Sophie Jaillet · 2017 ArtScape Artist-In-Residence

Monday, July 31st, to Friday, September 8th, 2017

The Joggins Fossil Institute is pleased to announce that the 2017 ArtScape Artist-In-Residence is Sophie Jaillet from Montréal.

Sophie was chosen from among 15 other artists, across Canada and internationally, to take up a 6-week residency program and the Joggins Fossil Centre sometime during 2017. ArtScape The Artist-In-Residence Program at the Joggins Fossil Center is contingent upon funding.

Sophie Madeleine Jaillet is an artist and a rock collector from Montréal, Québec. Through obsessive observation, scientific methodology, fieldwork, and sculptural experiments, Jaillet explores her human finitude in a state of geological awareness. Her practice underlines the ungraspable nature of geological and climatological processes, as well as highlights the limits of human perception when attempting to engage with large-scale occurrences. Jaillet’s recent work is the result of a research-based studio practice, in which she manipulates and speculates about the materials of the Anthropocene.

Sophie Madeleine Jaillet holds a BFA from Concordia University (Montréal, 2013) and a MFA from NSCAD University (Halifax, 2016).


During my time at the ArtScape residency, I would like to start and complete a Joggins specific iteration of a new long-term landscape surveillance project. STILL* is a growing collection/archive of observation drawings of Canadian landscapes affected by climate change and geological activity. This work takes the form of repeated drawn documentation of the same chosen site in a given period of time with the intention of recording the variations in the topography caused by geological activity and/or climate change. STILL examines the notions of stillness and movement by intersecting geological and human timelines, as well as challenge the notion of endurance often associated with the environment, landscapes and rocks.

This project is developed around a regimented contemplation and documentation/drawing practice that imposes slowness and stillness on the observer in order to potentially witness the transformation of Canadian landscapes in the Anthropocene. This intimate and sensorial approach to data collecting and archive building aims to join human and geological temporalities in this obsessive and absurd (and impossible) endeavor of recording extreme slowness and amplitude. STILL is essentially a set of rules; it is the instructions that are followed every time a site is chosen and documented. The protocol is applied daily and repeated in a ridiculous and pathetic manner in an attempt to observe change and movement in static geological structures. The resulting body of work is a large number of drawings (at least one per workday of residency) of the exact same landscape. STILL is rooted in obsession, absurdity and pathos, but it is also a rational attempt at temporal consciousness. The project involves a shift in the contemporary pace of existence and can only exist at the sublime intersection of geological and personal timelines.

Some of the potential sites for the project involve geological and climate-related occurrences – such as tectonic drift or rising sea levels — that are impossible to perceive without equipment, while others are surrounded by melting glaciers or eroding cliffs that could potentially be recorded in the accumulation of drawings. Each iteration will differ in temporality, scale and meaning, depending on the site that is monitored and if change is observed (or not). STILL aims to emphasize the complexity of the interconnectivity and site-specificity of global processes like geological activity and climate change, as well as create a conscious space for ecological awareness in the Anthropocene.

Joggins’ unique geological history and carboniferous heritage makes it a perfect location to complete a new chapter of STILL. As the preserved Pennsylvanian ecosystems — exposed to the extreme tides of the Bay of Fundy — are gradually being un/discovered, new paleontological narratives are constructed. The weathering and erosion power affecting this coastal section, while actively shaping the landscape, creates knowledge and awareness. The production of STILL intends, like the study of the distinctive fossil record at Joggins, to generate meaning out of a collection of impressions of things fixed in time.

* The official protocol for STILL will be finalized during the Art of Stillness residency at the Banff Center for Arts and Creativity in September 2016 and will be the official guidelines for production of work during the ArtScape residency.

Published: 2016-05-05