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Aug 26, 2014
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Home of the New Balance: Nota bene (2014)

rogers-with-logo

Let us never negotiate out of fear. But let us never fear to negotiate.
John F. Kennedy, Inaugural speech, January 20, 1961

Everyone knows it; the province of New Brunswick is in dire straits. The Auditor General, Kim MacPherson, describes the debt problem as “very concerning” and is calling for “significant changes to improve the financial health” of the province.[1] Every four years, the election cycle kicks in; electoral signs pop up everywhere and talking heads reveal their latest strategies to resolve the ever-growing debt problem. The best plan of action for many is to encourage gas exploration by means of hydraulic fracturing. Many are opposed. We know details of the proposed scenario, but never the whole story. What I would like to propose here is another way of resolving this lingering problem.

Sao Paulo, the 4th largest urban area in the world, believes that prohibiting advertising such as outdoor posters will free its citizens, the province of New Brunswick, the 8th smallest province in Canada, could certainly take example from this South American city and do exactly the opposite.[2] Let’s give advertisers what they are denied in Brazil: a world of total advertisement! We need to surrender, to abandon not only the sides of our roads and of our buildings but our very own nomenclature! We need to become somebody else! We need to BECOME THE SPONSORS! The idea is not new; other places have traded their souls before. In 1999, the village of Halfway, Oregon, changed its name to Half.com for a one-year period in accordance to a contract with the eBay subsidiary. In 2005, the town of Clark, Texas changed its name to DISH. In return the company DISH Network awarded DISH residents free cable service and programming for a period of 10 years. This lease is expiring very soon and if logic prevails, that little town’s name could switch to Netflix in the future.

What has never been done is what New Brunswick could try now, a systemic change of names. The names of all villages and towns, all roads, all monuments, all public buildings, even the name of the province would be on the shopping block. There are many ‘naturals’, names of company that could fit with existing communities. Through a sponsorship agreement with the communications and media company, the well known Rogersville could become Rogers. By adding an S to the town of Bailey in Sunbury County, they could probably make a deal with Gilbeys of Ireland, makers of the famous Baileys Irish Cream. Bay du Vin, on the south shore of Miramichi Bay, would certainly attract the interests of any number of wine makers. The little rural community of Burton could stay the same as long as Burton Snowboards get on board, so to speak. Add Tyres to Dunlop in Gloucester County and you get Dunlop Tyres. Popelogan Depot, an unincorporated community in Restigouche County could drop the Popelogan for Home and become Home Depot, and so on. As far as the name ‘New Brunswick’ goes, the footwear manufacturer New Balance seems to have the ideal credentials to take the big prize, in exchange for lots of royalties for NBers. Their logo is already a match with the current abbreviation of our province. On the other hand, settlements like Big Hole in Northumberland County and Baghdad near Grand Lake might have to be rebranded altogether. But imagine if there was a town called Sony, Irving or IBM. For one, the locals would have interesting demonyms. The IBMminions could even sing songs from their parent benefactor. The collection: Songs of The I.B.M. published in 1931 includes Painting the clouds with sunshine by J. P. Saxton:

We don’t pretend we’re gay.
We always feel that way,
Because we’re filling the world with sunshine.
With I.B.M. machines,
We’ve got the finest means,
For brightly painting the clouds with sunshine.
Records we make only to break,
Teaching the whole world we know
I.B.M.’s line, will all the time,
Help it to grow.
When things do not look right,
Our products make them right,
And keep on painting the clouds with sunshine.[3]

This grand project would not only redefine our onomastic landscape, it would also create a boom on employment: the lawyers, of course; the signage industry; the mapmakers and souvenir shops, would all be working overtime. But that’s not all; an underground network of hard-core genealogists unhappy with all of the changes could rise in every corner of the province of New Balance. Members of these cells would try to keep the old ways alive. It would be foolish to try to crush them. Au contraire, they should be encouraged, even if we have to create historical parks of taxonomy. Le Pays de la Sagouine and King’s Landing are two obvious models for this new world of ours. As for the sets of names to be sold, they would be auctioned to the highest bidder and would be legally binding according to the agreements drawn up by the province’s lawyers. With this plan, I truly believe that we could be out of debt in no time. If the DISH people, with the weight of all of their 201 citizens, got free cable for ten years, imagine what we could negotiate right here!

Daniel Dugas
Aug 23, 2014

P.S. Speaking words and marketing, we all recall the heated debate surrounding the slogan on New Brunswick’s licence plates: Be… In this place – Être… ici on le peut. As we know the slogan was discarded. The funny thing is that the province of New Brunswick was standing right in front of it’s very own slogan, a phrase that spells it’s own name, and on top of it all: a phrase that could be read in both official languages. This silver bullet is the Latin expression Nota bene, a phrase that means, “note well” and is often abbreviated as N.B. in English and N. B. in French. Sometimes ideas are sitting in front of us and only need only be picked up.

