Alan McFetridge, Songs of the Dead

3 – 29 Apr 2024
Lauderdale House, Waterlow Park, Highgate Hill, London N6 5HG

An Earth Day Exhibition at Lauderdale House, London

Join us in exploring the aftermath of this century’s most intense urban fire and the rapidly changing relationship between human expansion and the fierce face of fire. In May 2016, in the traditional lands of the Cree, Dene and unceded territory of the Métis, Fort McMurray, Alberta, the hub of Canada’s oil industry, was upturned by wildfire. The multi-billion-dollar disaster that raised entire neighbourhoods and drove 90,000 from their home in a single afternoon.

Artist and photographer Alan McFetridge visited Fort McMurray in October 2016, at the start of winter, and then again during mid-winter in 2017 to understand the local challenges in the aftermath of the Fort McMurray disaster and its meaning for life on Earth.

The exhibition is an experiment that asks how photography can better address socio-ecological issues within climate change through poetics and offer a way of resisting the norms of documentary photography, rationale or civil disruption.

The photography is shown as an artist’s manuscript, which is expanded onto the gallery walls and doorways as prints, text and sound and then synthesised with additional works by the transdisciplinary Centre of Ecological Philosophy*. These offer alternative perspectives on the same event with an essay by researcher Antoinette Johnson, community feedback from Fort McMurray by anthropologist Emma McLoughlin, Earth observation tools by data scientists Eric Yusef and Mohamed Mazy, a recorded discussion with artist Justin Hibbs, a peer-reviewed visual essay with Dan Devit and two Dialogue Evenings.

The two Dialogue Evenings are on 10 and 17 April to expand the projects beyond artistic interpretation. Fort McMurray resident and collaborator Megan Bastien and Alan McFetridge will mediate a discussion between people at the exhibition in London, online and the Fort McMurray residents. Each night will include a keynote speaker. I would love you to attend these, email here for a link or more information.

*During the pandemic, UKGOV provided funding to form an arts research team, the C.E.P.