Commissioned by the City of Vancouver, Surface made the hidden world of False Creek visually tangible.
This live 24/7 video documentary brought the underwater world of False Creek to the surface, to observe what is
normally out-of-sight, out-of-mind.
Bowie brought the viewer beneath the surface to observe what is normally out-of-sight, out-of-mind. Surface was an
ongoing live (and thus unedited) documentary of the underwater life of False Creek - one of the most taken for
granted waterways in British Columbia.
As the Aquabus made its way from stop to stop (or alternatively when parked at its dock), live underwater images
were transmitted live to the internet from a camera mounted under the boat to surfacer.ca and also to an large LED screen mounted on the
side of a structure at Ocean Construction on Granville Island. There was also a small onboard screen on the designated
Aquabus and an additional screen at False Creek Community Centre in Vancouver.
False Creek, a tidal body of water, once had an abundance of with aquatic life, until it was heavily industrialized after colonization and until very
recently was heavily polluted. Aquatic birds and sealife are starting to make a comeback though still in relatively
low numbers. This is reflected in the live stream that often functions as an abstract mix of colours and impressions, sometimes tiny organisms,
or crustaceans or fish swim by. Once teaming with aquatic life, this body of water is showing recovery with an influx
of species, but at a time when our oceans are vulnerable to changes in temperature and oxygen levels. The future of the
underwater environment and what is manifest on the screen is wholly dependent on us: our collective historic and present
A Montreal company called Moment Factory, who designed the software and controlled the interactive systems for Nine Inch Nails
live shows among others, produced the software system for Bowie's project.
Globe and Mail
Georgia Straight, Fiona Bowie public art
Surface> is commissioned by the City of Vancouver, under the project section Marking and Mapping, through its Olympic
and Paralympic Public Art Program for 2010, where artists were invited to propose projects based on sites of their own choosing.
Many thanks for the generous support of Surface Project Partners:
and here ;
City of Vancouver
Emily Carr University IT
False Creek Yacht Club's Welcome Center
Concept, art work, project manager:
Software and system integration:
Moment Factory. Special thanks Dominic Audet, Hugo Desmeules, Vincent Pasquier, Pierre-Luc Brunet
Surface is installed on:
Special thanks to Jody Collins and Jeff Pratt who helped make this project possible.
Special thanks to Trevor Whike and Tony Randall who helped make this project possible.
Internet service provider: Emily Carr University
Special thanks to Chris Brougham and Ron Burnett
LED Screen location :
Special thanks to Dave Faber
Camera Hardware Installation(special thanks):
Radio mesh: Metro Mobile Radio
Electrics: Trevor Gibbons
City of Vancouver Project Manager:
Karen Henry (thank you)
© 2010 Fiona Bowie