Urban Video

Posted by on Mar 3, 2011 in projects

The Urban Video Collective is a project team of the Vancouver Design Nerds Society, a not-for-profit organization that facilitates interdisciplinary discussion and collaboration between designers, artists and the public.

Since 2005 the Nerds have been undertaking various public art and design projects, including large-scale, multi-channel video installation works. The Urban Video Collective includes architect Mark Ashby, filmmaker Hans Christian Berger and graphic designer Alex Grünenfelder, in collaboration with animators Phil Johnston and Richard Pearce.

Specializing in site-specific video installations, we create work that integrates with the built environment and responds to social, historical and architectural contexts in a manner that is both playful and insightful. Our goal is encourage a more imaginative perception of the urban world.

Following is a selection of our project work.


Factory is a site-specific video installation that takes a playful look at the industrial legacy of Vancouver’s Yaletown district and its recent transformation into a locale for design, fashion, gaming and communications businesses. Factory received the People’s Choice Award at the 2011 edition of the Illuminate Yaletown festival.

During the Illuminate Yaletown 2011 festival, Factory transformed the facade of 1060 Homer Street to reveal the mysterious origins of the purse-dog: a heart-warming story about the union of chihuahua and handbag. A large-scale, 5-channel video installation projected onto the Hamilton Street windows told the story Tuckfield & Sons, manufacturers of fine accessories for discerning ladies and gentlemen. During a 20-minute loop the entire production and sales chain of Tuckfield’s meticulous hand-crafted manufacturing were played out across several adjacent windows of a building facade. Like a glimpse into Willie Wonka’s Chocolate Factory, visitors were offered a peek into the inner workings of this establishment and also a chance to reflect on their own experience of the district. Although playful and humourous, in appearance Factory’s narrative addresses underlying issues of urban de-industrialization and the processes by which urban development is historicized.

Factory was produced in cooperation with the business tenants of the 1060 Homer Street and with the support of the Yaletown Business Improvement Association.

Illuminate Yaletown 2011 occurred over the “Vanlentine’s Day” weekend of February 10-12 and featured 21 light-based media art installations throughout Yaletown. As in previous years, the festival drew crowds from across the lower mainland. It is an initiative of the Yaletown Business Improvement Area produced in 2011 by The Fireworks Marketing Group.


Construct, Yaletown, 2009 by theVancouver Design Nerds was featured in the inaugural Illuminate Festival in 2009. Construct, is a site-specific installation utilizing multiple video sequences back-projected onto windows overlooking Hamilton Street in Yaletown. Utilizing a spare, cinematographic narrative structure, the piece investigated the mutually formative relationship between social interactions and the structures in which they are enacted.


CAW Coast-to-Coast is a large-format video projection produced for the 2009 Canadian Auto Workers Union convention. Live action silhouette footage depicting CAW trades is integrate into a 3D landscape to give an impression of the diversity of trades and the geographic scope of this trade union. Over the course of a 5 minute loop the camera traverses the CAW’s world.


Convention Centre is a site-specific installation developed for the grand opening of the Vancouver Conventon Centre in 2009. Five film-loop sequences were developed for installation in conference rooms and for integration into the event programming. Green-screen technology was utilized to capture and composite actors into vector-graphic scenes.


The Urban Video Intervention Project consists of a series of site-specific installation involving projecting forms and animations that play on the geometries of the physical space. The objective is to integrate the projections with the site in a way that creates an interesting visual counterpoint to the existing structures. The installation challenges visitors’ perceptions of the site and encourages them to consider this environment in a new light. These were some of our first experiments with video mapping. One of the first installations was at the Vancouver Law Courts and was part of 30 Days of Sustainability 2006.

1 Comment

  1. Nerding out with the Vancouver Design Nerds « Maker Faire Vancouver
    April 26, 2011

    […] more kinetic / industrial projects I’ve just mentioned, a project group within the Nerds known as Urban Video Collective have been creating large-scale, multi-channel video installation works. Specializing in […]


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