Aug 3, 2014
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Everglades reverberations (2014)

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The following writeup was originally published on the Knight Arts website on July 25th 2014

By Daniel Dugas and Valerie LeBlanc, AIRIE

We came from the north. As we approached Miami, the pilot said something about the weather while swerving to miss storm cells. A few hours later, after we had landed, the downpour started in earnest. The rain was heavy, the sky black. It was a big storm; actually it was the first tropical storm of the 2014 Atlantic Hurricane season. It later strengthened to become Hurricane Arthur and it was tracking northward. Hurricanes often follow the Gulf Stream current and affect the Maritime region of Canada where we live. But this one was going for the jugular; our town was right in the middle of its path. There were a slew of warnings posted on the Environment Canada website, tropical storm, rainfall, wind, special weather statement, and a tropical cyclone information statement. We followed the evolution of Arthur and worried for our house. At the last moment the storm veered left and the town where we live got a good soaking but not the anticipated deluge. It was pretty amazing to arrive in Florida just in time to witness the birth of a storm that slowly moved northward to die almost outside of our doorstep. It was a reminder of the interconnectedness of all things.

1-HURRICANE-ARTHURHurricane Arthur, July 5, 2014, National Hurricane Center

We are here to do a soundwalk project; fictional stories, voices, swamp recordings. It is this concept of interconnectness that is calling for our attention. We are looking at the connections between: the Everglades National Park geography and its inhabitants; those living close to its borders; and those, like ourselves, who come here to commune with the environment. We recognize that ecologically speaking, our understanding and experience of the Everglades is a relatively short moment in time. As we research through the networks and components that is the Everglades, we try to understand something of where it all sits in the grand scheme of things.

Upon arriving, the first thing that we did was to try to visualize the park, to construct a mental chart of what exists where. In the first few days we covered as much ground as we could, recording ambient sound, the weather, and the insects. The mosquitos hit the shotgun mic with anger. We saw sunrises, sunsets, walked in the warm waters of the slough at Pa-Hay-Okee, attempted to hike among the mangroves at Christian Point Trail, immersed ourselves in the song of crickets, frogs, of rustling in the bush, of movement in the trees.

Daniel, ChokoloskeeDaniel, Chokoloskee

The type of collaboration that we do is diverse. We have been collaborating for over twenty years on many projects. Often we work within a framework that allows for individual sensitivities to bubble to the surface, this is the case with our Everglades project. As we go out on hikes and explorations we experience the same location but from two different perspectives. Our individual takes are like stones thrown into a lake; the ripples of both, the points on intersections lie where the waves combine. That is often the place of creation.

Soon after arriving, we realized that we were in a world of layers. That we would have to see through the mosquito layer, the mosquito net layer, the humidity layer, the heat stress layer and the DEET layer. Every task becomes monumental, every clap of thunder, every raindrop intensifies, maximizes the experience.

We quickly learned to operate in the environment, to be there. Because audio recording demands silence and stillness, it is an obvious target for the hordes of skitters. In the spirit of adaptation, Valerie developed a Tai-Chi-like series of movements to repel them away from the microphone pickup area. This slow motioned waving of blue rubber gloved hands became the symbol of a certain level of peace.

Valerie’s Tai-Chi-like series of movements, Pa-Hay-OkeeValerie’s Tai-Chi-like series of movements, Pa-Hay-Okee

Of all the layers present within the Park, it is the human presence that has become the focus of our work. Whether it is the recently abandoned Chekika Day Use Area, the HM69 Nike Missile Base,

Valerie and Daniel, HM69 Nike Missile BaseValerie and Daniel, HM69 Nike Missile Base

the shell mounds of the Calusa Indians on Sandfly Island or the Deer Pen ruins near Paradise Key, all of these traces reveal something about human interventions in this place. Trace elements become covered, overgrown, eaten or corroded as plants, animals and climate reclaim. Sites can be seen as momento mori, reminders of mortality, but they are also reverberations of life.

Deer Pen, Paradise Key, NPS archives July, 1934Deer Pen, Paradise Key, NPS archives July, 1934
Deer Pen, July 2014, left to right: Daniel Dugas; Hillary Cooley Botanist, Everglades and Dry Tortugas National Parks and Valerie LeBlancDeer Pen, July 2014, left to right: Daniel Dugas; Hillary Cooley, Botanist, Everglades and Dry Tortugas National Parks and Valerie LeBlanc

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Daniel H. Dugas

Artiste numérique, poète et musicien, Daniel H. 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. Everglades, coécrit avec Valerie LeBlanc, vient de paraître aux Éditions Prise de parole.

Daniel H. 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 tenth book of poetry, co-written with Valerie LeBlanc, Everglades has just been published by Les Éditions Prise de parole.

Everglades
À partir de leur exploration du parc national des Everglades, Daniel H. Dugas et Valerie LeBlanc cartographient dans cet essai poétique les effets de la présence humaine sur le milieu naturel, les traces qu’elle y dépose. Everglades est une ode à la beauté, à la fragilité et à la résilience d’une nature aux prises avec une espèce envahissante, la nôtre.

Everglades
Through their exploration of the Everglades National Park, Daniel H. Dugas and Valerie LeBlanc document, in this poetic collection, the effects of human presence in the natural world and the traces left behind. Everglades is an ode to the beauty, the fragility and the resilience of nature faced with the invasiveness of a particular species, ours.

Date : Mars 2018
Genre : Poésie
Collection : Poésie
ISBN : 9782897441029
Français/English

Éditions Prise de parole

http://www.prisedeparole.ca/auteurs/?id=1148

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