In 2009, as part of the International Polar Year (IPY), I participated as a scientist in a 14-day oceanographic research expedition in the Beaufort Sea aboard the Canadian Coast Guard Ship Amundsen. The International Polar Year was an international scientific research program focussed on providing a baseline set of observations of polar environments in the face of a changing global climate. According to the Canadian government, the IPY served an additional role: "...IPY will also create a more complete scientific understanding of the North that can be applied to address issues related to our environment and the well-being of our communities."
In 1946, the Canadian Armed Forces and the Royal Canadian Air Force participated in Operation Muskox, a 3100 mile and 81 day operation embarking from Churchill Manitoba, traversing the winter Arctic landscape northward to Victoria Island, onto Fort Newman NWT, and ending in Edmonton, AB. The primary aim of the expedition was to test the utility of overland transport technologies while facing exceedingly difficult winter Arctic weather conditions, and to determine the feasibility of a polar invasion into the Americas. The exercise is part of a series of military and RCMP operations in the Arctic to maintain sovereignty over the high Arctic before, during, and after World War II.
The works in Field Truth are composite digital collages using archived images from Operation Muskox and the IPY research expedition I took part in. The representation of the two expeditions are entwined in each piece, complicating the relationship between observer and observed. The series speaks to contemporary representations of the north through artistic and scientific observations, frontier Canadian landscape paintings of 18th and 19th century, and the role they play in aiding the colonization and maintenance of sovereignty over remote regions of the country.