Happy Smiling Buildings? – Subtle Signs Of A Distorted Vancouver RE Market In An Olympic Children’s Book

Imagine that you are an artist illustrating a children’s book. The story involves three magical, animated creatures adventuring around British Columbia in preparation for a big sporting event. You decide to portray some creatures and objects as having human emotions, by giving them smiley faces. The story is set in places of great natural beauty: the seas, the beaches, the forests, the slopes, the campgrounds. The creatures (a ‘sea-bear’, a ‘sasquatch’ and an ‘animal garden spirit’) are rooted in folklore that reveres nature. The year is 2010, the world is preoccupied with the environment. . It would be natural for you to animate the mountains, trees, oceans, islands… right? Well, yes, maybe you would, if all else were equal. If, however, you were living in a society obsessed with its profoundly over-inflated real estate market, you’d be moved to animate the buildings. Yes, the buildings. See below for the animated entity scorecard. Trees 1; Highrise Buildings 27. Subtle point? Perhaps. But a preposterously distorted real estate market does effect a society in innumerable subtle ways. -vreaa

From ‘Miga, Quatchi and/et Sumi’: ‘The Story of the Vancouver 2010 Mascots’ by MEOMI (Vicki Wong and Michael Murphy) –

Entities With Smiley Faces Scorecard:
Seaweed 7
Starfish 1
Octopus 1
Mushrooms 7
Bridges 2
Trees 1
Highrise Buildings 27

Excerpt – “The glass buildings of Vancouver shimmered with light…”

7 responses to “Happy Smiling Buildings? – Subtle Signs Of A Distorted Vancouver RE Market In An Olympic Children’s Book

  1. That illustration’s creepy.

    Well, I guess it’s not without precedent locally– in the first season of the X-Files, they gave a building (the Burnaby Library, near Metrotown, IIRC) artificial intelligence, and it started killing people…

  2. The buildings represent the city and its population. I think this is good.

  3. Check out the building that is not rain screened holding up an umbrella!

  4. I would like to point out that not all of them are smiling, the one beside the unbrella building is frowning due to the drips from his neighbour.

    Symbolic of the way that the owners of newer buildings think of the owners (or renters) of older buildings maybe?

    Perhaps the olympics were all just a front to advertise vancouver RE subliminally?

  5. Or maybe there’s no subtle message and the people thought it would be cute if there were smiling buildings. What artist doesn’t want to personify buildings? Granted, they’re a little creepy, but really, it’s a children’s cartoon, I highly doubt there’s some “deep hidden message.”

  6. Jackie -> Thanks for the comment.
    I suspect that some will challenge your rhetorical question: “What artist doesn’t want to personify buildings?” I suspect that many (most?) artists don’t.
    Besides, if you really have a strong urge to personify inanimate objects in BC, why not mountains? Or clouds? Or more trees?

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