Feature

2014 MEDAL WINNER MEGHAN HUNTER-GAUTHIER, CRITICISM & CURATORIAL PRACTICE

Meghan Hunter-Gauthier at GradEx 2014. Photo by Christina Gapic.
Meghan Hunter-Gauthier at GradEx 2014. Photo by Christina Gapic.
Water Log photos collected by Meghan Hunter Gauthier.
Water Log photos collected by Meghan Hunter Gauthier.

Meghan Hunter-Gauthier’s medal award-winning project Water-Log is an online initiative to collect stories about the industrial past and proposed future of the lakes and rivers surrounding Témiscaming and Kipawa in Quebec. Here’s how she describes it:

Water-Log is an online archival initiative to collect audio-recorded stories, memories and sentiments about the lakes and rivers that surround the area of Témiscmaing and Kipawa, Quebec. The project functions as a space for contemplation and reminiscence about history of these territories, by way of personal stories told by their residents.

What inspired you and motivated you to do this project?

The community I am from has held a prominent place in the logging industry for decades. Natural resource consuming industries are blatantly familiar to Témiscaming and Kipawa — they are a fact of modern life and a source of livelihood, whether it be logging or mining. I am not saying that I condone all of the processes involved, but I acknowledge that I benefit from them and thus there is hypocrisy inherent in protesting them.

There is a trade off for everything our species does to the earth. A desire to frame this trade off and question it is what ultimately inspired me to develop Water-Log. The project operates as a space for locals to contemplate the region’s social and ecological history. Stories related to water, a prominent part of the ecological landscape, draw connection between the diverse population and the territory. Most importantly, the project functions as an introduction to a complicated conversation about the rural environment, as well as the role and agency of its human population.

What part of the process of creating this project did you learn the most from?

Probably the field work component. The process of collecting the eleven interviews and stories brought me closer to the project and my objectives. Everything became much clearer after that.

What aspect of this project are you the most proud of?

Probably the presence that it’s been able to hold within the context of my home community. I’m ecstatic that the project has been so well received in Témiscaming and Kipawa — it’s motivation for me to expand it in the future!

How did you react to the news that you won a medal for your work?

I was home alone when I found out, so I just stared at my laptop for a while. Then one of my roommates came home. Once I told her, the reality of it all began to sink in. Right after that I started to phone my family — including the ones living out west. I’m sure the ol’ cellphone company loved me that day.    

What’s your fondest memory from your studies at OCAD U, and what will you miss the most?

I’ll miss those moments of walking into a class on the first day of semester expecting it to be just OK, but then having it blow my mind! OCAD U has been filled with these unexpected gems and I’m so thankful for that. I would hate to have gone though university getting exactly what I expected. The unanticipated is so much better  — it requires one to be creative.

What are you planning to do next?

I will be going to Humber College in the fall for a Graduate Certificate in Arts Administration and Cultural Management. It’s the next step towards my career goal, which is to imagine arts projects and programming that are specific to rural communities. I also plan to expand the Water-Log project  —  hopefully with funding next time around (fingers crossed)!  

Find out more about Meghan Hunter-Gauthier

Water-Log // Registre de l’eau

LinkedIn




Meghan Hunter-Gauthier at GradEx 2014. Photo by Christina Gapic.
Water Log photos collected by Meghan Hunter Gauthier.

Meghan Hunter-Gauthier’s medal award-winning project Water-Log is an online initiative to collect stories about the industrial past and proposed future of the lakes and rivers surrounding Témiscaming and Kipawa in Quebec. Here’s how she describes it:

Water-Log is an online archival initiative to collect audio-recorded stories, memories and sentiments about the lakes and rivers that surround the area of Témiscmaing and Kipawa, Quebec. The project functions as a space for contemplation and reminiscence about history of these territories, by way of personal stories told by their residents.

What inspired you and motivated you to do this project?

The community I am from has held a prominent place in the logging industry for decades. Natural resource consuming industries are blatantly familiar to Témiscaming and Kipawa — they are a fact of modern life and a source of livelihood, whether it be logging or mining. I am not saying that I condone all of the processes involved, but I acknowledge that I benefit from them and thus there is hypocrisy inherent in protesting them.

There is a trade off for everything our species does to the earth. A desire to frame this trade off and question it is what ultimately inspired me to develop Water-Log. The project operates as a space for locals to contemplate the region’s social and ecological history. Stories related to water, a prominent part of the ecological landscape, draw connection between the diverse population and the territory. Most importantly, the project functions as an introduction to a complicated conversation about the rural environment, as well as the role and agency of its human population.

What part of the process of creating this project did you learn the most from?

Probably the field work component. The process of collecting the eleven interviews and stories brought me closer to the project and my objectives. Everything became much clearer after that.

What aspect of this project are you the most proud of?

Probably the presence that it’s been able to hold within the context of my home community. I’m ecstatic that the project has been so well received in Témiscaming and Kipawa — it’s motivation for me to expand it in the future!

How did you react to the news that you won a medal for your work?

I was home alone when I found out, so I just stared at my laptop for a while. Then one of my roommates came home. Once I told her, the reality of it all began to sink in. Right after that I started to phone my family — including the ones living out west. I’m sure the ol’ cellphone company loved me that day.    

What’s your fondest memory from your studies at OCAD U, and what will you miss the most?

I’ll miss those moments of walking into a class on the first day of semester expecting it to be just OK, but then having it blow my mind! OCAD U has been filled with these unexpected gems and I’m so thankful for that. I would hate to have gone though university getting exactly what I expected. The unanticipated is so much better  — it requires one to be creative.

What are you planning to do next?

I will be going to Humber College in the fall for a Graduate Certificate in Arts Administration and Cultural Management. It’s the next step towards my career goal, which is to imagine arts projects and programming that are specific to rural communities. I also plan to expand the Water-Log project  —  hopefully with funding next time around (fingers crossed)!  

Find out more about Meghan Hunter-Gauthier

Water-Log // Registre de l’eau

LinkedIn