Learning from... Chisasibi

Talk, in English, Paul Desmarais Theatre, 25 October 2012 , 7pm

A conversation between artist Thomas Kneubühler and filmmaker Ernest Webb, who explore housing and human migration in a small town on the eastern shore of James Bay. The conversation will be moderated by Alessandra Ponte. Taking the hydroelectric installations in Northern Quebec as his cue, Kneubühler documents how the generation of power touches the land and by extension people’s lives, charting a wider topography of human relations. In Under Currents, he contrasts the flows of rivers and electricity with the movement of both Aboriginals and migrant workers.

Ernest Webb’s Down the Mighty River series portrays the Rupert River just before its destruction for hydroelectricity, shedding light on the cultural and environmental impacts of the project on areas including Webb’s hometown, Chisasibi. Their inquiry into the specific pressure that the search for new sources of energy places on relations between men and to their environment prefigures a wider debate on urban growth and the meaning of progress.

This lecture is part of the Learning from… series. Learning from… Boomtowns examines human migration and housing in three regions. Artist Thomas Kneubühler and filmmaker Ernest Webb observe the effects of the James Bay hydroelectric dams on native communities in Northern Quebec. Architect Paulo Moreira analyzes the destruction of an informal settlement to make way for denser housing in Luanda, the capital of oil-rich Angola. A film by Ai Weiwei documents the process of designing a luxury villa precinct in Ordos, a coal city in northwest China.


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