Tag Archives: Doug Setter

Challenge yourself for Covenant House

I received this news release from longtime friend and colleague, Doug Setter of 2nd Wind Body Science. He is asking people to raise awareness about Covenant House, an organization, located in Vancouver, Canada, which provides shelter and other services for homeless kids, by participating in a 6-week fitness programme that he will lead.

Challenge yourself for those who face challenges every day.

On October 11, a group of selected people will be competing to raise awareness for Covenant House. The competition? Get through 12 sessions with Doug Setter’s boot camp. Setter is a former real life army boot camp instructor who has trained hundreds of both civillian and military recruits since 1984. “The idea is not to break people’s spirits,” says 53 year old Setter, who also instructs Pilates, kick-boxing and yoga. “We want to teach them to believe in themselves and their buddies. They often have no idea what they are really capable of.”

Setter, in co-operation with Convenant House, wants to raise awareness of young people’s daily struggles on the streets of Vancouver. “If you think a few crunches are a challenge,” comments Setter. “Try scrounging food and shelter while dodging muggers and sexual predators.”

Convenant House’s development officer, Mark Savard reports that for the past 13 years they have provided over 14000 young people with shelter, food, clothing, counseling or just a safe night’s sleep. “90% of our funding comes from private donations,” states Savard.

Logistics and details:

Six weeks (Oct. 11 through to Nov. 17, 2011 inVancouver.

Up to 30 people.  Tuesdays and Thursdays 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.

$50 for t-shirt, prizes and donation to Convenant House.  That is 12 sessions.

The twice-a-week event is outside, rain or shine.

LocationTo Be Confirmed.  (Kitsilano Beach, Alexander Park or Jericho Beach)

Training is Cardio Kick-Boxing (by former welter weight competitor), Pilates and military team building.  It is safe, effective, fun and guaranteed to increase posture, strength, stamina, flexibility and trim in those problem areas.  Greater flexibility after the first class almost always occurs for the participants.

Prizes include Spa Treatments and restaurant gift certificates for the most improved and top students.

Details from Doug Setter, BSc. at 778-837-3528 and e-mail:   [email protected]

Doug Setter has studied Food and Nutrition, Behavioral Psychology and Eating Disorders. His training has included, weights, aerobic dance, martial arts, yoga, pilates and outdoor survival. He’s the author of three books: Stomach Flattening, Reduce Your Alcohol Craving and One Less Victim: A Personal Protection Guide.

Sept. 26, 2011 Note:  In the sentence directly after it is first mentioned, I removed a second reference to Doug’s BSc .

Birthday balloons, runners that were clothed, and broccoli prints: Martin Creed show at the Rennie Collection

There were balloons everywhere and all of them pink. It was a sea of peppermint candy pink and a childhood fantasy being realized until I got to the part where there were too many balloons, someone in front of me, and a couple of guys (who had hoisted themselves onto some sort of ledge) pushing the balloons back at me as I tried make my way out toward the door at the other side of the gallery. In addition to a mild bit of sudden claustrophobia, I found the scent of the rubber/latex balloons overpowering. I went from “Wow, this is fun!” to “Get me the hell out of here. Now.” in less than five minutes. Thankfully I did not have to struggle long to make my way out the door. (Trying to open the door without letting a bunch of balloons escape was impossible. I was very concerned about my balloon fugitives but noticed that no one to have managed it successfully.)

Shortly after exiting the balloon room enough of us had gathered to form a tour group for the new Martin Creed Show at the Rennie Collection. I believe this was the first public tour for this and the age demographic for this group was markedly different from previous Rennie Collection tours I’ve been on. It was much younger. If you include a few oldsters, the average age was probably about 28 or 29. The last three shows ,the average in a tour group (admittedly a smaller group) would probably have been about 48.

As we gathered, we were exposed to the first of the runners. One of the pieces consists of a team of runners making their way, one at a time at varying intervals and at top speed, through the gallery. Frankly, I thought they should have been naked. Much more classical in tone.

(Side note: A friend of mine, Doug Setter, was running in the piece [no. 850] this last Saturday, May 28, 2011. Interestingly, the runners are being asked to wear Lululemon clothing [apparently they are a sponsor] or plain clothes, i.e. clothes without logos. If you run on three different days (over a period of four hours each time), you get some Lululemon gear. Runners are expected to complete a circuit through the galleries within a specific time limit.)

