The launch of our 2014 Chilkoot Trail residency project at the Yukon Arts Centre!
Jessica Auer and Andreas Rutkauskas present “Out of Office”
December 8, 2016 – February 25, 2017
Opening reception, December 8th at 6pm (Jessica will be in attendance)
300 College Drive, Whitehorse, Yukon
Created during the Chilkoot Trail Artist Residency, works from Out of Office deal with the social and cultural climate of a present-day wilderness experience. In 2014, we hiked and camped along the Chilkoot trail for fourteen days, from Dyea, Alaska to Bennett, British Columbia, making portraits of other backpackers with a 4×5” view camera. Originally used as a Tlingit First Nation trade route, the Chilkoot Trail saw major traffic and development during the 1898 Klondike Gold Rush. Despite its relatively remote location and the technical challenges of 19th Century photographic technology, this significant world event was well documented. While referring to this photographic archive, our images speak directly to the experience of life on the trail. These portraits also show how landscape can bring a diverse range of people together. Like the photographs of the Stampeders who travelled this route during the Klondike Gold Rush, these backpacker portraits provide an anthropological perspective; yet also speak to the role of the participant-observer, in this case, the artists in residence.
Unboxing Sheep Camp – Video component
The term ‘unboxing’ refers to a particular style of Internet video whereby a typical consumer records and subsequently publicly posts the act of opening and unpacking an item. Typically the objects of unboxing videos are expensive and technology-related, however as the phenomenon continues to grow, so has the corresponding range of
items. Unboxing Sheep Camp borrows from the conventions of the unboxing video for our unpacking of a cache of extra food, workshop materials, and sheet film that was stored at a backcountry campground along the Chilkoot trail. Being afforded the luxury of hoarding supplies, which is denied to other hikers, we were able to enjoy extravagant items including a full jar of peanut butter, cans of rice pudding, and extra toilet paper.
Artist in Residence, do you copy? – Sound installation
As an organizational method of communication and for safety, staff along the Chilkoot trail, including the artist in residence, are expected to report for radio call-ins twice daily at predetermined times. Artist in residence, do you copy? is an audio work made up of excerpts from these transmissions. Fascinated with how this procedure revealed
the operational logistics that remain out of sight for most trail users, we began capturing the daily routine using a portable audio recorder. While the majority of this communication involves relaying weather conditions, hiker traffic along the trail, and other notable events, the selected snippets in this piece are edited together to highlight the challenges of communicating in a remote and rugged environment.
Many thanks to Parks Canada, The US National Parks Service and The Yukon Arts Centre for their support, and to all the hikers and trail workers we met along the Chilkoot Trail, thank you for taking part in this project . To all the people who ever traveled this route, from the Tlingit First Nation traders to the Stampeders of the Klondike Gold Rush, we appreciate the traces left for us to follow.