Submerged, surfacing, retrieved. Aléas du repêchage et mémoires des perceptions.
A tourist map usually helps people find personal moments within a well-travelled geography. This map traces memories pulled from a heritage archive of newspaper pages. It is an allegorical reminder that, as much as the Lachine Canal stands in evidence of the impact that people can have upon their environment, these waters have also had effects upon people. Over more than a century, the murky depths have claimed the lives of immigrants, semi-skilled labourers, longshoremen, sailors, soldiers, housewives, small-town mayors, gangsters, husbands, wives, sons and daughters – now made visible as dots on the map and in sensationalistic headlines. Maintenance of the Lachine Canal – a regular draining and refilling – creates metaphorical moments when a submerged story, linking the ambivalence of human life to a landmark, resurfaces.
At the request of Douglas Scholes (The Wanderer), Felicity Tayler created this mapping of archival agency using melting ice drawn from the Lachine Canal and press clippings culled from the Revues et journaux québécois digital heritage collection at the Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec. This map proposes the Lachine Canal as a cultural geography of complicated feelings, recentring its waters as protagonist rather than scenery.
This map was made possible with the help of the following people: Will Straw gave access to his collection of Allo Police!; Andrés Castillo provided photo documentation of the watercolours; Daniel Canty massaged the syntax of the title.
Felicity Tayler, is an artist concerned with news media as the material substrate of social imaginaries.