 

Part 2:
Spem reduxit / Hope restored (2014)

 

___________________________________________
[1] Auditor General troubled by debt growth, http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/new-brunswick/auditor-general-troubled-by-debt-growth-1.2451996

[2] The city of Sao Paulo promulgated in 2006 the Cidada Limpa (Clean City Law) banning all outdoor advertising. The text stipulates that every citizen has a right to live in a city that respects the urban space, heritage and architectural integrity of the buildings. http://ww2.prefeitura.sp.gov.br/cidadelimpa/conheca_lei/conheca_lei.html

[3] Songs of The I.B.M. Fellowship Songs of International Business Machines Corporation, 270 Broadway, New York, N. Y. 1937. Painting the clouds with sunshine, p.14. http://www.robweir.com/blog/attachments/songs-of-the-ibm.pdf

Nov 15, 2012
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Alas! Atlas! (2012)

version française ici

Fog and reality! Cloud and mappemonde!
Victor HUGO

KEYWORDS: visualisation, cartography, cartogram, Facebook, US presidential election 2012, Purple America

Recently, I opened my Facebook account to see the juxtaposed images of two maps of the United States. The first map illustrated the results of the 2012 American presidential election: blue states for the Democrats and red states for the Republicans. The second map, dated 1846, was a representation of abolitionist and slave states before the start of the American Civil War.[1]

What struck me at first glance was the apparent similarity between the two maps. It seemed that the distribution of political forces was the same. The abolitionist states and territories of 1846 were, more or less, the Democratic states of 2012. The slave states and territories were clearly in the camp of Republicans. The effectively demonstrated parallels were so compelling that I immediately shared the image. This commentary by Michelle Lawrence was accompanied by two short sentences: “Sometimes change is really hard especially when people don’t want to change. Just something to ponder.” Indeed, looking at the two images gave the impression that nothing has changed in the one hundred and sixty-six years that we have travelled. In short, as the saying goes, ‘the more things change, the more they stay the same.’

The concept of mapmaking inspires respect; there is an air of truth and authenticity about the practice. It is difficult to doubt the reality of map, maybe because of an innate trust we carry for them. In any case, I was there at my computer, confronted with this terrifying image of an unchanging world. And I was disappointed to think that we, as a society, have made such a long journey to be staring back at that very sad starting point. After a few minutes, my enthusiasm to share this with other Facebook users quickly turned into interrogation. What was the reality mapped out before me? Is the world of today really the same as the world yesterday?

To put it all in a historical context and to see if the American electorate had evolved over the years, I began to think of other presidential elections. I thought right away of the Ronald Reagan tidal wave of 1984. The winds of conservatism swept across America leaving only Minnesota and Washington, DC to the Democrats. At the other end of the spectrum, there was the decisive victory of Franklin D. Roosevelt (1936) who was re-elected triumphantly leaving the Republicans with the two small states of Maine and Vermont. On the other hand, and in an almost negative image of the 2012 election, we find the Jimmy Carter election results of 1976. It firmly placed in the Democratic camp all of the southern states often associated with the Republicans.[2]

On this closer examination, I had difficulty in reconciling the three maps above to the political immutability underpinned by the ‘2012 – 1846’ image. Were there changes or not? Looking at a wider scope of images mapping the results of previous presidential elections, it is clear that there have been many changes over the years. The problem with a comment like the one that Michelle Lawrence made, is that it is simplistic and sensationalist. The difficulty of reconciling what is seen and what is said resides in the fact that these particular maps are not speaking about the same thing. The context is warped.

Presenting pictures that look alike offers a simplified view of the past and of the present. It is a truncated, veritably ‘fake’ reality. There has been a lot of talk about polarized American viewpoints and this dual image suddenly offers proof of legendary division. If we are truly interested in evaluating voter diversity in the United States, we should look farther. Perhaps we should begin with the maps of Purple America[3], and migrate to the cartograms of election results complied by Mark Newman of the University of Michigan.[4]

But, the deed was done. I had, in a burst of thoughtless enthusiasm (as is often the case on the Internet), joined the ranks of 45,000 other Facebook users who had also shared the maps and the comment. At first, the juxtaposition of the NOW and THEN image, seemed to offer an eloquent synthesis of the situation, but ultimately it is clear that all who clicked to share were duped. If the shortcut was not a trap, it was certainly a cul-de-sac.

Daniel Dugas
November 12, 2012

Footnotes

[1] Michelle Lawrence, Facebook Account, November 10, 2012
http://www.facebook.com/michelle.lawrence.92754
[2] The website 270 to win offers interactive maps of every presidential election since 1789. To put the maps in context the site also lists the major issues of the day.  http://www.270towin.com/ November 10, 2012
[3] Robert J. Vanderbei, Election 2004 Results: http://www.princeton.edu/~rvdb/JAVA/election2004/ November 10, 2012
[4] Mark Newman, Department of Physics and Center for the Study of Complex Systems, Maps of the 2012 US presidential election results : http://www-personal.umich.edu/~mejn/election/2012/
See also: 2012 U.S. Election Visualizations, Christopher G. Healey, Department of Computer Science, North Carolina State University http://www.csc.ncsu.edu/faculty/healey/US_election/
November 10, 2012

Sep 3, 2012
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WPGC 2012 schedule (2012)

The World Portable Gallery Convention 2012 is an international convention on portable galleries and alternative spaces hosted by Eyelevel Gallery during the month of September. The project celebrates the variety of spaces with which curators around the globe have extended public interaction with art institutions.

