Exhibitionists·Video

Vancouver Island's ancient rainforests are under threat. This artist is making them into magic

In her new massive IMAX film Embers and the Giants, video installation artist Kelly Richardson pays homage to ancient trees — and imagines a better future.

In her new massive IMAX film, Kelly Richardson pays homage to ancient trees — and imagines a better future

Embers and the Giants. (Kelly Richardson/kellyrichardson.net)

Recently, it was announced that 109 hectares of old-growth rainforest will be auctioned off in the same area in which video installation artist Kelly Richardson filmed her latest work, Embers and the Giants. It's threatening news to Richardson, who is already so aware that gigantic trees like the ones in these woods are at risk of being destroyed.

Richardson, whose large-scale cinematic videos imagine sci-fi landscapes and fantastical worlds, sees science fiction as a vehicle for change — and that's why she incorporates it into her works. She explains: "What science fiction does brilliantly is it allows us to experience what life might be like. And so I use it to suggest potential futures, should we continue down our current trajectory of planetary pillaging and consumption."

Watch the video:

Video installation artist Kelly Richardson points her lens at a Vancouver Island rainforest that needs protecting. Filmmaker: Lisa Wu 3:26

Richardson's work may prompt you to consider how we relate to nature as a species and to consider what the future may look like if we don't choose a different path. In this video made by filmmaker Lisa Wu, you'll travel to the forest with Richardson and get to see her at work making the landscape come alive in Embers and the Giants. The film was commissioned to participate in the XL Outer Worlds project celebrating the 50th anniversary of IMAX. 

Embers and the Giants will be at the Toronto Biennial of Art in Fall 2019, and then it's travelling both across Canada and internationally. You can find out more about Kelly Richardson and her work here

(CBC Arts)
(CBC Arts)
(CBC Arts)

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About the Author

Lise Hosein is a producer at CBC Arts. Before that, she was an arts reporter at JazzFM 91, an interview producer at George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight and a PhD candidate at the University of Toronto. When she's not at her CBC Arts desk she's sometimes an instructor at OCADU and is always quite terrified of bees.