Unscripted: Mermaid Spring

Words from Reed (filmmaker):

In the autumn of 2020, I brought fibre forms from the Mermaid Spring crowd-crafting project, hyperbolic and hairy, into a development site in what is contemporarily-known as Mt. Pleasant in so-called Vancouver. The particular site pictured was, prior to colonial development, at the edge of dense rainforest, opening out onto a large swampy lake rich with berries and medicinal plants like Labrador Tea.

The sign mounted on the street-facing temporary fencing reads: “Warning — All activities are recorded to aid in the prosecution of any crime committed against this facility.”

In the midst of haphazardly piled milled boards, miscellaneous waste and discarded appliances behind the blue fencing-for-hire familiar to developments across the city, I wonder whether these proxy organisms, excessive growers hooked and felted by hand according to organic, iterative mathematical principles, qualify as ‘criminal trespassers’. I wonder what spell we are casting by transgressing the surveilled boundary together. I wonder about assisted migration in times of climatic precarity, rapid change and collapse. I wonder whether the swamp will rise again, whether hardy, irrepressible plant beings will erupt from cracks in the pavement, and a great beaver will dam and flood this culverted wetland. I wonder whether these hybrid digital celluloid offerings can serve as alternative fibre optic filaments that wander and weave in direction[s] of more-than-human flourishing.

These images were printed with gratitude and light onto film on the unceded, occupied ancestral territories of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh. The celluloid was developed in non-toxic Caffenol developer — a compost-friendly blend of instant coffee, vitamin C and washing soda, in buckets in a bathtub across the street from the development site. The fibre forms were made by Barbara Adler, Heather Cameron, Reed Jackson and Alysha Seriani.

Sources: https://vancouver.ca/files/cov/mount-pleasant-historic-context-statement.pdf

Reed Jackson [Réaume Rodzinyak] is a queer interdisciplinary artist and white settler of Slovak, French, Swiss French, British Isles and Norwegian descent.