Bill Vazan's Vandalism

An incisive article by Beverley Haun in the latest issue of the Rapa Nui Journal discusses the "aesthetic aggression" of Montreal artist Bill Vazan, who traveled to Easter Island in 2005 and built 11 stone "landworks" at the island's archaeological sites. Vazan neglected to obtain prior permission for his project, which he carried out in secret.

When the Chilean authorities discovered Vazan's activities, he was arrested, tried, fined US$5,000, and banned from the island for two years. Thirty-six rolls of his film were publicly destroyed, but Vazan managed to hide 80 color slides which he smuggled back to Canada.

Vazan's rather insensitive account of the affair titled "Pacific Prison" appears in the magazine Canadian Art. Vazan clearly violated the traveler's golden rule "take only photos, leave only footprints" by arrogantly defacing the archaeological sites with his graffiti. I think he got off lightly.

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