Feminist Bodies in a Posthuman Mountain Imaginary

Inspired by the multiplicity of regions in the Columbia Basin area and the wide range of ecosystems from Valemount, Nakusp and Rossland, to the Tobacco Plains and Canal Flats, in the traditional territories of the Ktunaxa, Sinixt and Sylis, Yaqan nukʔkiy, Secwepemc, səˈxwɛpməx and ʔakisqnuk peoples, this artwork features a series of vignettes filmed in the mountainous communities and water passages surrounding the Basin.

What does a posthuman mountain imaginary look like? How do the watersheds change the ecosystems throughout the Basin region? Can bodies move through these systems without disruption? How do the views from up close vs. far away change these systems?

From afar, nestled in complex rows, the mountains of the Columbia Basin in southeastern British Columbia appear as wondrous, breathtaking and hyper-impenetrable beings. But, up close they are vibrant and seem impervious to human touch, even after long occupation and mineral mining. They hold space for a plethora of organized systems in which trees, plants, water, mycelium threads, linking roots, fungi and other life forms cohabitate, communicate and live in a state of consensus. Yet, even then, these systems, organisms and water passages are competing against and challenging each other and, in a way, co-becoming other (Dooren, 2016). Theorists describe this complex act as a multispecies relationship, which continually re-forms and transitions into something new—revealing more-than-human shared spaces of temporality (Kirksey, 2014; Morton, 2010).

This work creates artistic accounts and movements between history, fiction and figuration—all in response to the ever-changing landscape of the watershed. Referencing recent traditions of art intervention, performance art, land art and the canon of feminist art history and what Donna Haraway calls “vibrant-human actors,” this research seeks to investigate some of these tensions by invoking feminist stewardship (Haraway, 1988; 1997; Hayles, 2008).

created by prOphecy sun
video edit and sound by prOphecy sun
film footage by Darren Fleet and prOphecy sun
medium 7-channel interdisciplinary film installation
developed for Oxygen Art Centre’s Offsite Exhibition, Nelson, BC
generously supported by Columbia Kootenay Cultural Alliance (CKCA) 2019 Major Projects Award
on behalf of the Columbia Basin Trust