Polar Bear: Native to Vancouver by Tony Pantages

Polar Bear: Native to Vancouver by Tony Pantages
Dec. 5th - Dec. 18th, 2011
Press Release (pdf)
Watch the Video

10 Seconds continues to occupy the Canada Line. We the 99%, claim the Canada Line video screens to present the seventh public art project as part of a yearlong Vancouver 125 series. Take the plunge into Polar Bear: Native to Vancouver, a new video by Tony Pantages launching Dec. 5th - 18th, 2011.

Polar Bear: Native to Vancouver is a tribute to the annual Polar Bear Swim that takes place every New Year's Day in Vancouver. Started by Peter Pantages in 1920 with 10 members, this is the oldest and largest Polar Bear Swim and is the genesis of the worldwide Polar Bear Swim movement.

Tony is a third-generation Vancouverite and a filmmaker. With this work, he attaches a personal history to this public tradition. For half a century his grandfather, Peter, took his daily dip in English Bay 365 days a year through sun, rain, snow, sleet and hail.

The nine screen multi-frame collage depicts vintage scenes of this crazy and brave act that now attracts over 10,000 revelers who come to cheer the 2,000 who take the plunge into winter waters to become Polar Bears. Tony Pantages has created a visually poetic 10 Seconds. The narrative can be followed via the countdown of letters that spell POLARBEAR or the viewer can be led from frame to frame in any direction at will.

For Tony, this pays homage to his grandfather Peter, father Tony Sr. and uncle Basil who all appear in Polar Bear. Working with CBC archivist Colin Preston they uncovered news footage from 1954 and 1960. Looking at and hearing them speak from times before he was born has connected Tony cinematically to this annual family and public January 1 ritual.

The original 1954 and 1960 16mm negatives were salvaged from the CBC archives, carefully cleaned, digitally restored and re-mastered. These lost-in-time analog materials have been retrieved and preserved for future generations. Over the decades, tens of thousands have either watched or plunged into the icy waters or have seen this insanity on television. Check out Polar Bear: Native to Vancouver on our Facebook page to tag someone you know.

Tony Pantages is an extraordinary storyteller, avid Vancouver historian and award-winning commercial and music video director. A self described Viewsician, he also creates live visual mixes alongside the world's best DJs and musicians at some of the biggest music festivals in the world. Tony recently performed at the DXB Festival in Dubai, Coachella in California & the Ultra Music Festival in Miami. His short film Dovetale won Best In Category at the 2010 Toronto Urban Film Festival. Pantages is currently shooting a feature film Three Days in Havana with co-director Gil Bellows.

Polar Bear: Native to Vancouver Dec. 5th to December 18th on the Canada Line subway video screens and on Facebook and YouTube. A new work will be featured each month on the Canada Line April 2011 to March 2012, playing every 2 minutes to an audience of over 100,000 commuters per day. See previous projects Hippie Chick by Dana Claxton, Slash Forward by Michael Turner, One Percent by James Yan, Movement For Two Grannies by Laiwan, An Ode To Vancouver Hockey Fans by Jeff Chiba Stearns and Escape Velocity by Chelsea O'Brian on YouTube or at www.onmaingallery.com

10 Seconds is curated by Paul Wong and presented by On Main in partnership with InTransitBC. Commissioned by the City of Vancouver Public Art Program with the support of Vancouver 125 and the participation of the Government of Canada.

For further information please contact info@onmaingallery.com.

Press Release (pdf)

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