During summer solstice 2015 in Dawson City, Yukon, the Midnight Sun Camera Obscura Festival brought together an international group of artists and other researchers interested in cameras obscura and related optical phenomenon as a meeting place of art and science, cultural and wilderness settings, learning and play.
The Midnight Sun Camera Obscura Project exhibition, organized and circulated by the University of Lethbridge Art Gallery, presents selected works produced during or in response to the Festival.
The project was conceived by Kamloops-based artist and visual arts professor Donald Lawrence and, with funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, the group carried out extensive research during 2014 and 2015. With this exceptional support, the artists were able to produce strong and diverse work that engaged visitors in the interplay of art and science as well as thinking about ideas of the North. Using the long days to provide max-imum effect, the festival included a range of public-site installations around Dawson City, exhibitions in the local galleries, workshops and a community exhibition with the Yukon Arts Centre, performances, tours, and public talks.
Camera obscura simply means dark room in Latin, a term coined to describe devices used to aid perception, but can include any darkened space into which light enters through a small opening (sometimes aided by a lens and a mirror). As is clear in the range of work in this exhibition, this deceptively simple technology continues to fascinate contemporary artists and scholars.
Curated from the results of the festival, this exhibition includes one of the actual cameras obscura; images projected by several of the devices; documentation of the event; and new work produced by the artists in response to the initial research.
As a further complement to the exhibition, Hamilton-born, Calgary-based artist Dianne Bos has installed Star Shed, a multi-aperture camera obscura chamber, on the lawn in front of the McMaster Museum of Art