N.E. Thing Co., You will soon pass by, 1969 Virtual Museum of Canada
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In this series of images, N.E. Thing Co. appropriates the form of the guided tour to demonstrate the myopia of the institutional gaze, and address the various ways of endowing place with meaning. In this image, we see a sign in the landscape stating 'You will soon pass by as 1/4 mile N.E. Thing Co. Landscape.'

N.E. Thing Co., You will soon pass by, 1969   (80 KB)

In a now classic series of N.E. Thing Co. photos, the audience's gaze is broken up as the photos instruct the viewer to "Start Viewing," then follow with "You are now in the middle," and end with "Stop Viewing." These commands being issued to the observer play with the idea of the small bites by which we consume spaces with our gaze, especially as tourists. N.E. Thing Co. makes explicit not only the directedness of the tourist's gaze-playing off the authority of the tour guide to tell people when and where to look-but also the performativity of the simple act of looking itself.

N.E. Thing Co. was an art collaboration established in Vancouver, BC by Iain Baxter and Ingrid Baxter in 1966 and operated until 1978.


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Images in the Series: This black and white image shows triangular simulated trees lined up in the parking lot of a North Vancouver Information Booth, with real trees in the background.A large arrow painted on the road points towards an entrance of a shopping mall in this black and white image. A woman walks at the left side of the image. In images such as this one, The N.E. Thing Co. address the various ways of endowing a place with meaning.This photograph is of a sign on a coast line stating 'You are now in the middle of a N.E. Thing Co. Landscape.' Written at the bottom of the image is 'Simulated Photo of the Moon's 'Sea of Tranquility'  Filled with Water and N.E. Thing Co.'s Sign Placed Beside it. August 1969.'In this series of images, N.E. Thing Co. appropriates the form of the guided tour to demonstrate the myopia of the institutional gaze, and address the various ways of endowing place with meaning. In this image, we see a sign in the landscape stating 'You will soon pass by as 1/4 mile N.E. Thing Co. Landscape.'In this second image in the series, we see a sign at the side of the road stating 'Start Viewing.'In this third image in the series, we see a sign at the side of the road stating 'Stop Viewing.'This image is of a map of PEI showing the locations of 'start viewing' & 'stop viewing' and a sketch of the 1/4 mile landscape. By drawing attention to the stages of the gaze, observers of a site do not fully evolve into active participants, the act of gazing is performative in and of itself.