For a low-tech Instagram-like effect on old Hull, there’s no better view than from inside Papa, the work of architectural art along Boulevard des Allumettières en route to cottage country. An appreciation for public art in the time of technologyBY FATEEMA SAYANI
BEYOND THE FRAME
Instagram wasn’t on Hal Ingberg’s mind when he created Papa, but the effect of looking through the glass panels provides a similar outlook. Even delivery cars from the nearby St-Hubert look retro chic. The Montreal architect’s work was the winning submission in a national public art and landscape integration competition launched by the National Capital Commission in 2007. Papa was unveiled in 2010.
SITE SPECIFICS An angled glass wall directs pedestrians and cyclists into the public space from the boulevard, while a long, zigzagging bench helps demarcate the space and encourages people to stop and stay awhile. At its peak, the wall measures 14.4 metres and decreases to a height of 2.4 metres, mimicking the height of a nearby condominium tower at one side and the mid-century housing at the other side. The structure serves as a gateway into Parc du Sentier-de-l’Île.
GLASS MENAGERIES Look through the transparent glass panels in yellow, orange, blue, and green for different outlooks and visual effects on the city. The park area faces south and is often bathed in natural light. “If you sit there long enough, you’ll experience a play of light and colour that continuously transforms itself, as it’s dependent upon the time of day and the time of year that you look at it,” Ingberg says.
SUB-NARRATIVE In describing the vintage effect of photo applications such as Instagram, American social media theorist Nathan Jurgenson calls it “nostalgia for the present.” You’ve seen the photos in your Facebook feed — your university pal’s dinner, your best friend’s cat, your cousin’s new dress — all the elements of the daily mundane amplified thanks to faux lens flare and colour saturation.