Archive for the ‘Research Trip’ Category

Coast to Coast

February 9, 2010

This entire thesis project grew out of an interest in infrastructure; more specifically, the role of what could be called national infrastructures in the development and construction of Canadian Identity. This interest grew into a research trip, part of which was an analysis of the Trans Canada Highway in the form of a cross-country drive from Victoria, BC to Halifax, NS in an 1988 Volkswagon Westfalia.

This project became about how the identity within the country has been framed around ideas of the landscape. The landscape within Canada has always served as an idealized image around which to rally. However, from the beginning Canada has largely been about access to natural resources in order to support both industry and economy.

Rather than see this as two disparate views of the role of landscape within Canada, it became useful to look at the distinction as cultural versus physical or metabolic consumption of the landscape. It became useful to understand infrastructure as an element within a landscape that was not an idealized or pristine wilderness but rather a complex system under constant flux that could be managed responsibly or irresponsibly.

The entire project behind the trip is available at the end of this post in its entirety. However, the following excerpt gives a summation of the ethos of the project and how it led to the conception of the broader design project…

“This panoramic image was conceived of as the meta-landscape made up of the curated images of our experience and observations along the drive across the Trans-Canada Highway system. It represents the beginning of our personal account of the journey. What follows is a set of informal journals, originally conceived of as a blog that was temporarily abandoned due to the absence of internet access in a van. While obviously subjective in nature, the central focus of the project remains the experiment of actually situating ourselves as the individuals at the centre of the experience hopefully giving the project a phenomenological clout it otherwise would not have had.

Viewed this way, landscape provides a way into the question of culture: its value, its perduration, its categories of worthy and unworthy, and the construction of culturebound identity-forming myths. It leads to considerations of how culture subsumes the individual at the same that individual agency helps shape culture, and of how the individual perceives the self as part of a specific culture…‘ -Wendy Joy Darby”

final independent study document_sando thordarson&stephen addeo (sm)