The Distance Between Two Points is
Measured in Memories, Labrador 1988
A series of 18 assemblages.
medium: each assemblage includes 2 black & white
photographs and one story panel, selenium-toned silver prints; a memory
map drawn by a participant, pencil on paper; and most include a found
natural object from the site.
works from the series
are in the following collections:
Canada Council Art Bank; Department of Foreign Affairs, Government of
Canada; Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, Provincial Art Bank;
MacKenzie Art Gallery, Regina; National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa;
Oakville Galleries; The Rooms Provincial Art Gallery, St. John's;
Dalhousie Art Gallery, Halifax.
I have been working on the
relationship between human experience and the landscape. For the past
10 years I have worked in remote areas where most of my projects and
landworks were related to the "natural" aspects of the sites. Then I
became interested in what we would call the "cultural": the people who
have lived closest to these places. I began to understand that there
are certain things about their lives which are being left behind —
certain things that matter to them, their experiences of the world
which are so different from my own. From these encounters with elderly
country people I developed the works which are titled The Distance
Between Two Points is Measured in Memories.
These assemblages include a photograph of the person, some of the story
they told me (in their own words), and a "memory map" they drew for me
of how they remember their environment. I follow these maps to see the
places they have described, and then photograph one of the landmarks on
the map and collect, where appropriate, an object from the landscape.
The most recent assemblages are from northern Labrador where I met
elderly people from the three different groups who live there: the
native Inuit and Naskapi Innu, and the Euro-Canadians who are called
Settlers in Labrador.
Most of their stories (native and Settlers) revolve around a sadness at
the loss of nature in their lives, now that they live in communities.
The increasing urbanization of the world worries me and it was in
meeting these people that I got the greatest sense that something has
been lost in the way we live now. I don't want to suggest that their
lives are romantic; no one would wish that traditional peasant life
continue exactly as it was. But these people make sense of their place
It seems to me now that the ideological distinctions we (western
industrial society) have made between nature and culture have separated
us from the non-human part of the world, reinforcing the idea that
nature exists separate from us. This has brought me to the belief that
there needs to be a re-connection between what is experienced as
culture and what is experienced as nature.
Marlene Creates, 1989
A publication of the complete series is
The Distance Between Two Points is Measured in Memories,