Portfolio > If the river ran upwards

If the river ran upwards
Silvina Babich / Alana Bartol / Diane Borsato / Carolina Caycedo / T’uy’t’tanat-Cease Wyss & Anne Riley / Genevieve Robertson
Curated by Jacqueline Bell
June 16 – August 26, 2018
Walter Phillips Gallery, Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity

If the river ran upwards reflects artists’ engagements with regions across the Americas that have been sites of industrial activity. The artist would like to thank Canada Council for the Arts and Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity for their generous support of this work. Installation photos: Jessica Whitman and Brittany Lucas.

Pendulum I (the dowser's pendulum)
aluminum, chain, test tubes with contaminated soil
30.48cm D edition 1 of 2
2018
07-15-001-11 W4
Iron filings, magnets and paper
30.4 x 22.8 cm
2018
10-09-001-07 W4
Iron filings, magnets and paper
30.4 x 22.8 cm
2018
10-32-061-03 W4
Iron filings, magnets and paper
30.4 x 22.8 cm
2018
12-04-039-08 W4
Iron filings, magnets and paper
30.4 x 22.8 cm
2018
13-01-001-20 W4
Iron filings, magnets and paper
30.4 x 22.8 cm
2018
2018

Alana Bartol's video, reading wild lands (2018) depicts two sites in Calgary that were former oil refineries: Inglewood Wildlands and Refinery Park. Both areas have undergone, or are currently undergoing, remediation processes that aim to repair the toxic effects of the refineries on the biological health of these sites.

reading wild lands is a part of an ongoing body of work by Bartol, the Orphan Well Adoption Agency. Through this invented non-profit, the artist uses different methods of dowsing — defined in this context by Bartol as "a form of divination used to locate ground water, sites, oil, and information"—to conduct performative readings of the health of areas which have been impacted in various ways by the oil and gas industry. The readings, undertaken using various tools such as dowsing rods or pendulums, are intended to reframe ideas of care in relation to these ecological sites. In prior works, Bartol has conducted readings of orphan wells within the province of Alberta. Formerly owned by companies that have gone bankrupt, orphan wells are often in an unfortunate state of disrepair and left untended in the landscape. With thousands of these sites located across the province, the work aims to raise awareness of the phenomena, as well as for the need for remediation of such sites.
-Jacqueline Bell

Learn more here: https://www.banffcentre.ca/if-river-ran-upward
Review by Lindsay Sharman in Galleries West: http://www.gallerieswest.ca/magazine/stories/art-and-industry/