- Katherine Dennis
Annie Briard: In Possible Lands
In Possible Lands pairs superimposed photographs of landscapes — one image captured 45 years ago by the artist’s father, and the other a present-day image taken by Annie Briard at the same location—that together evoke a sense of wonder with their vivid colours and majestic yet familiar subjects. But examined up close, they reveal a world altered by human action.
On repeated long-haul hikes across Western Canada and the United States, the artist has been documenting a rapidly changing environment where, trip to trip, the evidence of climate change has become impossible to overlook.
Briard was struck by the connections she saw between these photographs and an archive of slides her father took years earlier, as he traveled from Quebec to British Columbia while studying geology. Each image of In Possible Lands compresses the time gap between these two sources. By looking at the changing landscape, the artist meditates on these visible as well as unseen human impacts. The resulting photographic works offer us a medium to see into the future, asking: How do we read the past and understand the present to make predictions about what is to come?
"Three slide projectors blend, at random, slides from my father’s archive. Photographs taken during his travels across Canada 45 years ago working on the railway, and my own slides from my own visits to the same locations.
A newly formed image is composed by chance and then re-photographed offering prescient insights into our future lands as they transform from our shifting climate."
Due to the current global health crisis, many people have been forced to slow down and stay close to home. As a result, our land use, among myriad other things, has changed swiftly. In only one short month, we saw (temporary?) measurable reductions in air pollution. Our relationship to landscapes nearby—accessible through daily walks around parks such as Lafarge Lake in Coquitlam where this work was exhibited - as well as to faraway places, now visible only through digital technology, have been dramatically altered in a way so few people foresaw.