BEAR consists of a rear screen video projection within a wildlife diorama. The diorama case, constructed from the classic materials of museum display — mahogany & glass, (38” long, 24” high and 20” deep) is the sculptural component of the installation. Inside the diorama is a model landscape where trees, moss and pinecones combine with the various flotsam and jetsam of modern life — coffee cups, tissues, and rusted metal. The painted scenic backdrop normally found in classic museum dioramas is replaced by a rear screen video projection.  A black bear ‘wildlife film’ plays continuously on this screen.
The video was shot over a two-year period in rural Ontario. Black bears were documented foraging for food in their ‘natural habitat’ – the township garbage dump. Set in the midst of a parade of SUVs and minivans — a word-less narrative unfolds with both people and animals as the characters. While sometimes humorous, a tenuous and disturbing ecological relationship is portrayed.

Apropos to the twenty-first century, where our experience of the natural world is often technologically or socially mediated, BEAR explores how natural history dioramas construct a view of nature, and how this speaks to our cultural relationship with the natural world.


Length: 9 minute video loop with sound
Year: 2004-2006
Exhibition Format: SD video
Credits: Video by Su Rynard, Sound by Philip Strong