Front Room Archives: Tiki Mulvihill : Fire Successional, October 2011

September 9 to October 7, 2011

Tiki Mulvihill, Fire Successional Installation (detail), 2010

Tiki Mulvihill, Fire Successional Installation (detail), 2010

Fires in Western Canada consume thousands of hectares of boreal forest. This naturally cyclical phenomenon also serves as an alarming indication of climate change.

Inspired by landscape recently ravaged by fire, Fire Successional draws attention to both the resilience and fragility of Western forests. This installation ‘forest’ of more than thirty assemblage objects, made from burnt wood and basic hardware, represents beleaguered woodlands. Seemingly in the process of exiting an inferno, the charred timber procession leave charcoaled tracks behind; evidence of their ecological footprint on the land. Visitors can negotiate the charred bits, smudging and erasing pathways to create new trails for traversing by subsequent visitors.

Gathered from forest areas where prescribed burning to circumvent voracious bark beetles and subsequent conflagration, these charred remains signify the burnt timber, the surrounding terrain, and even the fleeing animals and humans evacuating a fire. Fire Successional suggests a landscape, very much in the process of change, where elements re-enact that timeless repetitive process of devastation and re-growth. Spectators enter as active participants in an all too common vision of our forests under stress.

My installation and performance work question seeming truths we construct in our conflicted relationships with place. Referencing hypothetical rather than actual environments, I invite viewers to inhabit these spaces through physical negotiation of paths, structures and transportation networks, hopefully powering their memory, recognition and imagination. A likeness between fiction and reality along with a suspension of disbelief, allow ‘play’ within these immersive constructions to heighten the relationship between site and experience.

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