Tuning out in Terminal City and the Nova Poster

Vancouver has always had a drug problem. In recent years this is manifested by one of the world's largest marijuana growing industries. Rumored to be the strongest bud in the world police estimate the total revenues as in the billions and larger than the forest industry. British Columbia exports high-grade cannabis to the United States and imports cocaine and heroin in return.

This industry, run mostly by Hell's Angels and other gangs, gives Vancouver the largest drug addict populations per capita in North America. Centered mainly in the Downtown Eastside an area peppered with bars and cheap hotels historically catering to the forest industry, this is the original Skid Row named after the skids that allowed them to run logs down the middle of the street. It was the terminus for the national railroad and became known in the 30's as Terminal City. It has always had a transient nature and located next to Chinatown the historical connection between Asian opium and later heroin influenced the development of the area. By the late 1970's Vancouver had the largest heroin problem in Canada despite being the much smaller and younger third city.

In the mid 1990's the situation got much worse as a drug war between Asian gangs and Hell's Angels put almost pure heroin on the streets cheaply. The results wasn't only a rise in addiction rates but a period of high overdoses for almost 3 years with over 500 deaths a year at it's peak.

Hans Winkler was been invited by Grunt Gallery to realize an art piece for Vancouver in the context of the Fourth LIVE Biennal of Performance Art in 2005. When he came to Vancouver in January 2004 he wandered around the city quickly ignoring the much-touted landscape and focusing in on the downtown eastside. At the end of his four days he articulated his idea of a junkie reading room. The Nova library was to be a reading room comprised of books recommended by the drug-addicted communities of Vancouver. Winkler came up with the title Nova Library in homage to William Burrough's novel Nova Express that covers the issues of drug addiction and enforcement in a future that is now.

Hans Winkler´s public art pieces are side specific, where he intervenes, when he is reacting to symbols of our life, how he is reading the city and opens our eyes to real street life and for details usually overlooked. Winkler has an uncanny ability to focus in on the rupture within a community. For his project "un incidente in gondola" at Nuova Icona in Venice he sunk a gondola into the canal speaking to a city literally sinking in tourists. It spoke succinctly about globalism and global warming.

Drug addicts have an image problem. An identifiable population who only ever sees itself in the media as crime and health issues. When we brought the idea to a weekly meeting of the Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users - VANDU and to Portland Hotel Society they instantly understood the project and came on board. The " Nova-Junkie- Library" project was a collaborative project by six organizations.

While Han's had envisioned a reading room by junkies it wasn't necessarily for them. Instead he wanted a central location where all of the community could see this library. The Main Branch of the Vancouver Public Library looks like a high tech copy of the coliseum in Rome taking up a piece of prime real estate in central Vancouver.

It was hard to go from the long term planning of the slow moving bureaucracy at the library to the organizations downtown who were constantly fending off emergencies. The mediating between these two groups became a dynamic of the project. But in the end: The Nova Library displaced the Western section on the main level of the VPL and became new library within a library.

The collection now comprises an eclectic set of over five hundred books and is collaged together in odd arrangements. For example, one can find the Qur’an next to Ken Kesey. The dominant themes of the collection seem to be the hippie and beat writers, native spirituality, various self-help manuals, and a lot of fantasy and science fiction (running the gamut from Aldous Huxley to Conan books). No one was too surprised, that after all the data was tallied, Hunter S. Thompson walked away with the honour of most popular writer, nudging out some of the other icons of the 60’s and 70’s like Ginsburg and Burroughs.

The Nova Library succeeded in showing the intellectual life of this misrepresented community. One visitor reported to her artist neighbor that she must be a junkie because she read the same books they did!
A visitor said: In the time of political ignorance as the counterculture disappeared, many people are probably not interested or don't want to know, the nova library becomes it own meaning- making it obvious the support our culture owes to outlaws and junkies.

Winkler had succeeded in opening up a space where the drug addicts were not vilified but treated as any other section of society with ideas, aspirations and dreams. After years of deaths and a major political battle over the new strategies the Nova Library was a welcome relief and gave startling insights into these communities.


