Geologic Time at Stanley Glacier
Cover Story, October 2017
We are looking for glimpses of life as it was over half a billion years ago. In sight of the snout of the Stanley Glacier in Kootenay National Park, lie deposits of Burgess Shale, a rock famous for its exceptional preservation of hitherto unknown, and frankly bizarre, soft-bodied marine creatures.
From 11 September–6 October, Latitudes led Geologic Time, a thematic residency programme at the Banff International Curatorial Institute of the Banff Centre for Art and Creativity in Alberta, Canada. With Justy Phillips & Margaret Woodward (A Published Event), based in Hobart; Semâ Bekirovic, based in Amsterdam; Caitlin Chaisson, based in Vancouver; Becky Forsythe, based in Reykjavik; Chloe Hodge, based in London; Shane Krepakevich, based in Toronto; Caroline Loewen, based in Calgary; Penelope Smart, based in St. John’s, Newfoundland; and Camila Sposati, based in São Paulo, we were thinking with geology as a tool to consider non-conventional, deep-time perspectives on curating, exhibition making, and contemporary art. We benefitted from the generosity of artist Sean Lynch, guest of our programme in its third week. His incisive contributions triggered us to crack things further apart, to find their digressions, mineralizations, fallings apart, and latencies, as well as to exploit his “green door knob theory”.
We did not worry too much about where our research was taking place, or in what form. As well as prospecting for fossils in Kootenay, we wandered around the site of an abandoned coal mine, spent hours amongst papers and projected PowerPoint slides, walked, talked, and soaked in hot spring water while attempting a seminar on the acheiropoietic. Likewise, we did not trouble ourselves a great deal with distinctions between works of art, crocoite, cosmic rays, old clastics, trilobites, glaciers, PDFs, rhubarb, nunataks, a buried Oldsmobile, databases, debris, tar sands, free fall, a garden in the shape of Jerry Hall, minerals from the mountains in Stöðvarfjörður, or holdings of bound sheaves of paper, as much as how such things and substances might variously be understood as “storied matter”. Rock is hard.