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Fallow La Friche: Unsettling Eastern Ontario

Jamie Ross
self published
Artists' Books
15.3 × 15.3 × 0.7 cm

Artist’s book by Jamie Ross co-produced with Videographe (Montreal) and Jeunes Volontaires (Quebec).

Fallow La Friche is an experimental documentary on the return of forests to Eastern Ontario.

By the end of the 1800s, the region’s old growth forests had all been logged. However, in an area that was kept deforested by agriculture, farmland has been steadily abandoned for the last century, and continues to be. Ross documents the (re)emergent cultures of the area by giving voice to its people, animate and inanimate, a polyphonic throng of voices, often in song. Queer male sexuality finds a sanctuary among the trees, among the supernatural denizens: the loup-garou, memengweshiinyag, sìthean. Songs and speech in the indigenous languages of the territory as well as colonial tongues represent the continued reality of these cultural communities. Audio artifacts give agency to non-humans too, recordings of flowing sap, running airplane and automobile motor. The artist traces an anti-colonial history of place from invasion and deforestation through to the contemporary abandonment and return of the diverse biotic community. The forests were there before the farms, and now they return.

  1. Fallow La Friche: Unsettling Eastern Ontario

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