During the creation period of the Boreality project, I engaged with photography in two distinct modes: as a recorder and as a creator. As a recorder I focused on telling a story in each frame. I photographed the Boreality team, the people we encountered, and the landscape, with the intention of describing our experience of discovery both through the boreal forest itself and the communities that call it home. The photographs in this issue are a small sampling of the many photographs I took on the four trips. To see more of this work, please visit the online gallery http://www.borealityphoto.ca/
by Andris Taskans
Boreality is a collaborative effort between Prairie Fire Press, the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra (MCO) and four Winnipeg-based artists. The artists who comprise the project’s creative team are Katherine Bitney (writer), Ken Gregory (sound artist), Mandy Malazdrewich (photographer) and Sid Robinovitch (composer). The fifth member of the team is Prairie Fire’s managing editor, Janine Tschuncky (project coordinator). The purpose of this ongoing project is to celebrate the boreal forest of Manitoba (and Canada) through a multidisciplinary approach involving writing, sound, music and photography.
Year one was the research phase, during which the team travelled to several boreal forest environments, visiting at least one locale per season. This portion of the project offered unique opportunities for both learning and outreach, as the team stayed in communities not usually visited by urban artists. The reports by Janine and Katherine, and the photographs by Mandy, are intended to give you a taste of these excursions.
Environmental reaction informed the creation of each artist’s work; however, the artists also interacted with each other. For example, Katherine wrote a long poem on the subject of the boreal forest. Working with Sid Robinovitch, she adapted her poem into a libretto for his composition, “Cantus Borealis: Song of the Forest.” During the boreal excursions, sound artist Ken Gregory sampled the environment. Ken’s soundscape recording accompanied the MCO’s performance of the Cantus. Mandy Malazdrewich had the difficult double task of reacting to the boreal environment while also documenting the other artists’ process.
This issue’s Boreality supplement includes contributions by all of the members of the creative team along with a selection of work on the boreal theme by some of the many writers from across Canada who responded to our call for submissions. We have more ideas for Boreality than we could fit in this issue, which means that Boreality will make an occasional appearance in the pages of Prairie Fire for months if not years to come.
andris taskans, What Is Boreality?
annette lapointe, You Are Not Needed Now
daniel cowper, Three Poems
dora dueck, Equilibrium
john barton, Two Poems
michelle elrick, Dust House
emily mcgiffin, Two Poems
abby whidden, Colony Collapse Disorder
anne swannell, The Incredible Lightness of Being Me
bev sandell greenberg, Daisy
autumn kindelspire, Two Poems
boreality: listening to the heart of the forest
janine tschuncky, Boreal Log
katherine bitney, Notes from the Boreal Forest
ken gregory, Sounding Stone
katherine bitney, Libretto for Cantus Borealis
mandy malazdrewich, A Note on the Photographs
mandy malazdrewich, Eight Photographs
sid robinovitch, A Note on Cantus Borealis
sid robinovitch, An Excerpt from Cantus Borealis:
Song of the Forest
richard van camp, Devotion
leonard neufeldt, Three Poems
eleonore schönmaier, The Stern Paddler
louise carson, Plastic Bucket
joan baril, Sammi
dan macisaac, Wood Bison: Calving
donna besel, Sam, Lump and the Boathouse Reno
fran bennett, Four Poems
janine tschuncky, Out of Rock
Notes on Contributors
Bev Sandell Greenberg
Richard Van Camp
When Krista first started coming to the track, she wore heels and a jean skirt. No nylons, obviously. But in heels she could only go as far as the clubhouse. She could sit in the bar, drinking dollar-fifty diet cokes and cuddling up to happy-looking older guys, the ones who were winning. She could walk across a parking lot, but she couldn’t jump a fence. Couldn’t go back into the barns.
The guys in the bar were steady customers, mostly, but the older guys made her skin crawl, and they offered her crumpled twenties pulled out of their front pockets. Or they asked her to reach in and take them.
All I ever wanted was to stay alive,
and be happy . . .
— Diana Brebner
She beached her green canoe in calm
white water and stepped back on shore
her face angled to dusk: a door
blew open in the woods, a balm
she walked through, branches still in leaf
backpack light for agile passage
—no threat of return, her vantage