Opening Reception for WPGC 2012
8pm onwards
Opening Statements:  Michael Eddy, Liz Johnson and Michael McCormack
Performance: Judy Freya Sibayan’s Museum Of Mental Objects
Curator’s Presentation: Paul Hammond and Francesca Tallone
And Then We Party
Description: Join us in celebrating the dawning of a new era where gallery’s roam free and the wine pours like onsens of morning coffees. Paul Hammond and Francesca Tallone will deliver a curator’s presentation on Halifax’s legendary Gallery Deluxe Gallery. Judy Freya Sibayan’s Museum Of Mental Objects will take on it’s newest form, and the main gallery space will be filled with Halifax’s newest portable and alternative galleries. Eyelevel’s first exhibition in our  Member’s Gallery will include work by our very own Fixed Cog Hero, and Liz Johnson, Michael Eddy and Michael McCormack will kick things off with a toast to the WPGC 2012 in Halifax.

Thursday, September 6th

Expose Your Self: Gallery as Performer

7-9pm at the Seahorse Tavern 1665 Argyle Street
Curators Talk and Panel: Valerie LeBlanc and Daniel Dugas, Hannah Jickling, Gordon B. Isnor
9:30pm onwards in various locations on Argyle Street
Performance: Media Pack Board, Valerie LeBlanc and Daniel Dugas
Description: Running a gallery is one thing, wearing a gallery is another. Enjoy a beverage in Atlantic Canada’s right across from the site of the WTCC, and engage in a panel discussion by three truly mobile galleries; Hannah Jickling’s Coat Of Charms, the Alopecia Gallery (a gallery on Gordon B. Isnor’s face), and Valerie LeBlanc and Daniel Dugas’ Media Pack Board. Following this will be a live performance of Media Pack Board in various locations along Halifax’s busiest nightlife destination Argyle Street. Friday, September 7th
Convention Central

3pm at the HRM North Branch Library 2285 Gottingen Street
Round Table Discussion: Bernard Smith and other special guests.
7pm at 161 Gallon Gallery 
Curators Talk and Reception: Daniel Joyce and Miriam Moren
Description: Halifax is the scenic capital of Nova Scotia and the largest city in the Maritimes. It is famous as a tourist port of call and a cultural and historical hub, despite its ailing economy. Discussions about constructing a new convention centre in the downtown core have cited economic spinoffs and putting the province on the map. This means more visitors, more meeting, more deals, more money…eh? With Halifax as a backdrop, our convention seeks to look at why we gather, and the many different qualities of convening. We invite everyone any anyone to come and share your thoughts in this discussion.

Friday evening will be a chance to wind down at the homegrown gallery of 161 Gallon Gallery. This gallery has existed in the home of Daniel Joyce and Miriam Moren on the corner of Robie and Cunard in Halifax for almost a decade exhibiting works by many of Halifax’s emerging and established contemporary artists. Miriam and Daniel invite the WPGC to their home for a talk and reception of the work of Lukas Pearse in 161 Gallon Gallery.Saturday, September 8th

Eyelevelers vs. Klubbers Softball Match and Portable Gallery Picnic

Noon-3pm at the Olympic Softball Diamond (next to the skate park and the Pavilion in the Halifax Commons)
Description: Eyelevel’s very own softball team The Eyelevelers take on the Khyber Klubbers in a seven inning softball showdown and picnic. SUNSCAD will accompany us with some fun activities, while portable gallery’s roam the Halifax Commons. Sip some homemade lemonade, get yer hot dogs and cracker jacks, while taking in the Coat Of Charms, the Nanomuseum, or the Alopecia Gallery, all while working on evening out that farmers tan!For further information:

CALL: Eyelevel Gallery at (902) 425 6412

WATCH: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I_LLIIEypoA or watch our live interview on the CTV morning show on Tuesday, September 4th at 7:45am.

Aug 7, 2012
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World Portable Gallery Convention (2012)

Valerie LeBlanc and I are bringing the MediaPackBoard to EyeLevel Gallery in Halifax to participate in the WPGC 2012! It’s going to be great ! More to come later, in the meantime, here is the poster.

Jul 12, 2011
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OIL – Beneath the Surface (2011)

OIL is a program of short videos exploring issues and relationships we have with oil, both politically and poetically. I am very happy and extremely proud of the program, the works are excellent and thought provoking. This project would not have happened without the generosity of all the artists involved, and all of the work by Vicki Chau and EMMEDIA. I would like to thank everyone for his/her willingness to be part in this!