The Nova Library: a reading room created by junkies; a new site-specific project by Hans Winkler

Ernest L. Abel, Marihuana, the First Twelve Thousand Years; Douglas Adams, Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy 1952- ; Eve Adams, Garden of Eden; Randy C. Alcorn, Heaven; John Marco Allegro, Sacred Mushroom and the Cross : A Study of the Nature and Origins of Christianity Within the Fertility Cults of the Ancient Near East; American Indian Trickster Tales; American Medical Journals; Charlie Anders, Choir Boy; Hans Christian Anderson, Emperor's New Clothes; Virginia C. Andrews (series'); Piers Anthony, Rings of Ice, Xanth (series), Anne Applebaum, Gulag : A History; Isaac Asimov Foundation; I, Robot; Nine Tomorrows; Space Trooper; Atlas of the World History; Margaret Eleanor Atwood, Oryx and Crake; Rachel Greene Baldino, Welcome to Methadonia: A Social Worker's Candid Account of Life in a Methadone Clinic; Robert D. Ballard, Return to Titanic: A New Look at the World's Most Famous Ship; James Bamford, Body of Secrets, Anatomy of the ultra secret National Security Agency; Clive Barker, Great and Secret Show: The First Book of the Art; The Bible; The Book of Mormons; Sacrament; Donald L.Barlett, Empire: The Life, Legend, and Madness of Howard Hughes, Nevada Barr, Flashback; Ellen Bass, Courage to Heal: A Guide for Women Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse; Samuel Beckett, Waiting for Godot, a Tragicomedy in Two Acts; Natalia Maree Belting, Long-Tailed Bear and Other Indian Legends; Chris Bennett and Neil McQueen, Sex, Drugs, Violence and the Bible, Thomas Berger, Little Big Man; Thomas Bien & Beveryl, Mindful Recovery: A Spiritual Path to Healing from Addiction; Maeve Binchy, Glass Lake; Jack Black, You Can't Win; Lewis Black, Nothing's Sacred; H.P. Blavatsky, Isis Unveiled : A Master-Key to the Mysteries of Ancient and Modern Science and Theology - Parts 1 & 2; William Blum, Killing Hope: U.S. Military and CIA Interventions; Judy Blume, Summer Sisters; Helen Bonner, The Laid Daughter : A True Story; Paul Bowles, Sheltering Sky; Ray Bradbury, Martian Chronicles; Richard Brautigan; Alexandra Brodsky, Fanny; Smoke Signals: From Eminence to Exile; Kevin Brooks, Candy; Joseph Bruchac, Native American Stories;, Mikhail Afanas'evich Bulgakov, Master and Margarita; David D Burns, Ten Days to Self-Esteem; William S. Burroughs, Naked Lunch; Junky, Nova Express, The Soft Machine, Letters; John Callahan, Do What He Says! He's Crazy!; Anne Cameron, Daughters of Copper Woman; Julia Cameron, Artist's Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity; Roger Caron, Go-boy! : Memoirs of a Life Behind Bars, Jim Carroll, Basketball Diaries, Dry Dreams; Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland; Carlos Castaneda, Teaching of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge; Paul D. Chan, Medicine; Pang Guek Cheng, Culture Shock! Vancouver At Your Door; Ron Chernow, Titan: The Life of Sr. John D. Rockefeller; Agatha Christie, 4:50 From Paddington; James Clavell, Shogun: A Novel of Japan; Beverly Cleary, Mouse and the Motorcycle; Nancy Coffelt, Dogs in Space; Daniel et. al. Cohen, Real Ghosts; Max Allan Collins, The Mummy; Gerard J. Connors, Substance Abuse Treatment and Stages of Change : Selecting and Planning Interventions; Robin Cook,Coma; Tom Cool, Secret Realms; James Fenimore Cooper, Last of the Mohicans; A Narrative of 1757; John Cork, James Bond the Legacy: Forty Years of 007 Movies; Bruce Cotter, When They Won't Quit : A Call to Action for Families, Friends