WorkSpace Canada on Pause
Like many other artists I had to let go of this year's ambitious plans - for the obvious reason of a world being unhinged by the spread of a virus. The time line was already set for my 2020 departure going back on production for WorkSpace Canada. Among other places, the intended tour was meant to bring me to the Yukon for the first time, maybe briefly even to the NWT. I was hoping to nearly complete the project geographically this year. I was supposed to leave in September but considering the current circumstances I had to cancel the whole undertaking last week. Believe me, it was done with a heavy heart, though I am aware that many people in the world have to make sacrifices worse than mine.
As I was often speaking of the project's upcoming completion, I should mention what its intermediate status is at the moment. Believing my statistics, I have gathered 227 occupational fields since that day in April 2006 when I photographed Ben Cleveland on the Mississauga truck terminal. Quite a meaningful day for me, as it officially marks the very first pictures made for this project. In total I exposed and developed precisely 1,168 rolls of medium format film so far and digitized about 3,500 images from the negative strips with high resolution scanners.
Besides the two geographical areas being still due, I am eager to add a number of new work fields to the collection. Either because I consider them important as a Canadian profession / labour specifically, or for being of great significance for our day and time in general. Examples for gaps that I would like to fill are: the work on cross-country hydro poles, the environment of large computer server rooms, biotechnology, the work with sled dog and the maintenance of winter roads, the specific work reality of sex workers as well as something so seemingly mundane like the postal service.
So what is it that I am planning to do now? Very good question these days. First of all I decided to use the extra time for gelatin silver printing. I began to use a new developer duo and can happily announce that the 2020 prints have pushed another step further in quality. Currently I am building up two specific print collections - one featuring the Navy, the other focussing on the 2018 Alberta production (samples from the latter can be seen in the Alberta Views article, January/February 2020). The prints are meant mainly for potential exhibits, some of them also for collector's sale. The next printing session will be destined to create industrial landscape triptychs, particularly for collector's interest. I will present some drafts soon and will be curious about comments.
The new planning for the next Canadian production is set tentatively toward the early spring in 2021. On that note I want to express my utmost gratitude for the people in the Yukon who were willing to support me in 2020 and confirmed very recently that they would keep their generous offers for 2021 - thank you very much for that! The same applies to dear friends in Ontario, Alberta and Saskatchewan where I also was announced for returning in 2020.
Note for all WorkSpace Canada participants - if you want to review some of the respective photographs, please do approach me by email or through Twitter (@WorkSpaceCanada). Unfortunately, I cannot afford anymore sending out complimentary prints but will try my very best to provide pdf presentation sheets with samples of the work we did together.