The screening is tonight TUESDAY, JULY 12, 2011 @ 7PM at EMMEDIA:
#203, 351 – 11 Ave. SW Calgary, Alberta T2R 0C7

Link to download Program Brochure with Daniel Duga’s Curatorial Statement and Artist Biographies

 

Videos in the program in screening order:

“Oil (Excerpt)” by Peter Aerschmann (Bern, Switzerland)
“OIL’D” by Chris Harmon (Brooklyn, NY)
“BASIN” by David Geiss (Victoria, BC)
“SCAPE” by Kyle Armstrong & Leslea Kroll (Edmonton, AB)
“A Flood and then some Desert” by Kent Tate (Shaunavon, SK)
“Paper Moon, Cardboard Sea” by Valerie LeBlanc (Moncton, NB)
“Tar Sand Pudding” by Xstine Cook (Calgary, AB)
“Lux Aeterna” by Jacopo Jenna (Firenze, Italy)
“Palabras Negras (black words)” by Anthony Gasca (Montreal, QC)
“OILSPILL – The Human Ueberfluss (Trailer)” by Andy Fox & Jo Blankenburg (Salzburg, Austria)
“OIL” by Maayke Schurer (Kingston, ON)
“Petrolena” by Mark Olin (Titusville, PA)

Mar 10, 2011
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OIL @ EMMEDIA (2011)

CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS: OIL

Presented by EMMEDIA Gallery & Production Society

Curated by Daniel Dugas

Deadline: June 1, 2011 @ 4:30PM

Oil. It fuels our cars, it furnishes our homes, it feeds our debates, our wars. Oil, almost magic, which can be transformed into a multitude of products, toys, fertilizers, carpets, shampoo, insulation, golf balls, credit cards, lipsticks, plastic bags, bottles. A strange philosophers’ stone giving immortality to pop bottles and plastic forks.

How are we going to negotiate our dependency and oil addiction with our environmental concerns? Who defines the Industry practices? How can the individual contribute to the emergence of solutions? What is the role of the artist, writer, poet?

OIL is looking for slick short videos to fuel the discussion! Daniel Dugas will curate the program, through a call of submissions that is open to local, national and international artists. We are looking for videos that address and explore the issues and relationships we have with oil, either politically and/or poetically. The program will be screened on July 12, 2011, which is the one-year anniversary of the capping of the BP well in the Gulf of New Mexico.

To submit your short film/video:

– Must be under 5 min.

– Must be submitted on either data DVD as a .mov file or Mini DV, if sending by mail.

– A .mov file can be uploaded onto our FTP server (Please contact programming@emmedia.ca for more details)

– Must not be an original copy as EMMEDIA will not accept responsibility for loss of, or damage to any submissions.

Please note:

– Submissions will not be returned unless accompanied by a SASE.

– Artists will be contacted if selected. Please no phone calls.

– If you are selected, screening fees will be paid in accordance with the Independent Media Arts Alliance (IMAA) fee schedule.

Please send your submissions to:

Attn: OIL submission

EMMEDIA Gallery & Production Society

#203, 351 – 11 Ave SW

Calgary, AB

T2R 0C7 CANADA

All submissions must be received by EMMEDIA on Wednesday, June 1, 2011 @ 4:30PM. Postmarked or late submissions will not be accepted.

For more information, please contact Vicki Chau, Programs & Outreach Coordinator, at:

programming@emmedia.ca

1.403.263.2833

Curator Bio:

Daniel Dugas is a poet, musician and videographer. He holds an MFA, Time Arts from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.  He was an artist in residence at: the Banff Centre, in both in the Visual Arts and in the Music  Department; Sculpture Space, New York; EMMEDIA, Calgary; A.I.R. Vallauris, France, and more recently at the Sydney College of the Arts, Sydney, Australia.

His sixth book of poetry: Hé!, was published last spring by Les Éditions Prise de Parole, Sudbury, Ontario.  This spring, he will be participating in the Festival international et Marché de Poésie Wallonie-Bruxelles as well as the Frye Festival. Daniel is currently living in Moncton, New Brunswick where he is pursuing a PhD in creative writing at the Université de Moncton.

 

Jun 25, 2010
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Grand Spectacle (2010)

The grand spectacle of oil gushing into the Gulf of Mexico is a permanent link on the CNN website:

 

But what are witnessing here, an endless supply of oil, right in the middle of the so called Peak Oil [1] period? And like oil thrown on a fire, another great spectacle, the World Cup is there to keep us busy, to distract us from the first event. “Uncertainty is organized everywhere” to paraphrase Guy Debord [2], the French theorist.