and Employers of Alcohol and Drug-Addicted People; Douglas Coupland, All Families are Psychotic; David T. Courtwright, Forces of Habit: Drugs and the Making of the Modern World; Stephen R. Covey, Seven Habits of Highly Effective People: Restoring the Character Ethic; Stephanie Covington, Woman's Way Through the twelve Steps; Margaret Craven, I Heard the Owl Call My Name, Christy Crowther, Policing Urban Poverty; R. Crumb, R. Crumb´s America; Beatrice Culleton/ Beatrice Mosionier, In Search of April Raintree; Clive Cussler, Sahara; Roald Dahl, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Matilda; Alighieri Dante , Dante´s Inferno; Hilda Roderick Ellis Davidson, Viking and Norse Mythology; Robertson Davies, Fifth Business: A Novel; Angela Davis, Angela Davis: An Autobiography; John H. Davis, Mafia Dynasty: The Rise and Fall of the Gambino Crime Family; Simon De Montfort, Confessions of a Red Sea Smuggler; Thomas De Quince, Confessions of an English Opium Eater;Maggie De Vries, Missing Sarah: A Vancouver Woman Remembers Her Vanished Sister; Anita Diamant, Red Tent; Philip K.Dick, Blade Runner, Scanner Darkly; Charles Dickens, Oliver Twis; Franklin W.Dixon, Hardy Boys (series); Jerry Dorsman, How to Quit Drugs for Good: A Complete Self-Help Guide; Ton Duncan, Advanced Physics; Drug Abuse Handbook; Wayne W.Dyer, Power of Intention: Learning to Co-Create Your World Your Way; Gretchen Edgren, Playboy Book: 50 Years; Cassie Edards, Thunder Heart; Dave Eggers, A Heartbreaking Work Staggering of Genius; Buchi Emecheta, Joys of Motherhood: A Novel; Matthew Engkraf, Valley of Darkness: My Life as a Crack Addict; Timothy Findley, Not Wanted on the Voyage, The last of the crazy people; Jeremy Flint, How to Play Bridge; Alan Foster, Clash Dean of the Titans; Viktor Emil Frankl, Man's Search for Meaning: An Introduction to Logotherapy; Rebecca Fraser, Story of Britain: From the Romans to the Present - A Narrative History; Brian Froud, Good Faeries; Scott Fulop & John L. Goldwater, Archie Americana Series Best of the Eighties; Joan Gadsby, Addiction by Prescription: One Woman's Triumph and Fight for Change; Paul M. Gahlinger, Illegal Drugs : A Complete Guide to Their History, Chemistry, Use and Abuse; Dan George, My Heart Soars; Geronimo, Geronimo´s Story of his own Life; Lara Gilbert, I Might be Nothing: Journal Writing; Sam D.Gill, Dictionary of Native American Mythology; Allen Ginsberg, Howl and other poems; Robert Goddard, Painting the Darkness; Mark S. Gold, Facts About Drugs and Alcohol; Golden Books, The Habbit; William Golding, Lord of the Flies: Molly Goode, Land Before Time: Terence T.Gorski, Staying Sober: A Guide for Relapse Prevention; Goscinny, Asterix the Gaul; Phil G. Goulding, Classical Music: The 50 Greatest Composers and their 1,000 Greatest Works; Kenneth Grahame, Wind in the Willows; Jean Griesser and A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, God Song: A Summary Study of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada's Bhagavad-Gita at it is; John Grisham, Broker, Client; Edward A. Gross, Bruce Lee: Fists of Fury; Arlo Guthrie, Alice's Restaurant; Joel Chandler Harris, Complete Tales of Uncle Remus; Michael G. Harvey, Diary of a Train-Spotter; Ernest Hemingway, Garden of Eden, Old Man and the Sea, Snows of Kilimanjaro and Other Stories; Hermann Hesse, Siddhartha, Steppenwolf; High Times Reader; Christopher Hinz, Liege-Killer; Robert Hoffman, Shards of Reflection, A Solitary Declaration; Robert Ervin Howard, The Bloody Crown of Conan; The Coming of Conan the