Mackenzie Place

WORK IN PROGRESS for 4-channel interactive video installation

Collaboration with Jesse Colin Jackson

Mackenzie Place will be a four-channel interactive and immersive video installation depicting life in the sub-arctic town of Hay River, Northwest Territories. Weather, sun, pedestrian, commercial, and industrial patterns of the site can be observed and manipulated by installation users.

The activities and environment of Hay River will be captured using four cameras directed in the four cardinal directions: due north, south, east and west. Each camera will capture high definition stills at a rate of once per minute for 365 contiguous days. Over the course of the year, a total of 0.5 million images will be captured on each camera and subsequently placed in a database allowing users to have access to over two million images when engaging with the installation.

The placement of the four projections in the installation will mimic the directions captured by the four cameras on site in Hay River. A user will enter the installation as one would enter a room, and will be met with four walls constructed of front projection video screens, each projection itself filling an entire wall. Walking into the space the user faces north and will see projected imagery of the northern region of the town which is largely comprised of institutional infrastructure. Turning to the west the user will see industrial fabric; to the south: commercial and residential fabric; and to the east: the river and the Taiga Shield.

The defining attribute of the arctic and sub-arctic circle is the complete or near complete days filled with daylight in the summer, and total darkness six months later. These shifts in daylight bring with them colossal shifts in temperature. How does this extreme environment affect the day-to-day lives of its inhabitants?

As a tool to help answer these questions users in our installation are able to wield the power of both time and space by selecting time trajectories to be played back on the walls of the installation. On a touch screen interface located at the centre of the projection space, users will have access to tools that assist in selecting stills for playback. Their choices will include: what time intervals they would like the images to be selected from the database (e.g. one image from every minute, or one image from every day at midnight), what rate the images will be played back (e.g. slowly at a rate of one every few seconds, or rapidly at a rate of 30 fps), as well as other subjective parameters (show only images that contain people; or show unique seasons on each screen).

Participants can therefore compare the lived existence of winter in Hay River with that of fall, summer, and spring. They can also witness the slow passage of time as it exists in one complete 360° panoramic view of the town. Mackenzie Place offers a semi-curated, fully malleable experience of life in the arctic.