In previous works we have each been exploring aspects of the social construction of nature and the relationships between humans and other species. During our residency at KIAC we will be developing a new collaborative project that questions modes of species categorization and the resulting imaginations of wildlife as an economic resource.
We plan to create a series of works documenting the fictional search for a rare and mystical plant species that may or may not exist in the Yukon wilderness. This work engages with the popular cultural concept of a ‘cryptid’; an animal or plant whose existence has been suggested but has not been discovered or documented by the scientific community. With this work we ask; what does it means for a species to be ‘known’ to Western science? Is it possible to become unknown in this way? Using our loose narrative as a guide, we will be looking at the history of species identification, methods of categorization and naming, and how they are tied to colonialism and imperial knowledge. Working in Dawson, we will also incorporate a critical approach to Southern Canada’s popular imagination of Northern Canada as both untouched pristine wilderness and the site of environmental disputes around development and resource extraction.
Brad Isaacs is an artist and independent curator based in Toronto, Ontario. He holds an MFA from the University of Western Ontario and has exhibited at galleries such as the McMaster Museum of Art, the Ottawa Art Gallery, Katzman Kamen Gallery, and Hamilton Artists Inc. His work in photography, video and installation investigates the complex relationships between people and nature.
Amanda White is an interdisciplinary Toronto-based artist; she received an MFA from the University of Windsor and is currently a PhD candidate in Cultural Studies at Queen’s University. Her art practice incorporates site-specific and collaborative elements as well as research and writing, examining cultural imaginings of nature with a particular interest in human-plant encounters, interspecies exchange and permaculture. Recent exhibitions and projects include: The Neighborhood Spaces Residency (Windsor), Plug-In ICA (Winnipeg), the Ontario Science Centre, Grow-Op (Toronto), Nuit Blanche (Toronto), and the thematic residency Food, Water, Life at the Banff Centre for the Arts.