There is an interesting passage in the Comments on the Society of the Spectacle [3] that seems to relate to the current Oil Spill.  In this section Debord speaks of economic necessities, the mystery and the secrecy of power:

And more assuredly, it has been almost universally accepted that the geological explorations for oil-beds in the subsoil of the city of Paris, so noisily conducted in the autumn of 1986, had no other serious purpose than to measure the inhabitants’ current level of stupefaction and submission: by showing them supposed research so absolutely contradicted on the economic level. [4]

Hopefully the Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico is not a machiavelic test orchestrated by the great powers of the world to study and chart the reactions of people. I am nonetheless certain that an army of analysts is mapping the degree of anger; the levels of docility; and the limit of tolerance of the local populations along the coast.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peak_oil
[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guy_Debord
[3] http://www.notbored.org/commentaires.html
[4] Debord, G (1998) Comments on the Society of the Spectacle, XVIII (p. 56), Verso 1998

 

May 3, 2010
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House on Fire (2010)

House on Fire was written on May 3, 2010 after listening reports on the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. As of today, June 3, the oil is still coming out and the spill has now reached catastrophic level. Although the text was written early on in this saga, I decided to publish it on my blog as it convey the feelings of disbelief that I feel might be experienced by others. [2777 words]

House on Fire by Daniel Dugas

May 3, 2010. On the radio this morning, I hear that the oil is slowly gushing out, thousands of barrels a day from the floor of the Gulf of Mexico. What does gushing slowly mean? Can the flow of oil come out suddenly, copiously, forcibly like a hemorrhage, and slowly, all at once? Who has qualified the speed of this spill?

This is such an aberration, especially in the light of what happened in 1989 with the Exxon Valdez. How could something like this happen now? It’s not that we did not learn from the past, it’s more like we don’t want to learn from it. Greed is the motivation and greed will define the actions of many of the players involved. bp will fight to survive and its teams of lawyers are surely working overtime. It is important to remember how the tab was settled with the Exxon Valdez, which was repaired, renamed – the S/R Mediterranean and is now registered in Panama. “An Anchorage jury awarded $287 million for actual damages and $5 billion for punitive damages.” [1] After a number of challenges the punitive damages were reduced to $2.5 billion, this again was renegotiated in a lower court to $500 million and finally Exxon agreed in 2008 to pay 75% of the final invoice. [2]

Cheapness and greed are the two motors that propel and make the big oil machines breathe, eat and grow. The cargo barge Irving Whale is another good example. It sank in 1970 near the Magdalen Islands in the Gulf of St Lawrence with its cargo of PCB-laden bunker oil. In the days following the sinking, oil washed ashore onto the islands. There are, to this day, more than 200,000 bags of oil debris buried under the beautiful dunes. The clean up effort continues and officials are still removing the bags as they surface. [3] According to the scientific data of the time, the cold waters of the Gulf made the oil congeal and reduced leakage from the barge. The prognosis changed in the early 90’s when scientists noticed PCB’s leaking from the carcass of the boat. The Government of Canada tried unsuccessfully to force Irving Oil [4] to salvage their boat but Irving had… ‘abandoned ownership of the wreck, since it was considered to be in international waters.’ [5]

When all failed, the Canadian Government went ahead with the recovery on its own. The doomed barge was hoisted from the bottom of the sea and brought back to Halifax, Nova Scotia, where it was going to be cut into pieces and sold for its weight as scrap metal. The Irving lawyers were waiting in the wings, as soon as the ship reached its final destination the lawyers put an injunction rightfully claiming its valuable cargo. They pumped the oil out of the barge and sold it. If this operation would have taken place today, it is certain that the marketing branch of the company would have re-branded the operation as a great recycling project. Something like: “Hey, nothing is lost, nothing is created, everything is transformed type of event.”

bp has also invested in its branding, they are after all, the greenest of the oil giants. Its glorious logo is a vibrant leaf-like-sun-emitting symbol of hope and responsibility, a beacon of everything green, or is it? [6] Whatever lies under the beauty of the graphic remains a mystery but the image is so beautiful that we want to trust it. Even the Green Party of Canada must have thought that it was irresistible; as they too have a similar emblem.

Since the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon drilling platform, on April 20, the disaster and the coverage has been as controlled as it can be. Two weeks later I am puzzled by the lack of attention and coverage. It is as if the spill was a small thing, something that is part of the game, a calculated risk. I heard earlier today, on the CBC airwaves, the soothing voice of Dr. Ed Overton, Professor Emeritus at Louisiana State University’s Department of Environmental Science. [7] Here, finally, we have an expert talking about the oil spill. He spoke of the uncertainty and the scope of this event, noting in a matter of fact way, that it will never be as huge as the Exxon Valdez, “… I don’t think that it will be that bad. ” The good doctor, talked about the oil spreading over a much longer period of time than the ill fated tanker and explained that the effects will be different, “… this is a long-term affair spread over a long period of time …”

I admit that Napoleon could have been killed with a bullet but he was slowly poisoned instead. The difference is minute but the outcome is the same. Dr Overton went on to compare the situation to a house fire; ‘a room might be on fire, but it doesn’t mean that the house is in danger.’ Here I’m guessing that the doctor might be comparing the oil spill, or the Gulf of Mexico to the ‘room’ and the rest of the planet to the ‘house.’ (?) He was actually talking about the environment as a series of compartments, secluded from one another, with fire doors in between habitats. (much like a pillbox of weekly medication) Overton claimed to be not associated with any oil company, but really? Considering the size and significance of the Gulf of Mexico to the planet’s ecology, how could an environmental professor, acting on his own, create this house analogy, and not show more concern for the kitchen?

