Artwork > Processes of Remediation at Campbell River Art Gallery

Toil and Trouble, installation view
Toil and Trouble, installation view
HD, 10:14

Watch a short preview here.

A witch’s cauldron bubbles. Amidst swirling smoke, images of invasive plants, including Yellow Flag Iris, Himalayan Blackberry, and Scotch Broom, materialize. An industrial roar from a mine in ‘care and maintenance’ reverberates in the forest. Charcoal drawings of native plants to the unceded traditional territory of the Liǧʷiɫdax̌ʷ people (the Campbell River, BC region) dissolve and re-form as if by magic, speaking to plants' intelligence, growth cycles, and regeneration.

During a residency with Campbell River Art Gallery in 2023, I visited the Quinsam Coal Mine near Campbell River, BC, Canada, a mine which has been in 'care and maintenance' since it declared bankruptcy in 2019. 'Care and maintenance' is supposed to be a temporary closure, but instead, it has become a loophole exploited by the mining industry to dodge reclamation commitments. Like orphan wells (another topic I have explored), abandoned mines sit like open wounds on the Earth while industry walks away. Quinsam had both open pit and underground mining. The area is now overrun with invasive species, the industrial blast of an air blower never stops (if it does, coal dust could cause an explosion), and effluent from the mine continues to be discharged into the Quinsam Lake Subbasin. In the video, I incorporate photographs I took of invasive species and a photograph and sound recording of the surface air blower at the mine site. It also includes my drawings of native plant species on water-soluble paper. These plants are in a seed mix that gallery visitors were invited to take at the Campbell River Art Gallery iteration of the exhibition Processes of Remediation.