Archive | April, 2005

Squamish Chief Calls 2010 Vancouver Olympic Logo “Ilanaaq” ‘Aggression’

More news from the local newspapers about Ilanaaq’s chilly reception since her unveiling. The squamish nation is using powerful words like “agression” and “attack on our soveriegnty”. Wow. Is this thing going to die down soon? Has there been any official response from VANCOC to all the reaction and negative press?

Squamish chief calls Ilanaaq ‘aggression’

Gerald Johnston says it’s the symbol of a ‘foreign aboriginal nation’

“A Squamish hereditary chief is lashing out at Vancouver’s new Olympic logo as “an intentional act of aggression against our sovereignty.”

But band officials say Gerald Johnston is voicing a personal opinion that doesn’t reflect the views of band elders.

Johnston wrote a letter to B.C. band councils calling on Olympic organizers to “cease and desist” using the Inuit-style logo, which he slammed as a symbol of a “foreign aboriginal nation.”

“It is akin to Russians planting their flag on the Parliament Buildings or the White House without permission,” he said.

He said the choice of logo shows bad faith on behalf of the B.C. government and “constitutes an ongoing assault on aboriginal title.”

Johnston called on 2010 organizers to “remove all vestiges” of the logo from Squamish land, which includes Olympic venues in North Vancouver and Whistler.

Squamish Nation Chief Gibby Jacob, a board member of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Organizing Committee (VANOC), said Johnston’s opinions don’t reflect those of other Squamish hereditary chiefs.

“Like everybody else here, I’d have loved to see something with a West Coast First Nations design flavour to it,” said Jacob yesterday. “But if it had been, I’m quite sure there’d have been someone else complaining.”

He said there will be other opportunities for First Nations to “put our mark on,” including Olympic medals and cultural events.

VANOC spokeswomen Renee Smith-Valade said 2010 organizers have a close relationship with the Squamish band.

“The fundamental premise of the design competition was to choose a design that reflects all Canada and has a story that is meaningful to all Canadians and not just one aboriginal group or region of the country,” she said.

Grand Chief Edward John of the First Nations Summit said he’s taken native concerns about the logo to B.C. federal ministers Stephen Owen and David Emerson. “It’s really ticked a lot of people off,” he said. “There are other options, whether it’s a secondary trademark or whatever.”

He said he’s written to VANOC but hasn’t received an answer.”

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Native Leaders Object to Logo for 2010 Olympics

Native leaders object to logo for 2010 OlympicsSome Native leaders in Canada are objecting to the use of a traditional Inuit symbol for the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver. Native leaders in British Columbia say they feel slighted by the choice of a symbol that doesn’t represent the culture of their region. ["2010 Olympics" News on RocketInfo]

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Conversation with Vancouver 2010 Logo Designer, Gonzalo Alatorre

If you only read the newspapers and watched the news you may have thought that the 2010 Vancouver Olympics logo was developed solely by Elena Rivera MacGregor, owner and principle of Rivera Design Group who was mentioned several times as the logo’s designer in mainstream coverage of the launch. Today, I had a chance to talk with Gonzalo Alatorre currently of Evolutionary Images and Advertising about his role in the process of developing Ilanaaq, the emblem for the upcoming 2010 Olympic.

Official documents listed Alatorre as the designer, who was an employee of Rivera Design Group at the time of the logo’s development. However, in the days since Imagine 2010 and the logo launch most media outlets have focused their attention on Rivera MacGregor. In fact I’ve seen several whole articles that don’t even mention Alatore’s name. I called Alatorre today to find out what his role in the project was and how he felt about the media’s focus on Elena Rivera as the creator of the emblem.

Vancouver 2010 Olympics Logo Designer Gonzalo Alatorre

Gonzalo told me that the concept for the emblem was ‘independently developed’ by both Alatorre and Rivera simultaneously. Alatorre started with some mockups that he ran by Elena who was working with him on the project in the role of Project Manager and Creative Director. Alatorre’s idea was to create an identity that was representative of his experience as an immigrant to Canada with a specific focus on the first few years as he was learning the culture and people. He used the words warm and welcoming to describe the people and attempted to capture that spirit in his work.

