greetings lid lovers!
As I like to do, I travelled back home to the Kawarthas recently. I was recording an audio tour of a museum exhibit and interviewing students at the Community Innovation Forum.
While recording the audio tour, I had the opportunity to think about what it means to see, and not see. Always asking ourselves whether this was a supplement to a visual, or stand alone piece of audio. So naturally, I ended taking some pictures with my fellow producer and interlocutor, at a museum.
Even during the walk there, I was reminded of how the mighty river that runs through our home is seen merely in the shadow of the industries that encroach on its banks. The history of that river is being written as if the river were a convenience for industry. This narrative continues as we visually explore the museum.
A reminder of the legacy of GE. The company that processes spent uranium rods in a residential neighbourhood, that can’t leave because of the cost to clean up said uranium. And the old crest which proclaims “Nature Provides and Industry Develops.” It makes it seem as if these things are consonant, when all I hear is dissonance. When it comes to manufacturing and the damming of the river, industry developed at the expense of what nature could provide.
A diorama of a classic country home from the 19th century reminds me of the old map, when homes were country homes, not suburban ticky tack. Then the museum manager’s strange vanity project made from literal ticky tack.
More dissonance. The corn in the glass case, lit by fluorescents. When removing any of these items from their original context, it provides a unique kind of dissociation with nature. The tie that binds them in the continual narrative of how manufacturing built this town on what nature had once provided. The dioramas of canoes in glass cases also removed the canoe from its habitat and places into the context of how industrious settlers came here, took an indigenous form and turned it into economic growth. Is corn a historic relic? Because I ate corn last night. Are canoes a historic relic? Because I’m going canoeing later this spring.
As you leave the museum, you see this. The abandoned tower of what was once a clock factory. A stark reminder that when you plunder nature to serve industry, sometimes industry leaves. And what you are left with is a monument to capitalism’s uncaring, whereas nature provides, it always cares for you, if you care for it.
This is one of my favourite pictures to take, and I will take it as often as I pass it. Unbeknownst to me, my weekend of talking to the future of industry in my hometown and talking about sights vs sounds in a museum turned out to come together. The students I recorded that weekend were starting to work with nature, instead of against it, and I could see the old historical narratives fade into new ones.
Thanks for the peak.