Isachsen, 1948-1978, documents life at this Canadian arctic weather station over its 30 year history. aAron munson curates historic and contemporary photographs and film footage taken by the men who worked at Isachsen, one of whom was his own father. Completing the exhibit are David Hoffos's detailed reproduction of the weather station in the form of a diorama, and Shawn Pinchbeck's haunting, immersive soundscape.
Independent filmmaker and cinematographer aAron munson is based in Edmonton. Since 2003 he has collaborated with visual and audio artists to create music videos, gallery installations, and other works. He blends analog and digital mediums to optimize the flexibility of film and explore digital filmmaking. He is currently working on several projects, one in Russia and one with the CBC. Samples of recent work can be found on his website.
Since earning his BFA with Great Distinction from the University of Lethbridge in 1994, the innovative and prolific Hoffos has mounted over 30 solo exhibitions in more than 20 countries. He represented Canada at the 48th Oberhauser Short Film Festival in Germany; and in 2006 he collaborated with Calgary’s Denise Clarke of One Yellow Rabbit and High Performance Rodeo to create the theatre piece Hoffos/Clarke Conspiracy.
Hoffos is most well-known for his Scenes from the House Dream series, created from 2003 to 2008. These linked, mixed media installations use technology to create illusions of secret doorways, hidden hallways, and miniature scenes. The effects are reminiscent of early cinematic techniques and old magic lantern shows. The viewer required 3-D glasses to view the images. Playing with the Jungian archetype of the house as self and the dream as reflection of the subconscious, Hoffos allows the viewer to experience his "personalized architecture of the self."
In 2009 Hoffos installed Scenes from the House Dream at the National Gallery of Canada. Hoffos is represented in Athabasca University’s Art Collection by one of the Scenes from the House Dream.
For the exhibit Isachson 1948-1978, Hoffos created a diorama of the Isachson weather station as it was in 1971. aAron Munson has included 25 images from Isachson on his website aaronmunson.com; images 14 through 18 are of photos of Hoffos’s diorama. Image 19 is an actual photograph of the weather station with a low, weak sun in the winter sky; Hoffos has recreated the feeling of frigid isolation in his diorama.
Shawn Pinchbeck, electroacoustic music composer, sound artist, and curator, is the third collaborator on the Isachson installation. Pinchbeck, winner of the 2013 Telus Courage to Innovate Award, has a PhD Electroacoustic Music Composition from the University of Birmingham, UK. His work blends sounds from many mediums to create the atmosphere of the high arctic. During the exhibit, Pinchbeck’s soundscape played continually, a haunting and at times ominous presence, echoing airplane engines, wind, and gas flares. These noises can be heard in the videos that we recorded at the Isachson exhibit.
We would like to thank the Art Gallery of Alberta for generously allowing us to record interviews in the RBC New Works Gallery, and especially curator Kristy Trinier for her introduction to the space and the exhibit.