Archives of Absence

Welcome to the world of the Berm

In the Summer of 2006, poet Catherine Owen moved to a house in Millwoods, a suburb in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. She thought it had a park at the back, but it turned out to be a berm – a hill designed to separate her neighbourhood from the sounds of the Whitemud Freeway. Both the word ‘berm’ and watching it, writing about it and eventually videotaping it became a daily obsession for her.

By late 2007, she began to collaborate on this project with visual artist Sydney Lancaster. Archives of Absence is the result: a meditation on landscape, the environment, notions of home/alienation and the transformations wrought through art.

This project was launched as a feature event of the Edmonton Poetry Festival in 2011 and included found object installation, gel transfer print works, video, and two handmade chapbooks of poems released by rednettle pressBerm, morning eclogues & Berm: a miscellany.

Sydney and Catherine were  joined at the Edmonton Poetry Festival for the launch of the first iteration of Archives of Absence by musician and composer Thom Golub.

 IMAGES from the  Archives of Absence Project Launch.

Click here to read: A thoughtful discussion of Archives of Absence in relation to ideas of liminality and heterotopia  – written by Anne Pasek, Writer-in-Residence for Latitude 53.

A co-authored essay on this project is here, and this essay is also included in Catalysts, launching April 2012.

Cover of Catalysts, Wolsak & Wynn. Featuring my work on the cover.

This work – along with new additions to the project – was exhibited at the Naess Gallery in Edmonton in September 2012. Images of the work, below:

pre-installation studio shot
artifacts cabinets and gel transfer/mixed media work
all this, and Marilyn too
4th cabinet of found objects
first cabinet of artifacts
bounce and balloons and broken glass
second cabinet of objects from the berm
lists and bottle caps and nerds, oh my!
cabinet 3 of berm artifacts
Berm: Further Liminalities (SOLD)

Catherine has produced a new series of video works for this project, viewable here.

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