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Douglas Coupland

Artist, Author & Innovator

Douglas Coupland is a Canadian novelist, visual artist and designer, who became the voice of a generation with his novel Generation X and who has expanded his globally respected perspectives on life, art and technology through his voice and visual works ever since.  He expresses what he sees in both low and high culture, technology and its impact on human evolution and our existence.  Douglas is widely viewed as one of the ‘most original commentators on mass culture of the late 20th and the 21st century.’ He recently completed 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.”

Vancouver, BC, Canada

Presentations

Custom Presentation:
Work with Douglas Coupland to brainstorm an experiential talk related to cultural mindset, current events and creativity.

Coupland’s Voice – On Technology & our Superfuture:
“It’s hard to accept that our new superfuture mind state is permanent and that it’s not going away — how could it? Our devices that cause it aren’t going to go away. They’ll just get better and faster and we’re going to embed ourselves in the superfuture ever more deeply.

It makes me wonder if the most important thing we could invent right now would be a technology that takes away our bottomless fear of missing out, our need to read the latest news update, our latest hook-up or our latest upgrade.

What kind of technology would that be? How would it free us from our current superfuture prison? How could it convince us that everything is OK? How do we invent our way out of this mess?

Human beings weren’t built for progress — maybe a bit of change here and there, a bit of adaptability, but not for what we’re now collectively enduring. No animal is built that way. Until recently we lived in a cave or a hut and you assumed our great-great-grandchildren would be living in the same cave or a hut identical to our own; their lives would be in no way different from ours. When did that end — 1850? Dear Industrial Revolution: thanks for nothing…”

  • He’s one of the most impactful people around. We just jumped at the opportunity.

    - Director, Google Cultural Institute, Paris
  • 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.

    - Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Literary Excellence
  • Coupland provided “...fascinating insight into how technology is changing our everyday lives, how we think, how we approach work, and how our brains are hardwired.

    - Konica Minolta
  • He's one of the "most original commentators on mass culture of the late 20th and the 21st century.'

    - The Canadian Encyclopedia

Summary Profile

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.” 

Sample works:

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.”

@FlyANA_official to Japan and back not a good experience. Nothing is what their website says. Every 10 minutes ther… https://t.co/TzjCcNUySk (2017-11-23 10:24:33)
Have a blast — and be inspired — at tonight's Toronto's Gardiner Christmas Tree Gala! #gardinermuseum #12treesgala (2017-11-16 09:07:15)
@CorComm @GreatDismal Hi John Both email addresses bounced back to me. Perhaps there is another option? Hope so! d (2017-11-16 08:03:57)