He reviewed the designs with Rivera and she said that in principal they synced up with some thoughts she had been working on too and wanted to see if he could work some Haida elements and style into the concepts. Alatorre recalled that specific references to tribes and cultures such as the Haida were prohibited for some reason by the rules of the VANOC emblem design contest and after exploring design in that direction decided not to go that route.

�?The media focus on Elena as the designer caught me by surprise. I was not very pleased that the media seemed to be ignoring my name. Especially in the first 3 days after Imagine 2010. But I’ve talked (with her) about it and she’s assured me she’s mentioning my name whenever she has conversations about the design and the process. It’s difficult to control the way the media and press tell a story and I was definitely a little surprised. But I get proper credit because I get to put the work in my portfolio and at the end of the day the people who matter know that I did it. It has become a bit of negative experience since the launch, but the process of developing the logo and having a shot at designing the Olympic logo and winning makes it a good experience and worth it.�?

UPDATED: I just got a call from Gonzalo who saw this article today and got in touch to with me to say thanks and to let me know I got one thing wrong. It wasn’t the VANOC rules that prevented the the integration of Haida influence and style into Alatorre’s original concepts, but instead tribal rules that prohibit those who are not of Haida ancestry from working with the sacred Haida designs and symbols. Thanks Gonzalo for the correction, it’s been great talking to you and getting to know you through the process of pulling this together, and I wish you the best!

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North Western Winds – Olympic symbols

Weblog: North Western Winds

Source: Olympic symbols

Ilaanaq: Inukshuk or Inunnguaq?

The selection of the logo for the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics provides me with an opportunity to try and show some of the ideas I’ve been writing about this week in action.

Officially, the logo is said to be an inukshuk who’s name is Ilaanaq. The winning artist says she was inspired by a well known piece of artwork in Vancouver, left behind after Expo ’86.

Generally speaking, I like it. It’s warm, simple and clear. It is likely to grab the interest of people around the world. One of the most common criticisms of the icon since it’s unveiling a few days ago has been that it has little or nothing to do with Vancouver itself. The kind of rock sculpture it represents originates in native cultures much father north.

I even read about some native elders voting on a council of some kind (annoyingly, I can’t find the source) that they felt the icon misrepresented their culture and as a result, they felt insulted. The notch on the head for that cuddly smile probably didn’t help.
I would urge the elders and others taking this line of criticism to reconsider. The inukshuk is a sign intended to act as a friendly marker or reminder in a largely barren and desolate space – in this case, Canada’s far north. It’s true that the temporate rainforests of Vancouver are nothing like that. The logo is not an inukshuk, however. It is a symbol of one.

It’s presence will only be active in Vancouver proper for a short time as 2010 approaches. It’s real activity – it’s real environment- is in the mediascape. One does not need to be a cynical media junkie like me to see that is, in its own way, as a barren and desolate space as the Yukon Territory. I think the symbol can act as a friendly reminder in disparate locates around the world and will work in different sorts of media due to it’s simplicity.

Mr. Hallendy (quoted in the dead tree edition of the National Post, April 25th) of the Royal Canadian Geography Society has some interesting things to say about the logo, the most interesting of which is that Ilaanaq is not an inukshuk, he’s an inunnguaq. Got that? Hallendy says that properly speaking, an inukshuk is a simple stand in for a person, like a traffic light is a stand in for a traffic policeman. It is blatantly a symbol and in the north it can be as simple as one large, upright stone. Ilaanaq is more complicated than that, which is why Hallendy says that he is an inunnguaq.

