Slogans for the 21st century. (Douglas Coupland at the VAG).

Slogans 1One room of the Douglas Coupland exhibition at the Vancouver Art Gallery is covered with his “Slogans for the 21st century.” Two walls are partially shown above to give you an idea of the general appearance. Six or seven such walls offer a smorgasbord of food for thought, almost too much for the brain to digest, a cerebral overload echoing the WWW in microcosm.  Here is the gallery write-up:

Slogans 2

I was transfixed by this room, overwhelmed and hypnotized by the colours and text beyond context, but also wanting to explore the meaning of each and every aphorism presented. Some of these I absorbed immediately with gut felt understanding; others I needed time to explore. I will be sharing some of my individual favorites in this and future posts, alone, and also along with other text based works by Douglas Coupland. I will be very interested in your responses to these slogans (including those in my first photo above) as many refer to the ambiance in which we find ourselves as on-line bloggers. Here is the first:

DSC08254Is this true for you? Do you think this is generally true for many of us who blog on a regular basis? What did you do before you blogged? What would you do if, for some reason, you were unable to blog any more? Are we slowly but surely exchanging our physical, face to face, interpersonal relationships for electronic ghost friendships?

What do you think?

Please see my first post in this series for explanation.

Credits: thank you to Douglas Coupland and the Vancouver Art Gallery for images and wall descriptions.

All photos by clinock

16 thoughts on “Slogans for the 21st century. (Douglas Coupland at the VAG).

    1. Gary, go if you can, Coupland show is over on Sept 1. I have a membership and have visited many times this summer but always more to absorb. There are other superb exhibits including ‘Lost in the Memory Palace.’ This mixed media exploration of sound took me completely into another world…very, very powerful and filled with dreamlike beauty. I know it’s a bit of a trek for you but try not to miss these…

      Liked by 1 person

    1. And I tend to partly agree with your ‘initial response’ Steven. However, through repeated visits and reflection I believe that Coupland is addressing something larger than individual elements of the internet. I think he is posing questions and propositions about how the very presence of the internet in our lives has changed who we are and how we view our world. I will be interested to get your response to other ‘Slogans’ I have yet to publish….


  1. Understand how you were transfixed by this room. I think any one of the aphorisms would probably hold its own on an entire wall although the coloured grouping does add a whole lot of magic!!! Thanks again for sharing Coupland’s show.


    1. You are welcome as always Robert. Yes, the initial impression was stunning and it took awhile to focus in on individual slogans. Once I did however, it was first a challenge to choose which ones to capture and second, another challenge to debate possible meanings with my companion and others around us. Needless to say we were not always in agreement. This is the power of Coupland’s aphorisms, to provoke discussion and more than surface reflection.


      1. It was good that you were able to discuss them with others John. I’m always amazed how often a simple thought to us can generate completely different feelings or thoughts in another. It shows how complex we humans are.


  2. I’ve gone round and round on the virtual aspect of blogging, John … but always come back to the tool it is for creativity. As with any tool…it’s how I use it. I especially appreciate the creative spontaneity possible…the immediacy. I love the response in comments broadening and deepening my own perspective. The incredible synchronicity in a community of creatives. It’s a sand box … and anyone can play.

    I love the aphorisms, John. It’s a party listening to folks riding the frontier.


    1. I agree with you Jana, about all of the wonderful uses of this technology within our individual and particular creativities. My take on Coupland at this moment is that he wouldn’t disagree with you either. I think his approach is not that of a Luddite but of someone deeply immersed in the ocean of the internet. As an artist, writer and philosopher he is attempting to present and share his understanding of who we are now because of the internet as opposed to who we were before. You and I both remember the pre-internet age just as our grandparents remembered the pre-TV age. Each new technology changes our world. Coupland pushes us to be as objective as possible about the changes, much as Marshall McLuhan did about media in his day. Thank you for your thoughtful comment Jana…


  3. Such slogans always seem to have a truth, just because they slam you in the face, they are made more important in a way by highlighting them 🙂 But they are not always true for me, I think. Nice project! 🙂 x


    1. And not always truisms for many Ina, I understand that. I’ve always believed that the job of the artist is to rock the boat even though I am not a rocker myself. Coupland is rocking the boat, not to lull us to sleep but to keep us awake. I’m enjoying the conversations arising from these posts…x


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