Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Let Fury Have the Hour

On January 23rd Canada went to the polls for the second time in as many years. Although I did vote (at the advance polls) it was the first election that I've actually seriously considered abstaining from. This election seemed even more useless than the previous one; a huge waste of time, money and energy.

Our electoral system is deeply flawed. A political party can win a "majority" government with only 40% of the popular vote. It's no wonder that voters are increasingly becoming despondent and alienated from politics. Our politicians want to encourage the youth vote. But why should we vote when we have no means of ensuring our voice is adequately (or even mildly) represented on Parliament Hill?

Canada needs a radical overhaul of it's political system. We need to install a form of Proportional Representation like most of the rest of the civilized world. And as far as I'm concerned, the sooner the better.

So what does this all have to do with a sculpture on Parliament Hill?

At the start of this useless election I decided I should put up a sign outside my flat in centretown Ottawa. The sign had to represent my distain for all of the major parties and the sham of an electoral system they function under.

This blog represents the process of creating my sign/sculpture, which took place on Election night.

Scroll to the bottom and read each post to see the process in proper order.

3h30AM: It's final home

We decided not to leave the sculpture on the Hill proper, as we felt it might get removed too quickly. Instead we put it just outside the front gates, on the sidewalk. That was sometime around 3:30AM the morning after the election. I wonder how long it will stay up.

3AM: Some Artsy photos

2AM-3AM: Sleep Now in the Fire

We decided the best place for the sculpture was in front of the eternal flame on the Hill. This made for some sweet photos.

Jeff, warming up to democracy.

I decided it looked like we were really bashing the Liberals specifically by having the red sign on top. That was not the objective however, so I moved the Conservative sign to the top. More appropriate now.

1AM - 2AM; Parliament Hill

We move from the sidewalk up onto the hill. I decide our best bet is to simply ask the police officer on watch. She rolls down her window, and I explain we're two "art students" who want to take photographs of a sculpture on the hill. "Will that be a problem?" No problem, she says, and turns back to her computer.

Midnight - 1AM: What Would Che Do?

Initially I wanted to make this sculpture four weeks ago and leave it outside my apartment during the later half of the election. However this being election night I was far too late. I tested it in front of my apartment anyways. Not bad. But it could be in a better location.

Sometime after midnight I phone my friend Jeff. Jeff being the only one I knew in Ottawa who would be: a) still awake at midnight and b) possibly willing to make a trip to Parliment Hill with me. Jeff's new motto is "What Would Che Do?" so he felt this adventure was a must.

As we approach the Hill we see a police cruiser in front (as always, I guess). So we initally place the sculpture on the sidewalk in front of the hill. Jeff does the honors.

I pose for one as well...

11PM - Midnight: Improving the signs

Eventually I ran out of black spray paint and had to use tremclad... which smelled even worse, but still got the point across.

The skewer I tried to whittle didn't work so I ended up cutting holes in the middle of the signs to get them on the broomstick.

Shish-kebabs for all candidates.

10PM - 11PM: Gathering signs

The first step in making a good election protest sculpture is collecting signs. The safest way to get signs would be to go to party HQ and ask for some. However that's also the less fun way of getting signs.

Despite my political leanings I had to collect signs from all four major parties in my riding.

Tried to sharpen a broomstick with a dull swiss army knife. Not fun.

My paint of choice for tonight.