Windrows

AUGUST 2021 | DIGITAL ARTWORK

Windrows is a series of works in conversation with the winds of coastal Ktaqmkuk/Newfoundland. 

‘Windrow’ has agricultural origins: peat, grass, corn, and hay are laid in windrow to dry by exposure to wind; branches and leaves are gathered for collection or disposal (Oxford English Dictionary, 2021). By analogy, ‘windrow’ can also be applied to a row or series of rows of any other materials which have been gathered for drying or collection, or which have been clustered, displaced, carried, or otherwise shaped by the wind itself.

The island of Ktaqmkuk — commonly known as Newfoundland in its colonial context — is a place characterized by its powerful winds; a power recounted in the sciences (e.g., Eamer et al., 2021; Mercer et al., 2017), in literature (e.g., Crummey, 2014; Morgan, 1992; Tomova, 2020), in oral traditions (e.g., Memorial University of Newfoundland Digital Archives Initiative, n.d.; Mi’gmaq Online, n.d.), and in the visual arts (e.g., David Blackwood’s Wesleyville: Cyril’s Kite over Blackwood Hill [Gough, 1996, 18–19]; Pam Hall’s Re-Seeding the Dream East [2017]). Here, the wind is a main character, demanding cooperation, patience, resistance, and, at times, even divination.

At the core of these works are reproductions of photographs originally taken by my mother, Jane Meredith Whitten, in 1973, while visiting friends in Trout River (western Newfoundland) and Brent’s Cove (on the island’s central coast) during university break. Scanned negatives of rows of fish, nets, splitting tables, and fencing are haunted with figures of fish and skiffs, a palimpsest achieved by adding foggy layers of my own photographs made in Newfoundland in recent years. I then introduced an iterative wind energy contour map of Newfoundland — reiterated from the original (Khan and Iqbal, 2004, p. 1216), and reiterated across the series.

While the wind is dependably ever-present, the ways in which it weaves through each environment differs.

WORKS CITED

Crummey, M. (2014). Sweetland. Doubleday.

Eamer, J. B. R., Shaw, J., King, E. L., & MacKillop, K. (2021). The inner shelf geology of Atlantic Canada compared with the North Sea and Atlantic United States: Insights for Atlantic Canadian offshore wind energy. Continental Shelf Research, 213, 104297. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.csr.2020.104297

Gough, W. (2001). David Blackwood: Master printmaker. Douglas & MacIntyre.

Hall, P. (2017). Re-Seeding the Dream East. https://pamhall.ca/work/re-seeding-the-dream-east/

Khan, M. J., & Iqbal, M. T. (2004). Wind energy resource map of Newfoundland. Renewable Energy, 29, 1211–1221. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.renene.2003.12.015

Memorial University of Newfoundland Digital Archives Initiative. (n.d.). Search: ‘wind’, format: ‘audio’. Retrieved September 18, 2021, from https://collections.mun.ca/digital/search/searchterm/wind!audio/field/all!type/mode/all!any/conn/and!and

Mercer, N., Sabau, G., & Klinke, A. (2017). “Wind energy is not an issue for government”: Barriers to wind energy development in Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada. Energy Policy, 108, 673–683. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.enpol.2017.06.022

Mi’gmaq Online. (n.d.). Lexemes for category ‘wind’. Retrieved September 29, 2021, from https://www.mikmaqonline.org/servlet/dictionaryFrameSet.html?method=showCategory&arg0=wind

Morgan, Bernice. (1992). Random Passage. Breakwater Books.

Oxford English Dictionary. (2021). Windrow, n. OED Online. Retrieved August 23, 2021, from http://www.oed.com/view/Entry/229276

Tomova, V. (2020). The wall and the wind. Running the Goat, Books & Broadsides.