The origins of the inunnguaq may be much more recent than that of the inukshuk and its meaning deeper. Hallendy notes it’s resemblance to a cross and that a famous site of inunnguaq is Pelly Bay, where they may have been built under the direction of a local missionary priest. The inunnguaq, unlike the inukshuk, does not represent a generic human; it represents real people. It can act as a marker for a village or as a tombstone.
All of this is interesting and the native elders would do well to use curiosity about the symbol as the starting point for teaching the world about the people and the culture from which Ilaanaq draws inspiration. Assuming Hallendy is correct in the distinction he makes between the two types of sculpture, the only mistake here is calling Ilaanaq an inukshuk. If he is in fact a inunnguaq, he functions in the mediasphere just as well. He represents real people hosting a real event, after all.

The last question is if the inunnguaq should be considered a religious symbol. If it is, then of course it’s use in advertising the Olympics would be very improper. Imagine using a Star of David or a Crucifix for such a purpose! Nothing I have read about this symbol suggests to me that the inunnguaq is a sign with a transcendent meaning. The other ‘errors’ – the mouth and the creative geography involved – can be overcome without much trouble if that last question has been answered correctly. The mouth is simply a playful appeal, especially to kids. The geography is even easier to deal with, as the Olympics will be shared with all Canadians (not to mention Federal tax money). The sign, in short, can survive this evolution without becoming incoherent. Religious symbols would not be as resistant and the fuss over them is proper.

["Winter Olympics" on PubSub]

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The Inner-workings of the Merc Mind – Vancouver 2010 Olympic Emblem a disappointment

Weblog: The Inner-workings of the Merc Mind
Source: Vancouver 2010 Olympic Emblem a disappointment

Near the end of last year a sort of contest was held where people were encouraged to design an emblem for the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. The winner would win $25,000, 2 tickets to the opening ceremonies and a bunch of other stuff.

Well, everyone at the company where I work tried their hands at designing the logo and we submitted a handful of promising designs.

Vancouver 2010 Olympic EmblemFor the past few months, we’ve all been waiting patiently, secretly spending the $25,000 and choosing who we would take to the ceremonies. We were just getting our hopes up. I can’t speak for the rest of the crew, but I knew I wouldn’t win.

As the announcement date drew near, one of my co-workers said that basically the reaction to the chosen design would fall into one of two categories: “Wow!
That’s clever. Well done.”
or “Geez, what were they thinking?”

To that I added one more category: “Woah! That’s just like one of the designs we decided not to submit!”

Well, next time they won’t be so quit to shoot down my ideas. I like my logo. And it has the added bonus of already having toys, posters, games and even costumes made in its likeness.

Oh well….

Stay Puft 2010 Ghostbusters Emblem

["Winter Olympics" on PubSub]

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Photos from Imagine 2010 – Unveiling of Ilanaaq, the 2010 Vancouver Olympics Emblem

Tonight, Roland and I went to GM Place to catch Imagine 2010 and the unveiling of the new Vancouver 2010 Olympics logo. Here’s some photos from the live televised event and from the press conference afterwards. The whole set (60 photos) can be found here and is available under a Creative Commons licence.

Imagine 2010 - Vancouver Winter Olympics Emblem Unveiling, Ilanaaq

The crowd streams into GM place for Imagine 2010.

Imagine 2010 - Vancouver Winter Olympics Emblem Unveiling, Ilanaaq

The place was packed and the crowd was loud and energetic. Free tickets rock!

Imagine 2010 - Vancouver Winter Olympics Emblem Unveiling, Ilanaaq

There was a strong focus on Canada’s First Nations and aboriginal cultures.

Imagine 2010 - Vancouver Winter Olympics Emblem Unveiling, Ilanaaq

I wish my family could have come with me. There was a lot of kids in the crowd and everyone was having a great time. This photo symbolizes the Olympic spirit for me.

Imagine 2010 - Vancouver Winter Olympics Emblem Unveiling, Ilanaaq

With hot people in tights being a close second for ‘symbolizes the Olympic spirit’.

Imagine 2010 - Vancouver Winter Olympics Emblem Unveiling, Ilanaaq

Ilanaaq’s parents, the design team from Rivera Design Group.

Imagine 2010 - Vancouver Winter Olympics Emblem Unveiling, Ilanaaq

One of the judges who picked the emblem for the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics.

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