There is a camera in the large gallery on the 2nd floor so the form which, for the last three shows was an insurance waiver, must include a release for the videos they’re making (I hadn’t bother to read it since I’d signed it so many times already). There was no explanation on the tour of what they would be doing with the video, if anything. (Note: It was the tour guide’s first tour and she did confess to being quite nervous. I wouldn’t have guessed as she concealed it quite well.) [Please see the editing note at the end of this review.]

Upstairs on the 2nd floor and in addition to the camera, there are the broccoli prints (No. 1000). Yes, Creed massacred bunches of helpless broccoli to dip them into paint and then press them onto a piece of paper. Each paint colour is pure, i.e., there was no mixing to change the tint, and each broccoli print is made from a unique piece of broccoli.  There’s also a crumpled up ball of paper in a glass case. Not part of the broccoli series, it is another art piece. I understand that if you purchase this, you receive instructions on how to crumple it. [Please see the editing note at the end of this review.]

In the next room framed pieces of papers of different colours line the wall and there’s a series of metronomes on the floor all ticking loudly at slightly different paces. The last room on this floor hosts a video of people throwing up. According to the tour guide, this is Creed’s way of reminding us we have bodies and that the art experience is as much physical as intellectual. He has done other videos that focus on bodily fluids for that very reason. Interestingly, Mona Hatoum, the first artist given an exhibition at the Rennie Collection, has also worked with bodily fluids for much the same reason.

I don’t think the artists need to remind gallery goers that they are physical, as well as, intellectual.  Think of it, most painters/sculptors/dancers have to develop skills and use their bodies to make their art. It’s the artists who have the problem. Neither Creed nor Hatoum produce work that requires much physicality or skill on their part.

Conceptual artists like Hatoum and Creed get an idea and either get a skilled artisan to carry out their vision or, it’s something so simple (broccoli prints?), anyone could do it.

(Getting back to the tour) On the roof top where we went next, we paused to view Creed’s neon sign (No. 851), EVERYTHING IS GOiNG TO BE ALRIGHT, which is on permanent display. If you look east from the roof (for the next week or so), you’ll see a huge flowering lilac tree about one or two blocks overs. It’s so big it towers over buildings in that area. There’s something quite special about being on a grassy roof in downtown Vancouver.

No. 372, the banging piano in the basement was one of the last pieces we viewed. It’s a grand piano that’s been wired to bang itself shut.

There are no titles to Creed’s pieces, just numbers. According to the tour guide, Creed wants to imbue the pieces with the democracy of numbers. It seems like a pretty exclusive democracy since there are no negative numbers, fractions, percentages or decimals (which means no Pi). Plus, he’s never used one or two in his numbering scheme which he started at the number 3. It seems less like less like he’s going for democracy (unless it’s the kind where only men vote [that's how democracy started in Athens, a city state of ancient Greece, only male citizens got to vote] and more like the anonymity of numbers to me.

Using numbers in this way frustrates the tendency to create a story, which sets up an interesting tension. In a way, these pieces are all story and no art. How do you sell or for that matter own a piece which consists of pink balloons (Creed gave Rennie the choice of buying either brown or pink)  in a room? Anyone could get a few hundred or more pink balloons, fill them with air or some sort of gas, and put them in a room. For that matter, anyone could take a piece of paper and crumple it up into a ball. The distinguishing feature about these pieces is the story about them.

On the way out, I made my way through the balloons again as I wanted to open the door without having any balloons escape. Sadly, I was not successful but I’m glad I tried.

ETA June 2, 2011: I received an email from the Rennie Collection tour guide where she kindly advised me of an error regarding the crumpled ball of paper and provided additional information about the videotaping in the 2nd floor gallery. Thank you for reading the review and adding to my knowledge of one of the works and the videotaping situation.

I wanted to correct a mistake, made entirely on my part, regarding Work No. 652, A sheet of paper crumpled into a ball. I was under the impression that this and Work No. 880, A sheet of U.S.l Legal Paper, were purchased as whole pieces of paper and then ‘carried out,’ so to speak, here. This is not the case. Both works were done by Martin himself, and were shipped to the Rennie collection in their final stages, complete with plinths. Additionally, Martin will often do a number of attempts at these works before he is contented with the shape and form of the piece. I apologize for the misstep and the misdirection.

Also, the taping that was being done during the tour was both for archival/documentation purposes and to send to Martin and his gallery. We’ll likely put various versions of it on our website in the future.