Bold new website engages artists and audience

You’ve never had a strong opinion on the Olympic Games. You wouldn’t call yourself passive or anything, you’ve just consciously decided to think about other things instead. Like kittens and rainbows. One rainy Thursday, during your usual 11 am break, you’re sitting alone in the cafeteria aimlessly surfing on your laptop when you stumble across REACT 2010. Exactly how you stumble across it is entirely variable, and for the facilitation of this story, just run with it, okay? Okay. So like I said, you get to this website. At first you’re confused. You feel inferior to the complex and trendy layout of said website. But once you figure it out, not only are you left feeling slightly victorious, you have also unlocked the door to a jubilee of controversial art. Boom. REACT 2010 got you.

REACT 2010 is a website that features contemporary art in relation to the 2010 Winter Olympic Games. It strives to give artists a medium to express their views via their art. The opinions and statements made by the art on this website ranges from views of the Olympics themselves to the values surrounding them. The website presents itself as having an overall neutral stance on the Olympics, but   houses opinions both positive and negative. React 2010 showcases art of all forms, from film to painting, photography, and poetry. Even the website layout itself is expressive.

The art is there to spark conversation and contemplation of our cultures’ values, according to the websites creators, Kelowna's Jennifer Pickering, Jason Baerg, and Arthur Schwimmer.

Whether or not the website is accomplishing its goal is hard to discern. Since there is no discussion board or comment section, the question becomes how much traffic and attention the website is getting. If no one ever sees the art, it's not doing much. However, the effectiveness of REACT 2010 falls to personal opinion. Whether or not viewers feel engaged and prompted into a deep questioning of our society's morals by the art is entirely relative and entirely personal.

I believe the website does just what it is supposed to – it allows artists to express, and viewers to observe. It brings forward issues surrounding a current cultural topic, and paves the path for further questioning, both within the individual and as a greater community. What is really impressive about the website is the peacefully neutral energy it has accomplished. The cyber-walls of REACT 2010 do not discriminate based on opinion, giving its patrons a “judgement-free” opportunity to express.

The art itself is rather impressive and insightful. One short film, entitled “PRIORITIES”, is a factual video regarding budgets and the governments financing in relation to the spending surrounding the 2010 Olympic Games. Not only is the film clear, concise, and well researched, it's also bold and passionate. Loaded with information and political realities, it is also art.

REACT 2010 aims to “showcase” artistic expressions, in all forms, of the Olympic Games. The site claims that its goal is to use said artistic expression to “lead to an examination and appreciation of diverse cultural values.” And it does just that. It is clear that some very bold opinions are being expressed, in some wonderfully creative ways, by some very talented people. And how could you not have some kind of a reaction to what these people are saying? The passion they clearly have for the subject radiates through their art, and you will instinctively react in some way to what you are experiencing. Boom. See? React. It got you again.

To see it for yourself, visit

// Rachelle Rovner

Enjoy it? Share this on Facebook


© 2011 The Capilano Courier. phone: 604.984.4949 fax: 604.984.1787 email: