2018 - present

camera obscura

These video clips were taken through a camera obscura. The windy cedar is at the wetlands near where I live. The water here meanders to the generous river which flows through the unceded, ancestral lands of the Stó:lō - people of the river. I have been learning more about this beautiful river valley, this land cared for by the Stó:lō people since time immemorial and on whose land I’ve lived for most of my life as an uninvited settler.

Two years ago I was working in my studio and the idea of making a camera obscura popped into my head. A camera obscura is a technological ancestor of the camera dating back to 4th century China where you have a dark room with a little hole in the wall; the light rays from the outside squeeze through the tiny hole and project an upside down view onto an interior wall. To make the image sharper you add a lens on top of the hole. That afternoon I watched a YouTube video and built a camera obscura out of cardboard, duct tape, and a magnifying lens. Since then I have spent time observing the seasonal changes in my surroundings using the camera obscura. The image is softer and draws your focus to what is exactly in front of the lens.

Currently I am working on a portable room-sized camera obscura that I will be able to install temporarily in parks and natural areas. Intended to help bring our attention to the land in a new way, the camera will be a free mobile public art installation that provides a way to pause and contemplate the presence and steadfastness of the land. 

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