Kinnikinnick - Plant Encounters
Team: Michael MacLean and Nate Jones
Exact location:  64.0670180, -139.4190882
Animation from 3D Digital Modelling based on Photograph, 13s Looped, 2020
Kinnikinnick is a small, unassuming plant, synonymous with the understory of the boreal forest. A symbol of subarctic resilience, it holds onto its berry well into the fall, emitting luscious pops of red while other colours fade as the season wanes. It is familiar to many and known by different names, the most common being Bearberry.  Kinnikinnick appeals to us because of its tenacity and its ability to reclaim the forest floor.  Where it becomes established, it creates a green living blanket, bringing life into spaces forgotten by humans. 

This work is a collaborative submission by Artist and Designer Michael MacLean and Photographer Nate Jones. These strange times find half of this collaboration stranded in the Maritimes and unable to return home to Dawson. As artists, we were drawn to this submission as a way of exploring how to feel a sense of closeness to a natural place while thousands of kilometres apart. Not only is this work an opportunity to collaborate on a piece in honour of the hills we have both spent countless hours exploring but as a conversation between mediums and friends from across the country. Our collaboration is an exploration in understanding how the plants we encounter help us to place ourselves in the world we live in and reflect on questions about how plants can help us to better understand and contribute to the collective memory of a place. 

For Nate (currently in Dawson), the challenge was using a series of images to capture both the details and the feelings associated with Kinnikinnick in a specific time and place. For Michael (currently in Halifax), the challenge was in reading and translating from photographs and his own memories. The resulting work was a carefully crafted digital sculpture in 3D modelling software.