In the 1970’s the Canadian government built a series of American style bungalows on native reserves in Manitoba. The native people were puzzled by the architecture of the buildings, wondering why someone had to open a door and go through a hallway to open another door to go into another room. It seemed unnecessary and they decided to re-design their homes, opening them all up, effectively creating a space closer to their traditional view of the world. Everybody can see that the clouds and the birds cross the political borders of our world without even thinking about it, and why would they? Like acid rain, oil will not stop on a specific latitude or longitude.

On their website, Time Magazine has brought back its top 10 environment disasters page. The oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico might even make the list if the leak, as they call it, continues. Oil companies have a specific way of wording their messages. A leak sounds to me like a dripping kitchen tap, something annoying but that you can learn to live with. Obviously this is more than that; it is a rupture, a break, a hole. Suncrude, the world’s largest producer of synthetic crude oil from oil sands in Alberta is the owner on the infamous Aurora tailings pond where some 1,606 waterfowl died after landing in it. [8] The idea of a pond is good, it sounds small and cute, it brings forth image of the famous Walden Pond; a place to reflect and think. They are places where life forms flourish. But those tailings ponds are artificially created, huge lake-like forms where poisons are deposited; they are settling areas for toxic waste.

This latest catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico comes after years of environmental awareness, after years of being told the difference and the importance of not using plastic bags, which are made of oil, after years of composting, of sorting through the garbage – recycling the dry from the wet, the toxic from the organic. We were told, and we believed, that the biggest part of the problem resided with the consumers and not the industries, with us – and not – with them. ‘Our actions will save our fragile planet’, and we bought it. We thought that it was important enough. We listened to Al Gore warning us about the warming of the planet, we accepted to pay more for green energy; every little bit helps as they say. After two weeks, where are Gore and Suzuki? Did they say anything? Will they? Should they? Aren’t their rooms heating up from this localized fire? Is there smoke seeping under their doors? Should I really put my chip bag in the trash or just toss is out in this great garbage can of a world?

We live in a world of slogans, the great motivators of our lives, along with the loyalty programs that exist out there. Beyond Petroleum (bp), Make things better (Toyota), Solutions for Today’s Energy Challenges (Halliburton) or Solutions are in our nature (David Suzuki) – they all offer visions of optimism and possibilities. But this time the deception is complete, our optimism exhausted. What made us believe them, what made us buy into their dreams? What is the next step, the next greenwash, the next empty word to be flaunted before our eyes like carrots. Is there a roundabout in the dead end of marketing?

Environment has become a buzzword – or it was until recently – and a dreamscape where we project ourselves, perhaps into the future. Avatar worked because of all of those years of learning, of trying to be more in tune with Mother Nature, but Mother Nature is about to become one big ‘fucked up’ lady. But wait! There is hope, bp has a plan, the building of a Containment Pollution Chamber as they call it, a huge compartment of steel to catch the oil and pump it onto a barge waiting at the surface. [9] The manager of the Operations for bp assures the public that bp has a plan B, C, D and F, in case the Containment Pollution Chamber does not work. How can bp have so many clean up plans when they were out there drilling without any safety net? Did they really think that all of their dollar bills would cushion their fall? But here we are, in week number 2, and everyone is enthralled about the engineering marvel of the container.

CNN:

It sounds like a Hollywood movie. An impending disaster — think the disabled spacecraft in “Apollo 13″ or the asteroid hurtling toward Earth in “Armageddon” — prompts a daring intervention by engineers to save the day.[10]

Somewhere else another announcer talks about the box as some kind of Egyptian project. Hooray! We will have our own pyramid! The cable news networks keep showing workers welding the metal sarcophagus that will make everything go away. Why are we so in awe in front of this engineering accomplishment? Is it because it creates a simple superhero narrative, with good guys on one side and bad guys on the other. Evil is lurking, slithering, dripping out of the kitchen tap, and meanwhile … the Heros are working overtime on a plan to place a gigantic encasement tomb to save the day. The problem is that the good guys and the bad guys are one entity, one being. And why are we so excited by this chamber and not by the remote control switch technology lacking on the Deepwater Horizon Platform, and still lacking on all of the other 4,000 drilling platforms in the Gulf of Mexico? [11] And how come it was not there? The European Union forces drilling platforms to have a remote control switch to shut off wells. [12] We have the same idea in our homes, which we all agree is a good one – a switch to turn off the water main in case there is an emergency. It is mandatory in EU but not in England where bp has its headquarters. The company refused to implement the practice because of its cost, about half a million dollars.

Will this go away? When will it go away? When will you be able to go to the store and buy Gulf shrimps; when will you go back into the water; walk on the beaches and play in the sand? The executives of bp are as picky as everybody else when it comes time to choose the location of their next holiday. If this spot is ruined, it does not really matter, their world is made of many compartments and they will find a corner that is still unspoiled, pristine, the perfect fit for their families to frolic candidly. And if there are no more corners, they will build one and put fences around it – period.

