Stan Douglas

Vancouver Canada 1960, lives and works in Vancouver

Hogan's Alley
C-print mounted on dibond aluminum
157.5 x 310 cm

Stan Douglas’ black and white photographs relate to his film and video installations, particularly his ongoing examination of modernist legacies and socio-historical narratives. Frequently borrowing from popular culture and literary sources, he re-inscribes the pictorial conventions and genres of photography. Hogan’s Alley is a panoramic, bird’s-eye nightime view of postwar Strathcona that seems to glow as if projected on a screen.

Distilled from the artist’s online iOS app Circa 1948 - which constructs an immersive experience of Hogan’s Alley and the Hotel Vancouver—the digitally reconstructed scene blurs distinctions between artifice and realism. Digitally rendered with intricate historical accuracy, the image creates a hyper-real intensity through excessive detail, beyond what a camera lens can capture. The image is thus detached from its temporal grounding in a way that gives the past a place in the present, a common effect in Douglas’ artworks.

Research for the 3-D computer modeling of the mise en scene was based on an archive of photographs that surveyed this mixed race neighbourhood after it was slated for demolition in 1972 as part of the urban “renewal” that included construction of the Georgia Viaduct. Arranged by streets, every building is methodically recorded from different angles with blanks indicating empty lots. Based on historical research for Douglas’ cinematic stage production Helen Lawrence, a multimedia film noir thriller, his new works allude to social tensions that still exist today.