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Adorno and Nose by Doupé and Whitman: the city of Vancouver Public Art Program

Date uploaded: August 15, 2011

A new project by the City of Vancouver Public Art program invites the public to whistle - or sing - while they wait at bus stops across Vancouver. Adorno and Nose, a series of ten songs composed and illustrated by Barry Doupé and James Douglas Whitman, will be installed from August 15th to October 2nd 2011 at ten locations (listed below) and is one of thirteen new public art projects commissioned by the City of Vancouver's Public Art Program for Vancouver 125.

Each poster consists of a song, notated as standard sheet music, the verse, and a drawn graphic. The songs are loosely structured and poetic and meant to engage those waiting for the bus. Complementing this public exhibition will be a performance of the songs on Saturday September 3rd at 8pm at the Western Front, 303 East 8th Avenue.

Speaking about the project, the artists reflected:

"The songs are invitations to play and divertissement, whether private, humming or singing to oneself, or performance, singing out loud to friends or strangers. ... People will be surprised, will wonder what they're for. Since the greater part of music in public space is being used to sell things, whether through store ambiance or radio ads, what participation we are allowed is as passive consumers.  As artists, we are interested in the kinds of specific attention that happens when music is lifted out of these economies.

The songs are simple melodies in the key of C. The basic musical training required to sight read the songs belongs to anyone who has gone through the high school band program, junior piano classes or been an avid reader of Guitar World magazine. The songs should be accessible to a large, if not very often addressed, audience. In a way these songs harken back to an earlier mode of music distribution, that of 19th century parlour music, sheet music meant to be sung at home with a piano."

Barry Doupé and James Douglas Whitman have been writing songs since 2009 and collaborating for the past eight years, mostly as part of the drawing group The Lions (Tasha Brotherton, Matthew Brown, Barry Doupé, Collin Johanson, James Whitman). Barry writes the words and James writes the melodies. Barry studied animation at Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design, graduating in 2004. His writing practice developed out of writing for his feature length computer animated films such as PONYTAIL (2008). James Whitman studied at the University of Victoria and is currently an MFA candidate at Concordia University in Montreal. His drawings and book works have been exhibited throughout Europe and Canada.

Poster locations are:

  • Water Street: 75 meters east of Cambie Street on the north side
  • West Pender Street: 20 meters east of Hamilton Street south side
  • Dundas Street: 20 metres east of Lakewood on the north side
  • East Broadway: 20 metres west of Slocan on the north side
  • East Hastings: 20 metres west of Victoria on the north side
  • Main Street: 20 metres north of east 57th on the east side
  • McGill Street: 20 metres west of Penticton on the north side
  • Nanaimo Street: 20 metres north of Charles on the east side
  • West 10th Avenue: 30 metres east of Trimble on the south side
  • West 41st Avenue: 28 metres west of Carnarvon on the north side.

The 2011 Public Art Program focuses on opportunities for residents and visitors to enjoy unique images, objects and perspectives on Vancouver and British Columbia for the City's anniversary year. The program has facilitated over a hundred projects in the past ten years, spanning large-scale permanent installations, design-team collaborations and artist-initiated artworks.

Visit vancouver.ca/publicart

Adorno and Nose by Doupé and Whitman

Adorno and Nose by Doupé and Whitman