A view of the “I Spy a City” digital art show at Surrey’s UrbanScreen, on the west wall of Chuck Bailey Recreation Centre. (submitted photo: Brian Giebelhaus/Surrey Art Gallery)

A view of the “I Spy a City” digital art show at Surrey’s UrbanScreen, on the west wall of Chuck Bailey Recreation Centre. (submitted photo: Brian Giebelhaus/Surrey Art Gallery)


‘I Spy a City’ images flash on Surrey’s UrbanScreen this spring

Exhibit on the wall of Whalley building created by Flavourcel animation collective

The latest animated art show on Surrey’s UrbanScreen riffs on “I Spy,” the children’s game.

It’s the work of the Flavourcel animation collective, which invites audiences to “spy” the things that connect with them, including nearby shops, local ingredients, Surrey wildlife, popular sports and more.

Ten members of the collective created “I Spy a City” with rotating and looping animations, resulting in animated “pockets of life and connection within the social context of Surrey,” according to a project description on surrey.ca.

“Spinning SkyTrains soar over dancing streetlights, smashed skateboards, and swimming salmon, while pagodas, volleyball nets, and satellite dishes shiver and spin,” the event advisory explains. “The coldness of concrete and metal contrasts with the warmth of parks, food, and nature.”

It’s free to watch on the west wall of Whalley’s Chuck Bailey Recreation Centre, 13458 107A Ave., nightly after dusk until May 2. SkyTrain riders can see the digital-art screen while passing by, looking east.

During the run of the exhibition, members of the collective will re-mix “I Spy a City,” adding new animations while reconfiguring others, “ensuring that there will be plenty of surprises in store for repeat visitors to UrbanScreen.”

Also, Surrey Art Gallery will release a series of free instructional videos as part of its Art Together series of art-focused programs. Members of Flavourcel will show viewers how to make their own animations at home, including one-frame loops, basic digital animations, and traditional pencil and paper animation. The resulting videos will be shared on the city’s social media channels.

The award-winning UrbanScreen is billed as Canada’s largest, non-commercial screen dedicated to presenting digital artwork by regionally and internationally significant artists. The history of the venue is documented in the publication Art After Dark: 10 Years of UrbanScreen.

The Flavourcel collective involves the work of Harlo Martens, Kat Morris, Josh Neu, Julia Song, Alia Hijaab, Chhaya Naran, Gil Goletski, Laurel Pucker, Lana Connors and Chris Strickler. Their bios are posted to flavourcel.com/who.

“We work collaboratively to make short-form experimental animations that work to play with the contemporary narrative of what animation is, and what it could be,” says a group bio on the website. “We produce GIFs, music videos, installations, print media, and more. We are heavily settled in collective decision-making structures and we try to keep the collaborative spirit at the core of what we do as is the sharing and democratizing of resources.”

• RELATED STORY: Online conversation highlights Surrey Art Gallery show.

Meantime, at Bear Creek Park, Surrey Art Gallery continues to showcase “Facing Time,” group exhibit that focuses on the current moment of facial interfaces and increased digital activity.

The winter 2021 exhibit, drawn from the gallery’s permanent collection and from loans, opened Jan. 23 with the work of close to four dozen artists. It can be viewed until March 27 during pre-booked tours on select days (Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.). To book, phone 604-501-5566 (press 1) or email artgallery@surrey.ca.

Another winter exhibit at the gallery is “Art by Surrey Secondary Students,” an annual display of collages, drawings, and paintings from local teens.


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