The 1975 “James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement” (regulating massive hydro-electric projects in Quebec’s North) between the Quebec, Cree and Inuit Nations was based on two guiding principles: first “that Quebec needs to use resources […] all it’s territory, for the benefit of all its people”; and second “that we must recognize the needs of the natives peoples […] who have a different culture and a different way of life […]
The last 40 years are proving that the two principles are at great odds.
While producing enormous amounts of power, the dams discontinued the way of life of the people living in their shadow: threats to food security – release of mercury into the water systems and thus into the food chain, loss of animal habitat; caribou migration patterns; climate change resulting in actual shift of the tree line; relocation of people for convenience; significant social impacts through new connections to the South. This is the classic tale of human interventions displacing what has developed over millennia, applying quick fixes.
The installation of Two Guiding Principles is placed in a spot of disruption on the FIELD, but maybe, if left alone it just might allow us a new perspective on old habits.
Download a pdf of the flyer available at FIELDWORK
The artist gratefully acknowledges the support of the Ontario Arts Council