“What kind of spiritual experience does 'the land' hold for human beings? And what does it mean to feel a deep connection to the land in Canada today?“ These are questions that the CBC program Tapestry asked in a recent episode, now available online.
The questions were inspired by, and explored in, a recent book on the topic called The Good Lands: Canada Through the Eyes of Artists.
In the wake of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and Canada 150 -- and in an era of environmental crisis -- it seems the time is right for an expansion of what 'the land' means. And art is a very powerful way of making meaning.
The book was curated by a diverse group of contributors and includes insightful essays from Lee Maracle and Naomi Fontaine, as well as a foreword from Senator Murray Sinclair, Chief Commissioner of the TRC.
The director of the Daniels Faculty’s Visual Studies programs, Charles Stankievech is among the artists featured in The Good Lands and on Tapestry. Stankievech’s work and research has explored ssues such as the notion of “fieldwork” in the embedded landscape, the military industrial complex, and the history of technology. His project The Soniferous Aether of the Land Beyond the Land Beyond (2013) is highlighted by the book's curators.
“A beautiful work, but it's talking about early warning, about aggression, about defence; [co-curator] Laura Brandon talks about this, you know, Canada's had a militarized landscape for a long time. And we sometimes forget about that." says Victoria Dickenson, one of the curators of the book.
Stankievech was a founding faculty member of the Yukon School of Visual Arts in Dawson City. Since 2011, he has been co-director of the the art and theory press K. Verlag in Berlin. His diverse body of work has been shown in Canada and around the world, including the National Gallery of Canada, the Louisiana Museum in Copenhagen, the Palais de Tokyo in Paris, the Canadian Centre for Architecture in Montreal, and the Venice Biennale.
Last spring, Stankievech gave a talk as part of the Future Environments Art and Architecture in Action event. His 15-minute lecture explored the history of weapons and metallurgy in the arctic, starting with the Inuit and leading into the demand for rare earth elements in the 21st Century, and is available on the Daniels Faculty's YouTube channel.
Image, top: The Soniferous aether of The Land Beyond The Land Beyond by Charles Stankievech