If we worry about products that are not tested on animals we should be dead worried about this experiment. There has never been anything like it; it eclipses all that we have known. And beside the health risks involved, there are also the risks to the reputation of prominent figures. Armies of lawyers from bp to Halliburton are already devising their escape routes, planning to surrender on their own terms, perhaps even negotiating for immunity – with bonuses. At worst they will go bankrupt like Union Carbide did following the Bhopal chemical disaster in 1984. [13] The bankruptcy of Union Carbide permitted Dow Chemical to purchase the corporation without acquiring the Bhopal legacy. The lawyers for bp and its associates are certainly looking at this option right now. And let’s not forget the banks, which were too big to fail, yet they were rescued. Could bp fall into the same category?

Then on May 1, came Faisal Shahzad, the Times Square car bomb terrorist. [14] Was this for real? The timing of this failed bombing was very strange. It pulled so much attention away from bp that I have been wondering if this was not a set up. Yes I know, another conspiration theory, but you have to admit that timing is everything. The Nashville flooding, on the other hand, would have be too difficult to stage even for big oil.

Even if the Time Square event is not related to the spill, it does bring an interesting thread into play. No terrorist could have created such havoc as bp is doing right now. The effects, the range of devastation and the implication for the ecosystems and the people who live in them is way outside the Al-Qaeda league. The impending approach of the oil slick is terrorizing people and animals alike, it is creating fear and anxiety – in other words: terror. Al-Qaeda could not have done this, but here we are, with bp at the helm. It is backed by the Government of the United States of America that has sanctioned offshore drilling; leading us to rest assured in the belief that it was clean, safe, and environmentally friendly. Good going!

Could this become a case of National Security? Let’s imagine for a moment that the oil slick has reached the coast, and is making its way into the ports, like Mobile, Alabama for example. And then a little thug, a budding homegrown terrorist or one from abroad, goes out on a stroll, throwing a match in the mixture. Could this happen? What would we do with the bp executives then, would they be going to Guantanamo? And what about the US government, would heads roll there? Unlikely scenario.

Could this be a case of crime against Humanity? The human specie, humankind, what is known as Humanity is intimately intertwined with the animal kingdom, isn’t it Mr. Susuki? What is done to them is done to us? Maybe? Unlikely scenario.

Headlines:
bp Finally Caps The Well!
Bravo To The Savants!
World Wins Battle Against Evil!

And then, for years and years and years the company battles in the courts, negotiates the terms of reality, reduces and minimizes its responsibilities. The lawyers decorate their offices and buy new suits and then redecorate again and buy more suits until all the money has gone out, like the oil of an old well. Bankruptcy is declared and then another company comes along and takes it over, plucking it like a dangling fruit, ready to be eaten. Likely scenario.

Daniel Dugas ©
May 3, 2010

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exxon_Valdez_oil_spill#Litigation_and_cleanup_costs
[2] http://www.reuters.com/article/idUKN2641081120080827

[3] http://www.cbc.ca/canada/montreal/story/2010/01/08/magdalene-islands-oil-recovery.html

[4] Irving Oil is a gasoline, oil, and natural gas producing and exporting company part of the J.D. Irving Limited privately owned conglomerate company headquartered in Saint John, New Brunswick

[5] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ATL_2701#Pollution

[6] http://www.uow.edu.au/~sharonb/bp.html

[7] http://www.cbc.ca/mrl3/8752/asithappens/aihstreaming_20100503_01.wma

[8] http://www.edmontonjournal.com/business/Tailings+pond+breaks+federal+officer/2663851/story.html

[9] http://www.cnn.com/2010/US/05/03/oil.spill.desperate.measure/index.html

[10] http://www.cnn.com/2010/US/05/03/oil.spill.desperate.measure/index.html

[11] http://www.csmonitor.com/2005/0726/p03s01-usgn.html

[12] http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704423504575212031417936798.html

[13] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Union_Carbide

[14] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Faisal_Shahzad

Image: A thick patch of goo and oily water floats in the sea a 1/4 mile from the Sand Dollar Marina in Grand Isle, Louisiana.
(Photo: Lars Gange – Download hi-res here. Usage is permitted free of charge for all uses web, printed & otherwise. The only restrictions is that images can’t be resold and photo credit must be given.)

Dec 7, 2008
admin

Lettre à la Gouverneure Générale (2008)

Madame la Gouverneur générale

Je suis déçu d’apprendre que vous avez accordé à Monsieur Harper l’autorité de fermer le Parlement.  Tristement on dirait une scène de Ubu Roi.  Le Premier Ministre, incapable de mesurer la gravité de ses actions a créé une situation explosive.  Nous voilà du coup replongé dans des tiraillements régionaux sans fins et ce en plein milieu d’une crise économique mondiale.  La hargne des conservateurs envers les députés du Bloc Québécois est un geste abject qui n’a pas sa place dans une démocratie.  La prochaine étape est sûrement de les proscrire, de les chasser de la colline.  Notre Premier Ministre n’est pas un rassembleur, il est de ceux qui attisent les divisions.  Régner par la dissension n’est pas une nouveauté, ce qui est nouveau ici c’est votre soutien, votre approbation.

