SHORE/LINES: The Boat

Shore/Lines installation

Le Bateau (The Boat) by Gilles Bruni and Marc Babarit

Kidd Creek Ravine, Sunnidale Park, July/August 2003

The full title of this installation is "Le Bateau, entre proue et poupe: assembler une coque pour transporter l'eau au lac et construire une cabine pour amener les journaux dans la foret" which translates to "The Boat, between bow and stern: to assemble a hull to transport water to the lake and to construct a shack to bring the newspapers in the forest."

Seriously. That's what the artists named it. But I just call it "The Boat." This exhibit was particularly interesting because I ran into several groups of people while I was photographing it. In particular, one older gentleman was very perplexed and asked me "do you have any idea what this is supposed to be?" My first response was simply "art." But then we engaged in conversation for a bit, and by the end he proclaimed -- with some enthusiasm -- that he was going to "find out more about this." (His companion didn't seem so sure.) Could it possibly be that I turned somebody on to an alternative art form?

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The attraction to the bed in Kidd Creek, a historical site of portage between Lake Simcoe and Georgian Bay, was born of its encasing -- a wet zone in a wooden corridor containing many dead trees. The mortified aspect of the site signaled a probable submersion, which we rapidly connected to the local environmental problems: between a search for purity -- the surrounding water springs -- and the pollution from the savage landfills. The problematic also references the history of the Canadian forestry industry: over-exploitation and planned disappearance of the Northern forests ("the Boreal mistake"). The image of a wilderness -- a savage nature -- is already a myth.

- Gilles Bruni and Marc Babarit

Okay then. I think I get it. Especially the part about how the Canadian forestry industry is evil.

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Shore/lines: responding to place / William Moore [et al.]
Catalogue of an outdoor environmental sculpture exhibition,
held May 1 - Oct. 30, 2003 at 12 sites around Barrie, Ont.
ISBN 0-9693555-6-4

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