Of Hunger, Homelessness, and Spectacle.


Performance/ Installation/ Public Intervention
Feb 14th - 21st 2010

Homelessness, has become Vancouver’s number one political, social and public embarrassment during the Olympics. Two years ago homelessness count identified 2,660 people who were homeless in the Metro Vancouver region, and the numbers keep growing. The performance/installation uses traditional forms of exhibition; a window display used in stores, and galleries to portray a fa├žade that can be then further explored inside. The “inside” will not be a physical space but the viewer’s mind and their own inquiries. How do they relate to this issue within their own behavioral, emotional and physical parameters? How do they treat the homeless? and what do they do as part of this society to improve the quality of life of those who are not as fortunate? Emilio Rojas feels a personal necessity to actively address these questions (being away from his home country and forced to be homelessness on several occasions) and further explore his connection to the spectacle of social activism and durational performances.

"A nation’s greatness is measured by how it treats its weakest members." Attributed to Mahatma Gandhi

An hour long looped projection of night shots; possible locations where homeless people sleep particularly on the downtown east side. Empty pedestrian canvases that become places of refuge during the night. Remaining inside of the gallery, and traveling the city with a shopping cart media station, recording in video different areas of the city during the Olympics. Reading poetry behind the glass, and offering to sell “not for sale” books. Literature dealing with homelessness issues, existential philosophy, ironical titles, and sarcastic traveler's guides.

During the entire duration of the piece, the artist will be taking over the “2010 Homelessness Hunger Strike Relay”. This Relay began December 29th, 2009 in Vancouver and it has been gaining momentum ever since. Over 70 volunteers have participated in a week long fast to raise awareness about homelessness. Calling for the re-establishment of a National Housing Program based on the One Percent Solution in Canada. Each week new volunteers take on the Wooden Spoon, which stands as a symbol of resistance. Of Hunger, Homelessness, and Spectacle is an attempt to create a dialogue, and surface questions about a social problem that has been placed last on the agenda of the government.

This project could not be possible without the support and collaboration of:

VIVO 2010: Safe Assembly http://www.videoinstudios.com/
Vivarium Gallery, http://vivariumgallery.blogspot.com/
The White Pillows Collective http://whitepillows.blogspot.com
Homelessness Hunger Strike Relay. http://www.2010homelessness.ca/
Am Johal, Lois Klassen, Jamie Griffiths, and Christopher Rodrigues