Je suis bouleversé quand je regarde le comportement arrogant de Monsieur Harper.  Je suis consterné quand j’entends le discours aliénant des conservateurs. Quelle fourberie! Je pense aux jeunes qui regardent ce qui se passe et je me dis que ce n’est pas un très bon point de départ, que ce n’est pas une belle éducation.  Une des priorités de votre mandat est le programme jeunesse.  Vous encouragez les jeunes « à tisser des réseaux de solidarité entre eux et à s’allier la collaboration des autres générations dans leurs projets »  En soutenant le gouvernement vous encouragez la jeunesse à s’abîmer dans le désillusionnement.  Si la démocratie peut si facilement être détournée, ici chez nous, au Canada, quelles sont les chances pour quelle puisse vraiment exister ailleurs?

 

Jun 1, 1999
admin

Le Tapis Rouge (1999)

• Symposium d’art actuel, Moncton, NB

Il s’agit d’une performance à propos du protocole et des conventions. Le roi (Dugas porte sur sa tête une énorme couronne en fer galvanisé qu’il attache sur sa tête) se promène entre ses deux châteaux : à l’ouest le Château à Pape et à l’est le Château Moncton. L’un est un restaurant l’autre un hôtel situé à 500 mètres. Le performeur porte des bottes aux semelles velcro et un page (Clément Dugas) déroule à un tapis rouge à ses pieds. La promenade sur le sentier est maladroite et ridicule, le tapis colle à ses chaussures.

Cette action sur le dérisoire sera répétée pendant le Symposium. Détournement de sens, mise en abîme d’un univers chevaleresque qui a perdu des plumes et qui pourtant maintient ses symboles désuets.

Between the restaurant Château à Pape and the new hotel Château Moncton, the King strolls along, in a ridiculous gait and attire. The performance includes a page (Clément Dugas) unrolling a red carpet, and acts as a comment on protocol and conventions, on a chivalrous past which has  lost some of its lustre but whose symbols endure

Lieu : sur le sentier riverain entre le restaurant Château à Pape et l’Hôtel Château Moncton
Dates : les 11, 18 et 21 août 1999
Heure : 17 h

 

La musique du coeur
David Lonergan au Symposium d’art actuel
L’Acadie Nouvelle, 16 août 1999

La même journée, Daniel Dugas présentait sa performance Le tapis rouge aux touristes attendant la montée du mascaret. Le Roi Dugas a arpenté douloureusement son chemin de gloire, sur deux courts rouleaux de tapis rouge que déroulait tour à tour le page et sans doute dauphin, Clément Dugas, devant Sa Majesté. Mais à l’image de la Petitcodiac, le Rayaume est manifestement en ruines; l’habit royal était plus que sobre, la couronne un vulgaire chapeau que seul sauvait sa grande dimension, et les deux trop courts morceaux de tapis rouge collaient aux chaussures du Roi, l’empêchant de cheminer avec toute la dignité. De son rang : bien au contraire, Sa Majesté s’empêtrait, tombait, s’emberlificotait, incapable de maintenir dans sa démarche son glorieux passé. Performance d’une simplicité percutante, mais qui’il faut savoir décoder.

 

 

 

Pages:12»

Daniel H. Dugas

Artiste numérique, poète et musicien, Daniel Dugas a participé à des expositions individuelles et de groupe ainsi qu’à plusieurs festivals et événements de poésie en Amérique du Nord, en Europe, au Mexique et en Australie. Son neuvième recueil de poésie L’esprit du temps / The Spirit of the Time vient de paraître aux Éditions Prise de parole.

Daniel Dugas is a poet, musician and videographer. He has participated in solo and group exhibitions as well as festivals and literary events in North America, Europe, Mexico and Australia. His ninth book of poetry: L’esprit du temps / The Spirit of the Time has just been published by Les Éditions Prise de parole.

Daniel Dugas es poeta, músico y videocreador. Ha participado en exposiciones individuales y colectivas, festivals y eventos literarios en Norteamérica, Europa, México y Australia. Acaba de publicar su noveno poemario, L’esprit du temps / The spirit of time (Les Editions Prise de parole).

L’esprit du temps / The Spirit of the Time est un projet de transmutation du paysage publicitaire en paysage poétique. Ce livre est à la fois un livre de photographie, un recueil de poésie et un essai lucide mais ludique sur notre société matérialiste. Il a été produit en numérique et imprimé en quantité limitée.

Date : Décembre 2015
Genre : Poésie
Collection : Poésie
ISBN : 9782894239629

Éditions Prise de parole

http://www.prisedeparole.ca/auteurs/?id=148

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