Video - Royal Canadian Navy Monument (artist version) – Decoding ART - Heritage Monuments


Transcript of Royal Canadian Navy Monument (artist version) – Decoding ART - Heritage Monuments

[Canadian Heritage signature]

Narrator: "This capsule is presented by Canadian Heritage."

[Close-up of Al McWilliams]

Narrator: "I'm Al McWilliams, a Canadian artist from Vancouver, British Columbia. I worked with the architects Joost Bakker and Bruce Haden to create the design of the monument that you are looking at."

[The monument and the land jutting out into the river]

Narrator: "As you walk around the site take note that rather than a focal object the Royal Canadian Navy Monument is a distinctly sculpted open space at the centre of Richmond Landing."

"During our initial visit to the Richmond Landing site, the three of us were unanimous in thinking that the site, as a land form, needed very little, but subtle, manipulation. The shape of this peninsula, while much like the prow of a ship, also echoed the shape of Canada …"

[Ships of the Royal Canadian Navy on the ocean, with Canadians flags]

Narrator: "…, a tri-coastal nation surrounded on three sides by water. We wanted to acknowledge this connection through land shaping to create a sense of place and capitalize on the natural energy of the site. Our challenge was to find a way to create a monument of national significance …"

[Close-up of two members of the Royal Canadian Navy on a boat]

Narrator: "… that would reflect the past, present and future of the Royal Canadian Navy and thereby be timeless in design."

[Components of the monument, a marble wall with a gold sphere sitting on top]

Narrator: "During our creative process we developed a pretty clear idea of the placement of the different elements and the site lines."

[Photo of binnacle]

Narrator: "The forms were there in our imaginations, all be it a little unclear and blurry, but they needed an anchor. Then while reading Watermark by the Russian poet, Joseph Brodsky I had a eureka moment."

[Sketch of the shape of the monument]

Narrator: "One of our issues was water, a pretty significant element for the navy, but how to deal with it. Brodsky mentioned that when you're on a ship it's not so much your eyes, ears, etc., that tell you you're on the water, but your feet: …"

[Model of the monument]

Narrator: "Water unsettles the sense of horizontality". At the same moment that I was reading this, Joost sent me images of the Oslo opera house, …"

[Winter shot of the monument, the frozen river and the Parliament in the background]

Narrator: "… a white marble edifice dropping towards and into the water. This concurrence allowed the forms and the materials we had been working with to coalesce. Our design reflects the multiple facets of the Navy …"

[Sleeve of a uniform showing the bold colours of the Navy: naval black, white, and gold]

Narrator: "… through the use of bold colours: naval black, white, and gold."

[Close-up of part of the wall, the camera is moving up to the gold sphere]

Narrator: "Noble materials such as marble, granite, and gold leaf were used to create a form and space charged with meaning. Defining the space of reflection, the double arc of oak trees …"

[Overall view of the site, oaks trees in the foreground and a Canadian flag attached to the mast]

Narrator: "… symbolize "the Heart of Oak", the official march of the Royal Canadian Navy. The gently inclined lawn has been conceived to stage the annual Battle of the Atlantic ceremony …"

[Members of the Royal Canadian Navy attending a ceremony at a commemorative monument in the shape of a cross, a plane in a sunny sky]

Narrator: "… with its focus on the honour guard, the bell, the flag, the chaplain and the laying of wreaths."

[Components of the monument, a marble wall with a gold sphere sitting on top]

Narrator: "At the heart of the monument is the naval signature, a large curved, white marble form, set into an inclined and shifting granite base. This is suggestive of a multitude of naval associations ranging from sails of days gone by, …"

[Illustration of the site illuminated at night]

Narrator: "… to naval attire, to contemporary stealth design and, at night, lit from below, the hull of a ship afloat."

[Close-up of the Navy motto "READY AYE READY"]

Narrator: "You can see on the west side as you approach, the Navy motto "READY AYE READY" engraved in the marble."

[A side of the wall with the battle honours engraved]

Narrator: "The battle honours, that represent all battles that hold a special significance in our naval history, are engraved on the east side of this form where the only level part of the granite slab, or deck, …"

[Close-up of the marble wall and the gold sphere, the camera moves toward the base of the wall]

Narrator: "… allows one to stand more comfortably to take the time to read and reflect. The inclined granite base unsettles the sense of horizontal as the body seeks to align itself on a shifting surface -- a sense of movement inherent in the naval experience."

[Close-up of several features cut into the base of the monument]

Narrator: "Cut into this inclined plane are two bronze strips aligned with the north/south and east/west cardinal axes, referencing navigation and acknowledging our tri-coastal reality."

[The common nautical symbol of an anchor wrapped in rope]

Narrator: "One of the most identifiable of navy symbols, the fouled anchor, made of black granite and set into the base slab, points symbolically to both the water and Parliament Hill."

[A ship’s mast with a gold sphere on top, the camera moves towards the bottom of the mast showing in the background, the wall and a second gold sphere]

Narrator: "The Navy mast is a recognized symbol on all ships and naval bases. It provides a second spatial counterpoint within the monument space. Mounted on both the naval signature and the mast are gold spheres. These orbs speak of the sun, moon, stars and the global reach of the Royal Canadian Navy. They speak simultaneously to the critical dimension of communications and navigation."

[Close-up of part of the marble wall and the gold sphere]

Narrator: "The slight offset of the gilded sphere on the white marble signature contributes to the unsettled sense of the horizontal. Underlying our vision of the monument space are reflections on: …"

[An iceberg and a ship on the ocean in the background; two marines on a ship’s deck; Canada’s First Naval Recruits]

Narrator: "Movement and flow -- openness and nature -- navigation and communication -- tradition and innovation …"

[Side view of a member of the Royal Canadian Navy, a Canadian flag, and in the background a boat on the ocean]

Narrator: "… and reflection and celebration."

[Canada Wordmark]

Page details

Date modified: