Synopses & Reviews
Canadian culture has historically been preoccupied with a relationship to the landscape and rightly so, since geography, more than anything else, has played a major role in determining the Canadian character. Artists in both literature and art have recognized the strong feelings Canadians have when they are confronted with nature. The idea for Spirit in the Landscape originated with filmmaker Richard Kerr who wished to examine the response of contemporary filmmakers to the challenge of the landscape. After reading Gaile McGregor's The Wacousta Syndrome, Kerr was convinced that she had realised a number of points that were basic to the approach of many Canadian artists when they deal with landscape. Her argument, he felt, was particularly pertinent to those artists working in the experimental film community. In the catalogue, Bart Testa discusses the films relative to the writing and the ideas of some of Canad'as most important critics and philosophers, including McGregor, and examines experimental film in the context of the Canadian art historical tradition.
Across Canada, there is serious concern to establish a stable base in Canada for the media arts, notably experimental film and video. Museums and galleries, their natural homes, have been slow to organize themselves to accommodate these art forms both in terms of audience development and technical reorientation. Spirit in the Landscape arose out of a desire to present a series of experimental films, which would be supported by a catalogue of substance and which could therefore be offered to centres across Canada and outside the country, allowing greater access to the films by reason of its being able to travel and by providing a written context for the series. As the series includes work by some of our most interesting and important experimental filmmakers, Spirit in the Landscapealso provides a good introduction to Canadian avant-garde film in general.
--from the preface by Catherine Jonasson