Cimmerian; Conan the Barbarian; Victor Hugo, Les Miserables; Aldous Huxley, Brave New World, Island; Sekihiko Inui, Comic Party; Washington Irving, Legend of Sleepy Hollow; Maulana Jalal al-Din Rumi, Poems by Rumi; Jerome Klapka, Three Men in a Boat: To Say Nothing of the Dog; Spencer, Who Moved My Cheese? : An A-mazing Way to Deal with Change in your Work and in your Life; Joseph A. Jordan, We Can Make it…Together; Robert Jordan, Wheel of Time (series); John Jung, Psychology of Alcohol and Other Drugs: A Research Perspective; Sebastian Junger, Perfect Storm: A True Story of Men Against the Sea; Norton Juster, Phantom Tollbooth, Franz Kafka, Trial; Edwin B.Kantar, Bridge for Dummies; Charlotte Davis Kasl, Many Roads, One Journey: Moving Beyond the Twelve Steps; Carolyn Keene, Nancy Drew (series); Karen Kelley, Southern Comfort; Alexander King, Mine Enemy Grows Older; Ken Kesey, Sailor Songs, Further, Sometimes a great Notion; Martin Luther King, Jr., Autobiography; Stephen King, Dark Tower, Firestarter, It, Misery, The Stand, Shining; Karen Kingston, Creating Sacred Space with Feng Shui; W.P.Kinsella, Dance Me Outside; Rudyard Kipling, Rikki-tikki-tavi; Caroline Knapp, Drinking: A Love Story; Judith Kohlberg, Conquering Chronic Disorganization; The Koran; Jerzy N..Kosinski, Painted Bird; Jane Kurtz, L'Amour; Louis Sackett Brand, Sackett's Land, Warrior's Path; Laotse, Tao Te Ching: A New English Version, Timothy Francis Leary: The Politics of Ecstasy, The Psychedelic Experience, Psychedelic Prayer, High Priest; Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird; Martin A.Lee , Acid Dreams: The Complete Social History of LSD: the CIA, the Sixties, and Beyond; Stan Lee, How to Draw Comics the Marvel Way; Billie Letts, Where the Heart Is: A Novel; Clive Staples Lewis, Chronicles of Narnia (series); Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, The Song of Hiawatha; Walter Lord, Night to Remember, A; Elizabeth Lowell, Warrior; Alex Lucas, Great Canadian Short Stories; Robert Ludlum, The Bourne Identiy, The Parcifal Mosaic; Mary M.Luke, A Crown for Elizabeth; Ann-Marie MacDonald, R.C. Macleod, Way the Crow Flies; The North West Mounted Police and Law Enforcement, 1873-1905; Hazel Martell, Hammer of the Gods; Stephen G. Maurer, Bannock Book: Food for the Outdoors; Alfred W.McCoy, Politics of Heroin: CIA Complicity in the Global Drug Trade, Frank McLynn, Napoleon: A Biography; Drunvalo Melchizedek, Ancient Secret of the Flower of Life; Herman Melville, Moby Dick; Frank Miller, Sin City (series); Sue Miller, While I Was Gone; Kate Millett, Politics of Cruelty: An Essay on the Literature of Political Imprisonment; Earl L. Mindell, Earl Mindell's Pill Bible, Mistry, Rohinton, Family Matters, A Fine Balance; Margaret Mitchell, Gone with the Wind; Lorrie Moore, Self Help; Robin Moore, French Connection: The World's Most Crucial Narcotics Investigation; Toni Morrison, Jazz; Melvin Morse, Where God Lives: The Science of the Paranormal and How our Brains are Linked to the Universe; Farley Mowat, Never Cry Wolf; Alice Munro, Runaway: Stories; Jon J. Murakami, Enter the Dragons; Emily Ferguson Murphy, Black Candle; Narcotics Anonymous Step Working Guides; National Geographic Society, National Geographic Atlas of the World; Linda Nochlin, Women, Art and Power: And Other Essays; John O'Brian, Leaving Las Vegas; Theodore V.Olsen, Soldier Blue; Alfonso Ortiz, Pow Wow Book; Outlaw Bible of American Literature; Oxford Spanish Dictionary; Alan Padsadowski, Recovering from Addiction; Zena Al Pearlstone, Katsina: