World Tea Party at Centre A

After watching the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Opening Ceremonies on telly at home, James and I stepped out to see what was going on in the neighbourhood. We saw the large projections on the Centre A windows right away: tea pots,  an Asian woman having tea, other tea images. Yes, it was the opening night for the World Tea Party!

Celebration of global tea culture! Art gallery becomes a temporary teahouse! Worldwide connectivity via skype and ustream!

I’d been looking forward to the whole event, which unfolds over Feb. and March, it is a perfect blend of tea, art and communication. Last night, people were sitting and talking or milling about, the jasmine tea they served was really divine, and the atmosphere was terrific!

world tea party

Here’s the blurb on the event:

Centre A is pleased to present World Tea Party, animated by tea master and calligrapher Bryan Mulvihill (aka Trolley Bus). Truly one of Vancouver’s living cultural treasures, Mulvihill has produced a special edition of The World Tea Party for the Vancouver 2010 Cultural Olympiad.

Previous versions have been presented publics large and small in a wide range of contexts, including the Winnipeg Pan Am Games, the Venice Biennale, the National Gallery of Canada, the Hollywood Bowl and the Eiffel Tower.

The World Tea Party is based on the notion that humanity shares in the drinking of tea a spirit of generosity and understanding that both celebrates and transcends our cultural diversity. Tea is the most popular  beverage in the world.

The World Tea Party is a social sculpture that involves the creative empowerment of the audience. The tea salon is a meeting place. Its interactive aspect makes it a suitable vehicle for a debate about the relationship between the Olympics and the Downtown Eastside.

Free Tea and Big Video
In the afternoon, tea is offered for free, both inside the gallery and at times on the street. From 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm, large projections play on the building’s exterior windows. Video content includes work by various artists, live broadcast of performances, skype teas and the documentation of the World Tea Party in different contexts.

They have set up a live feed on ustream, but it doesn’t look active yet – just ready to go. Tune in some evening if you aren’t here in Vancouver. Check the World Tea Party Special Event schedule at Centre A, to find out what’s planned both here in Vancouver and via remote connection.

This article in the Georgia Straight gives some great background on Brian and his work.

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