Genius loci Fundy is a geo-videopoetry project based on the Fundy Biosphere Reserve.
In antiquity, the Romans believed that every place had a protective spirit that defined its character. The apparition of a spirit is always the result of a combination of factors: physical, biological, social and historical. The essence of a place exists at the edge of materiality and immateriality, of the natural landscape and the human construct. It evokes a relationship between human thought and a geographical site and can sometimes invoke the mysterious elusiveness that inhabits certain locations.
In 2007, the upper Bay of Fundy was officially granted designation as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. It is a vast territory of 440,000 hectares encompassing a core area, buffer zone, and a transition area (see map below). These territorial boundaries are the most tangible links between the spirit of a society and a location. If the spirit of a place stems from the location, it also takes meanings from the relation between its geography and the people who gravitate toward it.
It is in this relational context that we would like to explore the interaction between place and mind, between what exists geographically (forest, lake, material objects) and what exists immaterially or intangibility (memories, rituals, oral histories). We are planning to immerse ourselves into a multilayered environment.
We will be exploring the core area (Fundy Park) without abandoning the buffer zone of the transition area (Cape Maringouin, Cape Enrage, mudflats). We will go into the park, but we will also meet people who live nearby: the biologists, the hunters, the farmers and the fishermen.
Our mode of operation will be intuitive and based upon the continual exchange between the poetic experience and the audio-visual realities of the world. The exploration of the locus and the discoveries that we will make there will contribute to the project development. Our writing for videos will evolve as we become more familiar with the terrain. Through being there, through walking and questioning, we will be able to create works that are rooted in the complexity of the Fundy Biosphere.
This project revolves around the idea of transmission and we are aware that the cultural re-contextualization that we will create, will give rise to new spirits, new conditions, that will momentarily contribute to the evolution and the transformation of the existing spirits of the place. This transmission is essential in as much as – a spirit of a place that is not transmitted, dies. We also believe that the phenomenon of shifting baselines plays an important role and we will be particularly attentive to its manifestations.
We plan to create 12 videos – in ultra-high-definition 4k – as well as other visual and textual documents. Figuratively speaking, these elements will form a poetic cartography of the region and will function as legends at the bottom of maps, giving a longitudinal access to space as well as a vertical access to memory.
 L’esprit du lieu: entre le patrimoine matériel et immatériel /Spirit of Place: Between Tangible and Intangible Heritage, Presses de l’Université Laval, QC, 2009.