Words: Sasha Wentges
Place: Banff New Media Institute - Banff, Alberta
Time: 6/2/00 - 6/4/00
Digital Video,Photography,Design (html,flash): Michael Alstad
>>special thanks to Sara Diamond, Caroline Thebault, Laurie Clark and the Canada Council for the Arts for making it possible to travel to Banff

 

With all its gaze the animal sees openness. Only our eyes are as if reversed, set like traps all around it free forthgoing. What is outside we know from the face of the animal only; for we turn even the youngest child around and force it to see all forms backwards, not the openness so deep in the beast's gaze. Free from death...And we, onlookers, always, everywhere, our face turned to it all and never from! It overfills us. We control it. It breaks down. We re-control it, and break down ourselves. Who turned us round like this, so that no matter what we do, we have the air of somebody departing? As a traveler on the last hill, for the last time seeing all the home valley, turns, and stands, and lingers-so we live forever taking leave.

-Rainer Maria Rilke; Eighth Duino Elegy

As I write this article, Pierre Elliot Trudeau's death is at the fore-front of all the press and the first thing issued out of people's mouths. In this morphing and d/evolving world, is there anything we can change about the culture and institutions of contemporary liberalism? Flashback to my experience in the great Canadian wilds; my three-day sojourn into the breathtaking power centre 'Banff'. An over-overwhelming, awe-inspiring, totally exhaustive pleasure cruise for the senses.

We arrive at the headquarters of the Banff Arts Institute, after navigating our way through the city of Calgary, and a wondrous bus-trip through the Rockies. I overhear eight different languages being spoken. Ah, memories of travel. I am seated next to an Australian who informs me that my country is 'totally awesome, mate'...'I agree, uh, dude'. He mistakes me for an American. 'Eh?'

There are signs everywhere warning us of dangerous elk. Sloughing off my urban armour for some more appropriate wildlife attire, I inquire as to what the danger may be. It turns out that the elk are in mating season and might charge at you, if you disturb them. Gulp! Great. Ah, to mate with elk, how scrumptious

CONTINUE>>

left to right: Roy Ascott, Sara Diamond, Heath Bunting
on table in front of Heath: SuperWeed