publicly.
Relationship-building was essential to the success of morph. Partners included individual artists, historians, community members and some of Vancouver’s largest cultural institutions The project represents the city’s diversity of talent and knowledge, ranging from scientists to sculptors to geologists to tattoo artists to animators to historians to demolition experts. More than two dozen institutions, companies, and individuals contributed to the exhibition—not counting the numerous animations and videos. morph laid the foundation for long-term mutually beneficial partnerships that, if nurtured, will be transformative for the institution. The project resulted in the library‘s articulating its value in a new way: as a resource for Vancouverites to change themselves and their communities.
The exhibition design enabled very quick installation and flexibility for future reconfiguration, thanks to Principle Architecture.
Presented at Vancouver Public Library, 2018-19.
The Power of Story
We live in a post-truth world: fake news, shifting identities, reality shows, alternative facts, and knowledge denial: climate change, evolution, the holocaust, vaccinations . . . On the occasion of Canada’s 150th anniversary and Vancouver’s 150+, the Museum of Vancouver brings some of the city’s most valuable treasures out of the vaults. And tells some stories.
Unbelievable explores what each of us knows and believes—and how we know it and why we believe it. Or don’t. This project links a white-hot contemporary issue to the heat of the museum’s wide-ranging collections and its power to bring diverse audiences together.
North Americans identify museums as one of their most trusted institutions. So who better to plunge people into the narrative struggles behind identity and community? Unbelievable spotlights fantastic objects, some of immense significance and rarity, as it immerses visitors in the amusing, confusing worlds of Indigenous culture, urbanization, history, innovation, and politics. Its three sections focus on story versus story; symbols as reflectors of community; and institutions that guard the narrative foundation of free societies.
Dreicer conceived Unbelievable and developed it with a team that included curatorial collaborators Sharon Fortney and Hanna Turner. HCMA Architecture + Design created an environment that brought to life the colorful, refractive world of story.
Presented at Museum of Vancouver, 2017.