North, In­ter­rupted


Session Title:

  • New Environmental Art Practices on Landscapes of the Polar Regions; Politics, Emotion and Culture (FARFIELD 1)

Presentation Title:

  • North, In­ter­rupted




  • Panel: New Environmental Art Practices on Landscapes of the Polar Regions; Politics, Emotion and Culture (FARFIELD 1)

    In this paper, I will ad­dress ways in which the North is ac­cessed, un­der­stood, ex­pressed and re­de­fined through re­mote ac­cess to data and meta-phe­nom­e­no­log­i­cal un­der­stand­ings of space, place and the be­ings that in­habit and tra­verse the North.  How is this ma­te­r­ial used to build a new un­der­stand­ing of the North and in what forms? How does that un­der­stand­ing also rely on, and draw from, re­lated non-tech­no­log­i­cal datasets? In cul­tural ex­pres­sions, data gath­ered re­motely (e.g., an­i­mal teleme­try) and data gath­ered from di­rect ex­pe­ri­ence of place, might both con­tribute to a sys­temic struc­ture, chore­og­ra­phy or shape of a work, and also pre­sent al­ter­na­tive ways for artists to ex­press un­der­stand­ings of space, place, his­tory and pol­i­tics. Ex­am­ples of data used in­clude the pres­ence or ab­sence of an­i­mals, hu­mans, plants or tox­ins, or shift­ing bound­aries of an­i­mal mi­gra­tion that defy po­lit­i­cal bor­ders.

    I will dis­cuss ex­am­ples from my own work re­lated to the Cana­dian North as well as the fol­low­ing ex­am­ples from the Cana­dian Arc­tic: an­i­mal tele­met­ric data, maps based on tra­di­tional land-use by in­dige­nous res­i­dents, data re­lated to human land-use (e.g., oil-gas ac­tiv­i­ties), archival and his­tor­i­cal in­for­ma­tion of pas­sages through the Cana­dian North and my own ge­oloca­tive in­for­ma­tion gath­ered trav­el­ing through North­ern Canada. I will dis­cuss how these data are in­ter­preted or man­i­fested in art­works. In my own ex­am­ples, I will dis­cuss par­tic­u­larly how the spaces of the Cana­dian North have been, and con­tinue to be, re­de­fined in our imag­i­na­tions and re­al­i­ties due to human po­lit­i­cal bat­tles over sov­er­eignty, rights to oil and gas, ship­ping routes, etc. In ad­di­tion, I will dis­cuss how the re­cent ac­cess to North­ern spaces – re­motely through data, for in­stance through teleme­try that re­veals habi­tats of an­i­mals that ex­tend be­yond human bor­ders, are af­fected by cli­mate change and human use of land and arc­tic seas, as well as, how such data might pre­sent mys­tery be­yond its dry in­for­ma­tion.


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