What does climate anxiety look like? Is there mourning? Anger? Resignation? Hope?

These are some of the things on my mind constantly these days, on top of everything else and in common with millions of others. But it came especially to the fore on a week-long stay on Galiano Island in the summer of 2023, which we now know was the hottest year in recorded history.

After the appalling Lahaina Fire, where embers could be seen spiraling horizontally through the streets on a phone video captured by a desperate, fleeing resident, I could not escape thoughts of a similar fate awaiting any one of a number of locations closer to home. And at an opening of the wonderful Valley Grill on Galiano I spoke with the island’s fire chief about his feelings on climate change and the impact on Galiano specifically, and BC in general. He mentioned that in light of what’s been observed with regards to fire behaviour in the last few years alone, ideas of protecting Galiano with several firebreaks must be revisited. The embers will just blow across. And John Vaillant’s new book “Fire Weather” (which I picked up at the well-stocked Galiano Bookstore) gives further cause for concern as it documents the unprecedented speed and change of the very nature of fires as we crash past environmental red lines.

Mindful of all this I did some filming and photography on Galiano and later at my friend Marian Bantjes’ house on Bowen on an unseasonably warm fall day. I had some vague notion of making a new video poem after “Rig Veda”, the previous video poem done with Christina Shah, was enjoying some success at Spanish and Italian film festivals. So I approached EVENT magazine suggesting it would be nice, in the future, to do some more. But before I could think of a realistic schedule they put a call out! And that’s when Catherine Graham enters the picture.

Catherine has a substantial and highly regarded body of work out which you can check out at the link below. She is also a judge of the CBC Poetry Prize. In any event she showed immediate interest in working together. We met via zoom and got along well. I’d mentioned that I’d like to have a poet respond to the images I make rather than the other way round as is usually the case. I mentioned the Galiano visit and that the images were created with the hot, horizontal winds on the tinder dry islands in mind. I’d read her recent work and it was full of imagery that naturally resonated with me. And there were elements of grief which seemed to connect to a phenomena now attached to the climate crisis.

After bouncing video rough cuts back and forth across the intertubes, Catherine quickly came up with perfection. I had initially used a half-speed recording of music by Brooklyn-based musician Benoit Pioulard for setting the mood but then decided why not ask him to do an original score? And so he did! I was thrilled about this development because on top of it all, he also released “Eidetic”, one of my favourite CD releases of 2023. And the results are also, by my reckoning, something resembling perfection.

Thank you Catherine and thank you Thomas (Benoit)!

So herewith; fireseed.



This new video was premiered at the MANTIS Festival of Electro-Acoustic Music at the University of Manchester (UK) on November 27th, 2022 and will see more screenings throughout 2023. It’s a unique hybrid project that I developed with composer David Berezan during the first two years of the pandemic. It took a while to take this final form and for an appropriate title to emerge but David Berezan and I immediately took to Hydrology. I strongly advise a big screen and good sound system!

HYDROLOGYthe study of the distribution and movement of water both on and below the Earth’s surface, as well as the impact of human activity on water availability and conditions.

Work on Hydrology began during the first post-covid lockdown “re-opening” in the summer of 2020. At the first opportunity I revisited the banks of the Capilano River where I grew up in the shadow of Cleveland Dam during the 1970s. Built in 1954, the dam necessitated the downstream construction of the Capilano Salmon Hatchery in 1971 after it choked off the natural salmon spawning grounds, transforming them into one of Vancouver’s three main lake reservoirs. These were two human interventions into natural water flows and processes which I never questioned at the time. But revisting this place during climate breakdown and a pandemic had me fearing for these systems on many levels.


VR Media is pleased to offer another in our series of video poems, visual adaptations of the work of local poets. The first ones we did featured the work of Liz Bachinsky (Nails and Lions Gate Bridge). Then we did several pieces from Catherine Owen’s The River System (currently viewable on our YouTube channel). This latest offering is a piece I did with Christina Shah after reading her work in EVENT magazine. The title struck me first, rig veda. What is that? It seemed a good fit on several levels so we arranged to nail down a location that reflected the setting and I got down to improvising, guided by the text and conversations we’d had around visual treatment. I added a subtle pulse underneath using a fretless bass and Strymon effects unit. We recorded Christina reading and I adjusted the pitch down just a hair to give it just a bit of “off-ness” in post. Otherwise I just cut it (or, rather, dissolved it) to the feel and mood I got from both the text and footage from the job site down by the “River District.”


What is there left to say about Vancouver treasure Veda Hille? A gifted songwriter with a crystalline voice that has listeners anticipating every line? Sure!

Her new LP, Beach Practice, emerged from the pandemic, as we all did, with some new twists. This track struck me because I never thought I’d ever hear this kind of gauzy, smooth jazz-ish concoction from her. Or that it would work so well. It’s a dream of a piece. And the adaptation of Auden’s poem touching on themes we were all forced to consider in recent years is perfect as well. Beautiful and perfectly imperfect as always!

This was shot on location at Veda’s place, Bowen Island and Pacific Spirit Park. We hope it fits your summer vibe. Enjoy!

Bandcamp:  https://vedahille.bandcamp.com/album/beach-practice

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/album/6PifqicHm6AOab1PNHH3dr

Vancouver-based interdisciplinary artist Emily Hermant works with recycled telecommunications and data cables, stripping them down and arranging them into patterns, casting them in silicone to make colourful moulded wall hangings, or creating rippling sculptures from the wires themselves. “The materials that I’m working with have speed built into them,” says Hermant, a professor of sculpture and expanded media at Emily Carr University of Art and Design. “They have a purpose, which is to connect across these large distances to allow people to communicate really instantaneously.” Her work – on view at the Monte Clark Gallery in Vancouver from Nov. 20 to Dec. 23 – transforms these fast materials through a slow, meticulous process. “I think we’re living in this culture where things happen so quickly,” says Hermant. “The beauty about being an artist is being able to try to take some of those snapshots and slow them down.”