So, lets go by day (brief synopsis):
Friday, July 13th - I went to the Bear Creek complex today. A few of the other artists that had gone Thursday went as well, but not as many. Most had gone to work in their studios for the show that opens tomorrow (Thursday, July 19th). I don't plan to participate in the exhibition, but want to go anyway to see what the place is all about!! It's presently owned by Parks Canada, so we had to get permission to go. Everything on site is considered an artifact so were not allowed to grab anything to take back with us, which is a shame because there are huge amounts of wood and metal that were mostly just left here when it was abandoned. The story I got about its abandonment is that it became unprofitable to mine there anymore, so the company that ran the town just shut it down...of course... There is one residence still being used there, maybe by a Parks Canada person?? Not sure, but we were told that there was one house that we couldn't go snooping around. All of the buildings are locked (except for one door to the tin house (tin storage?)) So I sneak in there to shoot some pics. I also was able to shoot through some open window/door areas into the largest shop area. There are lots of items in there, all tagged as artifacts. Here are some pics of the town, etc.:
|One of the first houses upon entering town, leaning due to the shift in the permafrost layer.|
|A large pipe that pumped water to the from the Klondike River to the town, now over a bridge that has an unnamed creek running under it.|
|Most of the town centered around the mining of gold and other metals, so the work shops, smelters, repair, and other industrial shops are the main physical feature once you get into 'town'|
|These were some interesting large hinges that were on most of the large shop house doors (they are also on a few places in Dawson as well).|
|Rail lines running out of the main large mining shop.|
|Inside the Tin House.|
|Also inside the Tin House. The floors were already buckling in several places so I didn't spend much time snooping around in here...|
|In-between the Tin House and the large mining shop.|
|This and the image above it were taken through a small open square window on one of the locked doors to the large mining shop, note the tags on the 'artifacts' in the above picture.|
|Image of the gold smelting room. Notice that its built mostly out of sod with no windows, a pleasant place to work no doubt!|
|Detail of the sod construction with a wood facade.|
The following images show the remains of a sort of junk yard. One of the folks with me related that even though the town closed down in the 60's it was still isolated and poor enough to be behind the times even for then - cars/truck from the 30's and 40's that were probably driven until they died.
The following images were taken on the 'island' portion of the town. It's not much of an island anymore because certain parts had been filled in to move most of the houses out of the area when the town closed down. There were still a few buildings left over here, and a huge cloud of mosquitos that sucked about a liter of blood out of me...
|The Community Center.|
|The wood foundation and 'basement' of a house that's been removed|
|An old log cabin with the roof collapsed.|
while in Bear Creek I snapped a lot of photos, did a little discovering, and lost some blood to the mosquitos. Another artist found a medium sized black bear skull. It was interesting, but really not greatly influential. I do, however, want to return to a place just outside the entrance to the town where there's some amazing tailing piles (dredge piles), and an almost completely destroyed dredge machine!!
Saturday, July 14th:
Having spent most of the day in Bear Creek yesterday I really didn't get much done in the studio. I have been working on rendering a video I captured of the road grader in town. I've slowed its speed down to .25% of its original run time so it moves at a more glacial pace across the screen. It took a 30 second video and made it into about an hour and half...
My big concern at the moment os working on getting the waterfall mechanism working for the installation component of my upcoming exhibition. While I've achieved this before at home, each time I do this the piece is slightly different, which brings on new engineering challenges (especially since I'm not actually an engineer...). So I spent much of the day in the studio as well as Sunday (July 15th) working on a mock up of the major components of the system, minus the tens of feet of PVC pipe that I'll need in the final piece. I wanted to at least get a proof of concept by Wednesday or Thursday of the coming week. I've included some images of the mock up proof of concept (which didn't really work...). Everything is pretty much closed on Sunday's here (including the 1 hardware store and the 2 industrial supply shops). So I had to wait until Monday to get the PVC I needed to work on a more accurate proof of concept form:
|I set up a plastic sheeting collection 'pool' so I could reclaim most of the pellets used in the test.|
|I also started a new rock form using a 3 liter bottle.|
|This is the first rock form more refined, though it may still need a little work, but its getting close.|
Also my final package finally arrived. I had inquired online as to its whereabouts since when I'd checked on it the last thing stated was that it had cleared customs in Vancouver. When it did arrive apparently there were some customs charges that still needed to be paid...not sure why exactly. I'd sent up some printer paper, transparency sheets, several kinds and sizes of printer paper, and other small studio things that I'd though I'd originally pack into my bags, but there wasn't any room...
I'd also packed more black foam for use up here (which I'm glad I did now...)
|When it arrived the package of transparency paper that I had thrown on top of everything had left this great indentation!!|
I worked more in the studio today, but went out to Northern Industrial Sales (about 2 blocks from the ODD Gallery/KIAC headquarters) in town to order some PVC pipe and fixtures. Since the mock up was a bust I spent some time on Sunday working out how much pipe I'd need and the elbows and fixtures. I was surprised to find out that they had most of what I needed in stock at Northern, with some on the way in a shipment due for tomorrow. Theirs prices weren't as great as I had been told (when I touched base with them they said they could 'beat the crap' out of the prices at the hardware store...). They ended up only being a few cents cheaper at best, and the pipe was about $34 for 12'!! Which is super expensive - shit!! Luckily the gallery is reimbursing me for most of my materials costs, so it should be alright... They would need to deliver the pipe since I only had a one speed bike with a small cart lashed to it (works great for scavenging, but not for 5 lengths of 3" x 12' pipe...), and said they'd be around a little after lunch, though it was almost noon as it was.
