Douglas Coupland’s 2004 Installation in Canada House as a Hyperobject

Douglas Coupland at the VAG, May 31, 2014 | © Courtesy of Christine Rondeau/Flickr.
Douglas Coupland at the VAG, May 31, 2014 | © Courtesy of Christine Rondeau/Flickr.

On December 13, 2018, Julia Polyck-O’Neill has published an article entitled “The Hyperobject and the White Cube: The “Strange Stranger” in Douglas Coupland’s Canada House” in Open Cultural Studies.

A Blog Post by Pablo Markin.


The main argument of Julia Polyck-O’Neill is that Coupland’s work can be approached “from the perspective of new materialist philosophy, with particular attention to what Timothy Morton calls the “hyperobject.”” This article, thus, explores “the specific dynamics of the installation as a phenomenon in real time and space, as well as its enduring reality as an artifact that translates specific dynamics of interconnectivity between aesthetic, linguistic, and ecocritical discourse as they relate to space and human/nonhuman relationships.”

This paper represents, therefore, “an interdisciplinary case study that can be translated to other similarly-conceived artworks, the examination of the components of Coupland’s work also validates the claims about art advanced by both Morton and Graham Harman: that the vicarious aesthetic relations inherent to the experience of art best represent the flat, radically egalitarian ontology they posit within their materialist, object-oriented philosophies.”

This article concludes that “[in] the case of Canada House, the physical and conceptual interventions of the hyperobject are bracketed by this state of heightened awareness. The confrontation between viewer and object(s), in both immediate terms and in the space of contemplative retrospection produced by photographic records, connects consciousness to the “real,” to profound, even revolutionary, effect, in a way that circumvents the shortcomings of the linguistic turn and other anthropocentric modes: by the lateral means of aesthetic experience.”

By Pablo Markin


Featured Image Credits: Douglas Coupland at the VAG, May 31, 2014 | © Courtesy of Christine Rondeau/Flickr.

Cite this article as: Pablo Markin, "Douglas Coupland’s 2004 Installation in Canada House as a Hyperobject," in Open Culture, 07/01/2019, https://oc.hypotheses.org/1943.

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