Bill Vazan
P* Genie

Antony Gormley
Man Rock II



It was my first day on campus and out of the chaos that swirled around my very (inter)subjectivity, I perceived a form. I had seen that form before – or at least something like it. This latest incarnation sat on the lawn outside the McIntosh Gallery at Western, which was no big thing in itself, except I was transported back four years to the night when I first uttered the phrase “tactile burden”.

And so I took a photo with my cellphone.

And then I went back to the office and checked out the McIntosh gallery web site and found that they have sculptures from their permanent collection all over campus, including works by Tom Benner, Doug Mitchell, Reinhard Reitzenstein, Mino Sawada, Bill Vazan and Ed Zelenak. And then I did a Google Image search for each of those six artists, hoping to find that form again somewhere and track down the particulars for this sculpture. (Well, truth be told, I stopped after five.) And then I read more about Bill Vazan at Wikipedia, and how he is interested in the relationship between humans and the cosmos, but I couldn’t find the name of the sculpture I was looking for anywhere. And then I saved this post to Drafts. And then I went back to the McIntosh and asked the man at the front desk if he knew the answer to my question, but he said he was a volunteer and didn’t know too much about what was outside – which is fair enough, one supposes. And he told me to try the Curator, who was downstairs. And so I went downstairs and, after knocking politely on the door partition, asked a woman who was poring over some documents if she knew the answer, but she was just a visitor looking through the archives and motioned towards a woman in an office, who was on the phone.

And so I waited for about a minute.

And then I knocked on the woman’s door and asked her if she knew about the sculpture outside with the holes in it, by Vasna or Vanda or something like that – which of course she did. And she typed into a database of the gallery’s permanent collection a few characters and pulled up “VAZAN, WILLIAM”, which had “3 ENTRIES” underneath. And the first entry was the one I was looking for, so the Curator told me the title of the piece, the year and the medium – to which I replied, “that’s easy, thanks!” and memorized the information. And then I introduced myself and said I was working over at the Visual Arts Centre for the semester, but I already felt like an idiot – flushed! – so I got the hell out of there pretty quick. (And then I went back upstairs to see the MFA graduate shows by Michelle McGeean and Robert Williams, “This Will Kill That” and “So it Goes"
. The volunteer at the front desk was pleased I’d found out the answer.)
 And then I got outside and figured I’d better write this information down: "Bill Vazan, something Genie” … (shit!) … “it begins with a ‘P’, three letters. OK, it was 1990, and it was carved granite. What was the P-word???” And then I walked back to my studio and Googled “'Bill Vazan’ genie” and any number of other combinations, to no avail. And so a form became a Boolean search: “P* Genie, by Bill Vazan, 1990”.

And then I hit Publish.