Documentation of Public Artworks:
AutoCad Architectural Mockups by Hannah J. Newton

SUBSTRATE, 2021 | Concept Proposal Stage // Shortlisted Artist
(Broadway Subway Project // Translink + City of Vancouver)


SUBSTRATE is a site-specific digital LED installation featuring animated video content of abstracted local lichens species. The artwork is driven by real-time CSV data supplied by public web forums analysing climate change and weather (* i.e. Climate Atlas of Canada, Environment and Climate Change Canada, NAVCanada and The Meteorological Service of Canada). The information collected from these sites, such as air quality and temperature, are used as variables that inform the LED visual display screens located in the Broadway-City Hall Subway Station (as proposed - not selected). As the data changes, the artwork onscreen fluctuates, oscillates and transforms elements such as colour, texture, tone and speed.

Sixty-two panels of high-resolution LEDs are integrated within the design of the subway station. Amongst the porcelain finishing tiles, passersby will notice a series of visual displays, interspersed and embedded flush with the walls. Onscreen, colourful macro images of lichens ebb and flow. The animated organisms bloom, cascade and flutter, as real-time data creates an ever-changing, generative artwork. 

Broadway Subway Project Request for Concept Proposals (RFCP); January 2021

The intention of SUBSTRATE is to be a reflection of the past and what was once there, to be an alluring meditation on the present, delighting travellers and grounding them within the space, and to act as recognition of our environmental impact on the future.


Title: SUBSTRATE, 2021
Proposed Location: Broadway-City Hall Station, Vancouver, BC
Medium: LED Digital Display Video with Generative, Real-time Data Inputs
Video Content: Digitally Animated Abstract/Faux Lichen Species Derived from Photographs of Recycled Plastics

Animation Sample Informed by Local Data Describing:
Greenhouse Gas Emissions = Color Temperature + Tint
Air Quality & UV Report = Background Color
Air Temperature = Saturation
Sea Levels = Blur/Sharpness
Precipitation = Opacity


* This information is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution: Non-Commercial/No Derivatives 4.0 International License. Data from Meteorological Service of Canada's (MSC's) networks as well as data from the other sources are made available to users and archived by the National Climate Archives; effective April 1st, 2018 onward



Faux Lichen Species Crafted by Emilie Crewe: High-Resolution Digital Photographs and Composited Scanned Images of Non-Recyclable Plastics (i.e. plastic bottle tops, mesh bags, utensils, etc.)

Pictured: Collema Fecundum Degel (commonly known as “Seaside Tarpaper”), Chrysothrix Granulosa (commonly known as “Uplifted Gold Dust”) and Usnea Longissima (commonly known as “Old Man’s Beard)


The lichens themselves are first constructed by hand, photographed and then digitally animated into seamless loops. Using various single-use and flexible plastics such as bubble wrap, utensils, bottle tops, mesh bags, etc., the artist transforms the objects by melting, sanding, grating, filing and cutting them to create fauxlichens based on local species. The abstracted lichens are intended to pass as life-like organisms, while inherently embodying an unseen narrative about recycling, pollution and climate change.



ORINTHONICS, 2020 | Single-channel HD Video//Animation | 2'53"
ZAZ10TS Times Square Digital LED Billboard, New York, NY, USA
(Exhibited June & July of 2020)






Secondhand, 2019 | Single-channel HD Video | 3'41"grunt gallery Urban Screen
(Mount Pleasant Community Art Screen - MPCAS)
Vancouver, BC, Canada; unceded, traditional territories of the Coast Salish peoples -
sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), sel̓íl̓witulh (Tsleil-Waututh),
and xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) nations.




(A Sense of Place), 2016 | HD Video | 3'35"
Exhibited at Terry Fox Plaza (BC Place), CBC Plaza, Robson + Granville Dual Screens,
TELUS Gardens, Pacific Cinemateque and Vancity Theatre
Vancouver, BC, Canada





This Room/Patterns, 2017 | HD Video | 14'42"
'Art on the Screens', Celebration Square; Mississauga, Ontario, Canada





Making Circles: The Chilkat Dancing Blanket, 2014 | HD Video | 2'47"
Exhibited at the CBC Plaza Video Screen, Vancity Theatre and Robson + Granville Dual Screens
Vancouver, BC, Canada





SELF HELP, 2017/18 | HD Video | 12'53"
UMW Media Wall; Fredericksburg, VA, USA





Rubin's Face, 2009/2017 | SD Video | 1'27"
'The Cube Art Project' Public Art Screen in Lincoln, NE, USA