The Distance Between Two Points is Measured in Memories,
One of my purposes with this series of works is to present my own province (in particular, the invisible part of my province: Labrador) not only to Newfoundlanders but also to other parts of my country.
This work was completed—indeed, calculated—to compensate for the prevailing images of Labrador as a pristine, untouched wilderness where there is no one, and where no one has lived. In fact, two distinct First Nations (Innu and Inuit) as well as Euro-Canadians (known as Settlers) have a profound grasp of the Labrador landscape because of their long history there.
These Labradorians, as it were, continued fishing, hunting, and trapping when Newcomers arrived in the 1940s to establish a large airforce base at Goose Bay for use in the Second World War. Today, an international agreement between five NATO countries (Canada, the United States, Britain, West Germany, and the Netherlands) governs military activities at Goose Bay. Since 1981 vast areas of Labrador have been used for low-level jet bomber flight training. And actual bombing practice ranges were designated on the land and at sea off the Labrador coast.
Because of the 'wilderness' image (promoted by governments, the tourism industry, and even more idealistically in some current visual art), Labrador has been perceived as a no-man's-land, an empty landscape, and as such, an appropriate setting for such violent and contemptible activities as low-level flying and bombing. Few Canadians know anything about what is in operation in Labrador.
The militarization of Labrador does not appear explicitly in this work; instead, the series of assemblages presents some of the native people and the Settlers, their personal stories, and their descriptions of the Labrador landscape as their homeland.
Marlene Creates, 1990
A publication of the complete series is available:
The Distance Between Two Points is Measured in Memories, Labrador 1988