Jamie Ross: Apparition of the Wild

Video installation

November 30 – December 15, 2012
Opening on Friday November 30, 5:30pm

Project Description

Artist, cinematographer and author, Jamie Ross presents an installation comprised of four videos including Two to a Blanket, Feet to the Fire, and Fallow La Friche, accompanied by a book of the same name published by False Flesh Press and Vidéographe.

Apparition of the Wild is a time-based and written exploration of the return of forests to Eastern Ontario. We descend over a landscape weary from centuries of invasion, territorial expropriation, from deforestation. Ross’ camera and pen guide us along an uncommon line of sight into the new forest, striking a tender balance between documenting and dreaming the (re)emergent cultures of the area by giving voice to its people, animate and inanimate. Songs and speech in the polyphonic throng of local tongues brings the continued reality of these cultural communities to the fore. Through the flow of sap, running of airplane and car motors, audio artifacts give agency to non-humans.

Historical actions, speech and narrative are crucial to this understanding of contemporary place. Ross takes heavily from archival recordings, particularly of the timber industry which so radically transformed the landscape and the homosocial spaces of its labouring men. So too have generations of contemporary queer men gathered in sanctuary among the trees, creating powerful magical communities of creative resistance.

The video works approach the emergent history of the rural landscape with a focus on resurgence following collapse, a theme which will serve as oracular as industrialized societies the world over develop resources to the breaking point. Resurgence of indigenous sovereignty, of sustainable subsistence agriculture, and of the diverse forest communities themselves.


1. “When everything else has gone from my brain – the President’s name, the state capitals, the neighbourhoods where I lived, and then my own name and what it was on earth I sought, and then at length the faces of my friends, and finally the faces of my family – when all this has dissolved, what will be left, I believe, is topography: the dreaming memory of land as it lay this way and that.”

– Annie Dillard, An American Childhood

2. Map of the contemporary land claim of the Algonquin Anishinàbe First Nation, negotiated by the governments of Ontario and Canada since 1991

3. Jamie Ross, “Landscape Tongues”, .dpi magazine, no. 23.