Downtown Eastside
Paul Wong, 2010
8 min., colour, stereo, single-channel w/ credits
and/or 2 channel installation

The Downtown Eastside is one of the oldest neighbourhoods in Vancouver, BC and is known as ‘ Canada’s poorest postal code’.  The area is noted for not only for its poverty but rife with open drug use, sex trade, crime, homelessness, HIV and mental health issues and all the community activism that comes with trying to fix the problems.

The artist records everyday activities in the streets and alleys around the Main and Hasting Street intersection. On the right, the view is from a fixed camera positioned on top of a dashboard in a moving car. On the left, he walks with a handheld camera with a wide angle lens. Along the way he encounters a street artist, engages with two women in Pigeon Park, crack users, dealers and homeless people.

No stranger to this area, Paul Wong is part of the history that includes growing up and working in Chinatown, Gastown and Strathcona. The victim of urban decay and neglect, this area is currently undergoing renewal with new businesses and condominium developments.

DTES is available in single channel format for screenings and as a two channel installation with variable configurations.

DTES has been presented as part of Everybody is Somebody, a multimedia event at Pigeon Park in 2007 and as part of Five Elements at Sun Yat-Sen Gardens as part of ‘5’, a series of site-specific events commissioned by the City of Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Public Art Projects.

Recorded in Vancouver, Canada
Camera/Director: Paul Wong
Editor: Kelly Morris
Post-Production: Brian Gotro

Distributor: Vtape, Video Out, Paul Wong Projects