project team


haida gwaii museum
IKB learning centre
VIVO media arts centre
gulf of georgia museum






Gulf of Georgia Cannery Museum Exhibition

Catch + Release: Mapping stories of cultural and geographic transition, an art exhibition in the Gulf of Georgia Cannery Museum National Historic Site, Steveston, BC took place in May, 2010. The exhibition included interactive sculptures, video interviews, and an interactive and immersive projection by Ruth Beer in collaboration with Kit Grauer and Jim Budd and with the assistance of several students from Emily Carr University of Art + Design and Simon Fraser University.

The exhibition composed of a video mosaic of interviews, a series of geologically-inspired and marine related sculptures, and an interactive projection focus on the coastal salmon fishing industries as a means for considering the geocultural history and future of Canada’s West Coast region. The exhibition includes projected visual translations of data from NEPTUNE, Canada’s underwater marine observatory in the Strait of Georgia and the Pacific Ocean west of Vancouver Island. The visual patterns of the projected transmission of visually patterned information  are disrupted by visitors’ presence, drawing a parallel to our impact on the local and global ecology. The accumulated scientific data in the projection echoes the implied accretion of mineral material in the sculpture formations and the collection of diverse perspectives on the salmon industry presented in the video - referring to both cultural and geological time.

The video reflects the non-linear and artistic approach taken towards researching salmon, the ecological and economic catalyst of the region. It presents individual stories, and a collage of video excerpts culled from the interviews with people of various cultural and professional backgrounds sought out to create a complicated and kaleidoscopic view of the region.

Catch + Release examines salmon from a contemporary and interdisciplinary perspective to create an interactive and diverse social portrait of the geocultural landscape. The goal was to insert a diverse range of voices and opinions about the salmon industry into the temporary exhibition space to make visitors more aware of their relationship to the local ecology. In this way, the project aimed not to create an exhibition in the space, but rather to use the space to exhibit the place in which it was situated.

Beer has created large dark geomineral-like sculptures that filled the long space next to the canning line. From beneath these forms, coloured LED lights rotating through a spectrum of 200 colours, radiated a pool of light of concentric rings. Sensor activated interactive lights were effected by the proximity of viewers to the artwork.

The exhibition also included the interactive presentation of stories collaged from interviews conducted with people with diverse perspectives on salmon and the fishing industry.

A third component of the exhibition was a large projection that visually translated scientific information (eg. audio and other data: temperature, current, oxygen, and salinity) picked up by NEPTUNE, Canada’s ocean observatory, and their underwater sensors in the Strait of Georgia and the ocean west of Vancouver Island to underscore how our present circumstance relates to past history and impacts the future. The projection, entitled “Disrupting Currents,” is interactive; museum goers’ movement disrupts the constantly evolving image patterns derived from areas historically rich in salmon.   The accumulated scientific data in the projection echoed the accretion of mineral material in the geological/mineral sculpture formations, referring to—both cultural and geological—time.