Portfolio > reading wild lands

Works in this series:

reading wild lands, 2018
HDV 1080p
22 min 32 sec

reading wild lands (dispersal 6-18-048-02 W5)
HDV 1080p
6 min 21 sec

Iron filings and magnets become tools of divination as a dowser conducts a site reading of a drill cutting samples from orphan wells in Alberta. Accessed at the Alberta Energy Regular's Core Research facility, the artist conducts "site readings", allowing the well sites to speak through the movements and formations of various tools and materials. Orphan wells are oil and gas wells that have no legally responsible or financially able party to deal with their abandonment and remediation. Thousands of these sites exist across Alberta threatening to contaminate land, water, and air. In this series, dowsing is re-imagined as a technology for remediation. One that might allow us to re-consider our relationship to care in relation to sites contaminated by the oil and gas industry. Please contact hello@alanabartol.com for link and password to full videos. For preview, click image below.

"Bartol's choice to use dowsing—a practice that has been challenged for its scientific validity, and which is based on ideas of attunement between the dowser and their environment— employs humour as means to speak to the potential limitations of a strictly scientific understanding of these areas' ecological health. In this framing, the work could be understood to invite consideration of the problematic use of remediation as a form of greenwashing for industrial activities that can have lasting, and sometimes irreparable effects."
-Jacqueline Bell, Walter Phillips Gallery

Thank you to Canada Council for the Arts for a grant in support of this work