By Rebecca Garrett
running time: 55 min, 10 sec

search>geography>erasure>affect is an experimental video essay, an investigation into the history of the land and cultures of Southwestern Ontario. It looks at how the land shapes the stories that people tell and the ways that they tell them. Not just the natural landscape, but everything within that landscape: buildings, roads, gravel pits, factory farms, golf courses, military bases… The project focuses in on the histories of military bases in the area and the legacy of a military presence that continues to influence the lives, society, culture, and environment in the region.

During WW2, RAF Station Clinton was used as a radar training center, and nearby Centralia and Ipperwash bases were used to train soldiers and later cadets. The project explores the origins of representational technologies (cameras, recording devices, computers, etc ) in the military. After World War 2, remote sensing (radar) and satellites have been used for surveillance (military and corporate) and defence (during cold war, the Pine Tree Line; now the much-debated US Missile Defence System).

Research into the history of representational technologies and frameworks intersects with personal histories, community stories and the banality of the present in the rural communities of Southwestern Ontario.

There is an autobiographical element to this project: my family lived on the Clinton Air Force base when I was born. A little house that I inherited beside the Maitland River is the place in the world that I call ‘home’. Notions of home also bring up issues of displacement, colonization, social erasure, subjectivity, and disjunctions between the global and the local. search>geography>erasure>affect explores the interconnectedness of narratives, places, histories, people… a search for relations that have been elided or erased.

Rebecca Garrett
April 27, 2011