Nunavut Lights is a collaborative project exploring visualizations of a photographic archive. The archive – collected and analyzed by our automated system – consists of a growing collection of time-lapsed images captured by a weather webcam in Kimmirut, Nunavut. On June 21st, 2010, the longest day of the year, we started capturing from the webcam. Data is collected four times every hour, twenty-four hours a day. As of May 2012, the archive contains over 60,000 images.
Nunavut Lights is a multi-format project that includes interactive works and short films proposing various experiences of reading the database. The sections below outline the works that evolved out of this project.
Constructed Land by Pierre Tremblay, David Bouchard, Bruno Lessard, Alex Geddie
with Alex Geddie
Constructed Land is an exhibition and multi-format (multi-channel video, interactive projections, sound) project which proposes various experiences of reading this amazing database. The Kimmirut scene remains a constant throughout, but it is transformed, re-imagined, and presented under a different light by each process. The artists have assembled and recombined this vast array of images as new visual compositions representing different facets of this fascinating town on the edges of our imagination.
"The work investigates the role of the webcam as an unbiased and unrelenting image collector, unimpeded by aesthetic judgment, as well as the use of natural data to define structure in time-based media."
Through the multiplicity of a single image, the viewer is given a narrow perspective on this remote landscape, while at the same time exposed to a variety of ways of seeing. Evoking notions of solitude and encroachment, the fragility of "settlement" and the powerful forces of nature, the work exposes us to a region of the country few of us have ever experienced.
An essay by Steven Loft accompanies the exhibition.
One Year In Kimmirut by David Bouchard
Cyber-surveillance in Everyday Life was a group exhibition examining many aspects of surveillance, particularly the growing prevalence of cyber-surveillance in our daily lives and social habits. The exhibition was organized in conjunction with the international workshop of the same name, taking place at the University of Toronto from May 12-15, 2011. The exhibition explores a number of the workshop's central themes, such as the intersections between surveillance and social networking, identity and anonymity, and monitoring techniques. The five works brought together in Cyber-surveillance in Everyday Life address the ubiquitous and distributed nature of surveillance.
Pierre Tremblay's Meta Incognita - Variations Estivales is a time-lapsed video with a musical soundtrack composed by Alex Geddie. The film is constructed from over 500 images taken from a public webcam located in the isolated hamlet of Kimmirut on Baffin Island. Meta Incognita is one element of Nunavut Lights, a larger project based around the custom archive and database developed by the collective to explore the nature of time, aesthetics, and perception
Meta Incognita by Pierre Tremblay, music by Alex Geddie
For its fourth edition, the biennale of artistic exchange across the ocean will be at le Fresnoy Studio national des arts contemporains, Lille, France. The conference will be addressing the theme of light, inspired by the Lumières brothers, who are credited by the invention of cinema, an art whose images have enlightened us for over a century and which is extended in derivations today through electronic media. We will also not ignore what the brothers themselves owed to painting and photography, for example: bright images and light images, technology and aesthetics, physical reality and perception.
The collective presented three papers at the conference around the theme "Nunavut Lights" (Temporalité et Esthétique by Tremblay, Visualiser l’Archive by Bruno Lessard and Programmation, Analyse et Visualisation by David Bouchard). These papers (and their related artworks) represent the collective's initial exploration of the image archive.
A time-lapse through the database showing some image statistics
This project was developed with the support of the Ryerson Creative Grant and the Ontario Arts Council.