Douglas Coupland is a Canadian novelist, visual artist and designer. He expresses what he sees in both low and high culture, technology and its impact on human evolution and our existence.
He became the voice of a generation with his 1991 novel, Generation X, and since then has published more than a dozen novels and short story collections as well as several works of nonfiction, including a 2010 biography of Marshall McLuhan. He has written and performed for England’s Royal Shakespeare Company and created a 13-episode TV series based on his novel, jPod.
An art school graduate, in recent years he amplified his visual art production and his work has been central to numerous international solo and group shows, including works in the exhibition ‘Electronic Superhighway’ at the Whitechapel Gallery, London, and Bit Rot at the Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art in Rotterdam, and Villa Stücke in Munich.
Coupland is a contributor to the New York Times, e-flux, DISonline, Artsy, Vice online and has a fortnightly column with the FT Weekend Magazine in London. In 2015-16, he spent two years as an artist in residence with the Google Cultural Institute in Paris. The Director of the Institute commented: “…he’s one of the most impactful people around. We just jumped at the opportunity.”
Coupland is a member of the Royal Canadian Academy, an Officer of the Order of Canada, and of the Order of British Columbia, a Chevlier de l’Order des Arts et des Lettres and receiver of the Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Literary Excellence.
His LG Award cited: “After his Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture gave rise to a moniker for a generation, he has produced a widely praised and startlingly original body of work…an accomplished visual artist and designer, Douglas Coupland continues to take risks as a literary artist rather than rely on his reputation as a pop culture analyst.”
Everything is Anything is Anywhere is Everywhere:
His visual exhibit ‘Everything is Anything is Anywhere is Everywhere’ at the Vancouver Art Gallery, The Royal Ontario Museum and the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art was described as the first major museum exhibition of one of Canada’s most celebrated artists. Divided into five sections, the exhibition addressed the key themes Douglas Coupland uses to probe modern life, including By using imagery and objects laden with symbolic meaning for Canadians, Coupland created a “secret handshake” not easily understood by others, questioned whether ‘Canadianness’ should still be defined by a relationship with nature, wondering at the frailty of some of the national systems that bind us together, and considering the possibilities of the future.
Bring me the Head of Vincent Van Gogh
For his 2016 installation of ‘Redheads’ he crowdsourced the globe searching for Vincent Van Gogh lookalikes. The project and resulting 3-D scanned bronze sculpture was revealed in spring 2017, at a special pre-conference adventure for attendees of the TED conference in Vancouver Canada. The project is meant to trigger discussion about new relationships between science, art and globalization. Coupland explains: “…redheadedness is the most recent successful human mutation – there is no way of telling when a gene is going to change, and what sort of characteristic it will bring about. This genetic magic is a microcosm of the way in which all life on earth changes with time. I want this first bronze piece to be eternal but I also want it to be imbued with the twenty-first century.”
Berlin Stage Spotlight:
In 2017 he was commissioned by Konica Minolta to speak to their Spotlight audience in Berlin, where he provided “fascinating insight into how technology is changing our everyday lives, how we think, how we approach work, and how our brains are hardwired.”