Commodified and Appropriated Images of Hopi Supernaturals; M. Scott Peck, Road Less Traveled: A New Psychology of Love, Traditional Values, and Spiritual Growth, Charles Perrault, Little Red Riding Hood, Pinkney, Andrea Davis, Let it Shine: Stories of Black Women Freedom Fighters.Clark H. Pinnock, Four Views on Hell; Edgar Allan Poe: The Black Cat, Great Tales of Terror, The Raven, Tales of Edgar Allan Poe, The Tell Tale Heart; Bruce Porter, Blow: How a Small-Town Boy Made $100 Million with the Medellin Cocaine Cartel and Lost it All; J.B. Purdy, First One is Free, Mario Puzi, Godfather; Richard Reichert, Teaching Sacraments to Youth; Stephen R. Rementer, Essential Guide to Handguns: Firearm Instruction for Personal Defense and Protection; Hans Augusto Rey, Curious George; Anne Rice, Blood Canticle; Conrad Richter, Light in the Forest; Kimberla Lawson Roby, Taste of Reality; Frederick Rotgers, Responsible Drinking: A Moderation Management Approach for Problem Drinkers; J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter (series); Ronald A. Ruden, Craving Brain: A Bold New Approach to Breaking Free from Drug Addiction, Overeating, Alcoholism, Gambling; Rebecca Rupp, Return of the Dragon; Robert Sabbag, Snowblind: A Brief Career in the Cocaine Trade; Saint-Exupery, Antoine de, Petit Prince; Jerome David Salinger, Catcher in the Rye; Brenda Schaeffer, Is it Love or Addiction?; Richard Evans Schultes, Lost Amazon: The Photographic Journey of Richard Evans Schultes; Roebuck Sears and Company, Sears Catalog; Alice Sebold, Lovely Bones: A Novel; Barbara Seuling, How to Write Songs and Get the Published With Publishers; Greg Sharon & Adam Sharon, Cheech and Chong Bible; Lonny Shavelson, Hooked: Five Addicts Challenge Our Misguided Drug Rehab System; Sidney Sheldon, Master of the Game; Nina Shengold, Clearcut; Alexie Sherman, Smoke Signals: A Screenplay; Lee Smith, Saving Grace; Nicholas Sparks, Notebook; Star Trek (series) Star Wars (series); Bram Stoker, Dracula; Gareth Strotnik, Running Tough: The Story of Vancouver's Jack Diamond; Amy Tan, Kitchen God's Wife; Quentin Tarantino, Pulp Fiction; Hugh Thomas, Spanish Civil War; Hunter S.Thompson, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream, Hell's Angels: A Strange and Terrible Sage; Leonard Thompson, Monteath, History of South Africa; Greg Tobin, Council; John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, The Hobbit, Lord of the Rings (series); Eckhart Tolle, Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment; Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace; Anthony Trollope, West Indies and the Spanish Main; Kurt Vonnegut, Breakfast of Champions, or Goodbye Blue Monday!; Kurt Vonnegut, Sirens of Titan; Robert James Waller, Bridges of Madison County; Minette Walters, Fox Evil, Sculptress; Joseph Wambaugh, Onion Fields; Charlene Weir, Up in Smoke; Sheila W. Wellington, Be Your Own Mentor: Strategies from Top Women on the Secrets of Success; H.G. Wells, Time Machine; Irvine Welsh, Trainspotting; Bernelda Wheeler, I Can't Have Bannock, but the Beaver Has a Dam; Elwyn Brooks White, Charlotte's Web, William L. White, Slaying the Dragon: The History of Addiction Treatment and Recovery in America; David R.Wilkerson, Cross and the Switchblade; Gail Winger, Handbook on Drug and Alcohol Abuse: The Biomedical Aspects; Donald Woods Winnicott, Playing and Reality; Tom Wolfe, Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test; Malcolm X, Autobiography of Malcolm X; Irvin D.Yalom, Theory and Practice of Group Psychotherapy.