Northern Howl, completed in collaboration with Vancouver sculptor Karen Kazmer at the Klondike Institute of Art and Culture in Dawson City, Yukon, immerses viewers in a choreography of audio recordings, projections and sculptures focusing on constructs of “wilderness” and the ancient bloodlines linking dogs and wolves.
Dogs hold a distinctive role in Yukon lore, and in fact outnumber people in Dawson City. We recorded stories from locals about their dogs, which were played in the gallery as audio, accompanying our photos of these dogs; these images were projected onto a pneumatically driven "breathing" sculpture, made of recycled Styrofoam pieces suggestive of the Spring break-up on the Klondike and Yukon rivers. Whether as pets, working sled dogs or hunting companions, dogs are a link to wolves, and to the wild.
Stargazing and fire watching connect us to the ancient human activity of inventing mythologies to aid in understanding the world around us. The gallery walls, punctuated with recreations of the constellations Ursa Major (the bear) and Canis Major (the dog) and Lupus (the wolf), are flooded by ephemeral, moving shadow projections of morphing creatures cast from a central vellum suspended sculpture. Two hybrid wolf-dog sculptures in vitrines suggest through their monstrous, uncanny mutations, the possibility of mythological creatures still waiting to evolve.