On the merits of being bored and cooped up

The polar vortex that chilled much of the Northern Hemisphere to the bone also had a psychological effect on many of us living in the more affected areas. My usual penchant for outdoor adventures and spontaneous photowalks were reduced to calculated supply missions to the corner store and brief reprieves to warm coffee shops.

This winter has been taxing on creative minds, as others can well attest. But we're all sick of hearing about it, as a friend remarks:

"If I hear anyone else say it's been a loooooong winter..."

So we try to keep ourselves occupied until we can roast in the burning sun again.

If you follow me on Instagram or Tumblr, you may already know what I'm getting at. In my restlessness I retreat to the afternoons of my youth, inspired by Mr. Dressup, Art Attack, the Big Book of Science Experiments, and the baby sitter who kept me occupied with afternoon crafting projects. I look to the objects around me. What entertainment can be had with the items at my disposal?

It was this mental state that lead me to create a series of images of liquid & colour, movement & stillness.

How they were made was supposed to be my secret, until my partner, Melissa spilled the beans.

Yes, that graceful ballet of colour is actually just food colouring in a toilet bowl.

But I'm not ashamed. I didn't plan on detailing the process of how the images were captures. I'm sometimes fascinated with the act of removing finished images from the context of their creation. But sometimes it's humourous to see peoples reaction to what is really going on.


Anyone who has spent time in Winnipeg will have noticed the vast area in South Winnipeg left vacant after the exodus of the Canadian Forces.

Glazed eyes may have noticed the empty houses during the daily commute, or noticed the hundreds of metres of barbed wire fence while enroute to IKEA.

It seems like such an unfortunate misuse of the many buildings and land that make up the complex. Local First Nations groups are seeking to acquire the land for residential and commercial developments. Media coverage of the First Nations plans predictably brought bigots out of the woodwork, spewing hate and vitrole on social media and the comment sections. The controversy and the mystery became an obsession to me.

I contact an uncle, a veteran who was once stationed in Winnipeg, to ask if he spent time in the place that now sits as a vacant space. He said he was stationed at Minto Armories, not Kapyong, but vaguely remembered the place. His vague recollections did little to satisfy my intrigue.

I decided to see grounds for myself, so one afternoon I walked the permiter of the barracks, through the snow, along the outside edge of the enclosed complex. Peeking over barbed wire and around warning signs from the Department of Defence. What mysteries remain locked away or forgotten in those many buildings? I felt like David Duchovny, looking over my shoulder for the lone security vehicle that patrols the grounds.

I came home with only these pictures and more questions.

Books I Read in 2013

  • A Long Way Gone - Ishmael Beah

  • The Stranger - Albert Camus

  • Media Control - Noam Chomsky

  • Power Systems - Noam Chomsky

  • Breaking the Sound Barrier - Amy Goodman

  • The Assassination of Fred Hampton: How the FBI and Chicago Police Murdered a Black Panther - Jeffrey Haas

  • Of the People For the People - Robin Hahnel

  • Death of the Liberal Class - Chris Hedges

  • War is a Force that Gives us Meaning - Chris Hedges

  • The World as it is: Dispatches on the Myth of Human Progress - Chris Hedges

  • Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt - Chris Hedges and Joe Sacco

  • Long Story Bit by Bit: Liberia Retold - Tim Hetherington

  • Here I Am: the Story of Tim Hetherington - Alan Huffman

  • Stuck in the Middle: Dissenting Views of Winnipeg - Bartley Kives and Bryan Scott

  • The Dispossessed - Ursula K. LeGuin

  • Homage to Catalonia - George Orwell

  • Shaman - Kim Stanley Robinson

  • Dirty Wars - Jeremy Scahill

  • The Great Shark Hunt - Hunter S. Thompson

  • A People’s History of the United States: 20th Century Edition - Howard Zinn