So I went home to work some more on the video and editing photos, as well as the rock forms, and waited for the pipe to arrive....and waited...and waited...until about 3:30 when I hiked part of the Ninth Avenue trail to the Crocus Bluffs, which are at the south end of town near the confluence. I chose not to take my camera with me this time, it was more of an exploratory mission and I was a little tired of lugging it everywhere I went (heavy backpack=sweat=mosquitos...). It was beautiful, and now that I know how to more easily get to the top of the bluffs I'll bring my camera next time. It has a great over look of the confluence, and is a little more alpine in nature since its on the top of the crest of land behind the town. There are more wild berries coming into bloom up there, and the paths are pretty short. they all lead to the road that goes to the top of the "Dome" behind Dawson (my next trek), and can lead to the Klondike Era graveyards!! Lots of unmarked graves or graves where the wooden headstones are completely worn away. The ones that are carved (either in relief or with raised letters) still mostly have their shape and some of their color. There were several graves of babies or young children (probably unfortunately born or brought into the harsh winter wilderness of the Yukon). There are 3 graveyards total: One general graveyard that also has the NWMP (Northwest Mounted Police - precursor to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police of today) graves, one YOOP (Yukon Order Of Pioneers), and a Catholic Cemetery. They're all right next to each other, but fenced off from one another. I hiked around the cemeteries for a while, and then decided to head back down the road to town. On a side note, when I came out of the side path that I had taken (lots of deer trails, cross country ski trails, etc that branch off the main path), and ended up on the North side of the cemeteries I wasn't sure of exactly where I was on the hill (the sun basically makes a giant loop up here, so you can't always tell exact direction or time based on it). Luckily I had taken note of several things in my time here so far: There are 3 antennae or radio towers in a line on the hill behind town (those were now directly in front of me. I could see the smaller of the two rivers off to my left (the Klondike) which meant that the confluence was between the towers and my true left. And, the Dome that come before the Moosehide Slide was to the right of me - North. I knew that I'd found a road, so I wan't really panicked, but it always helps to know where you are if you're this far away from home...
So, anyway, I made my way down the road which come out on King Street, just a few block North of the residency. On the way down I'd noticed wild strawberries and cranberries (not yet ripe) growing and decided to divert down the Power Line Trail (very steep - directly up and down the slope of the hill behind Dawson) to see what was growing there - its much closer to home than everywhere else the berries were growing. So I slid my way down most of the trail, taking note as I went of what was growing where, and what would be the easiest way to get back to them for the future.
Arriving home I found the pipe had been delivered - slung over the picket fence out side of the residency. All was in good order so I stowed it into the shed for tomorrow (and some experimenting tonight!). I cooked some dinner, relaxed a little, and then worked out plans for creating the real waterfall apparatus for the piece. I worked on this a little tonight, and set up the rest for tomorrow by dropping off material in the workshop at SOVA (the electric was off to the tools, so I'd contact John Steins in the morning to see about leaving the power on for me in the future...
Tuesday, July 17th:
I got up a little bit earlier today to eat and get to SOVA to make the cuts I needed for the waterfall box. I'd decided to feed the PVC into a box that had construction wire stretched out inside of it so that when the air driven pellets entered the box, they'd hit the construction mesh, slow down and sort themselves to fall over the lip of the box. Cutting went smoothly enough, and I had the material I needed ready to go and back to the studio in no time. I'm finding the bike/cart set up to be pretty handy for most things!! I worked for most of the day to construct the box, cut PVC, attach everything and test it out. I had originally planned for the tube to go all the way through the box with holes drilled into its underside for the pellets to fall out. But, upon testing this I found that the air backed up on itself and negated its own forward movement, halting the pellets just inside the tube. I overcame this by remembering what I had done before, which is to terminate the tube into the box, allowing the air to disperse more rapidly. After testing this and adding several more vertical construction mesh barriers I had........SUCCESS!!!!!!!!!!!
Here are some pics of the inside of the box:
|I affixed a flange to end for both an easy release of the pipe, and to give a firm junction.|
|I applied window screen over the top of the box in layers for extra air exhaust. Its overlapped well enough that only the tiniest of the nurdles could possibly find their way through, though tend to drop with the rest of the pellets.|
Tuesday, July 18th:
I spent most of the day working to cut the wedges you see in the images above, fill the back end of the bottom of the box with wood, and dress it with black foam. This will allow me to start working on the 'walls' and 'rapids' of the piece in the studio, as well as layout the pipe system. The piece is well on its way with a little less than a month before its installation. I'll have updated pics tomorrow or the next day of its process. The Music Festival starts tomorrow with a concert by Ron Sexsmith, and the rest of the festivities really kick in on Friday, so I hope to have more accomplished before Friday night.