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m a r t e n   b e r k m a n

the ecology of perception

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As ecological, social, cultural and economic forces have been playing out on the Yukon’s landscape, I created

“Piles of Trees/Overburden/Pile of Stones” (Remote Sensibility VI: Untrue North).

The S3D video installation Piles of Trees was inspired by systemic razing and burning of boreal forest for industrial purposes. In the case of mining, it is deemed Overburden for the resource values underneath. The quantitative subsurface values of the landscape that turn boreal forest into overburden, compelled me to expand the piece to include “Pile of Stones”. Pile of Stones brought the physical footprint of 1000 kg of ore required to extract one gram of gold through the cyanide heap leach process, into the gallery space through the virtual reality of stereoscopic 3D parallelogram. In addition, virtual cavities in the gallery floor provided a metaphorical view on the invisible relationships beneath our manufactured spaces.


Portions of this installation were presented in 2012 at Yukon Arts Center Gallery in the exhibit  “Untrue North” curated by Earl Miller, at IPY 2012 (Symposium for International Polar Year in Montreal), and in the group exhibit “Cascadia” , curated by Scott Marsden, at the REACH gallery, Abbotsford, BC.

I am fascinated by the use of stereoscopic illusion to blur the boundaries, realistically and metaphorically, between manufactured gallery spaces and remote physical geographies.

Can  media technology bring meaningful attention to details in our relationships with remote geographical spaces?

How do we experience the land mediated through our media technology?

Multiscreen interactive stereoscopic 3D video installations portraying fragments of narrative, including the viewer, unfolding in remote northern and urban/industrial southern environments. I like to use S3D in creating planes of illusion in the gallery space, where the subject scale matches the platform scale and dissolves the boundaries between the viewer and the remote geographies where the story plays out.


I am interested in breaking the barrier of our passive portrayal of “wild” landscape, by having the viewer reflected/projected into the landscape we behold. As we depend upon and impact distant geographies that we may never perceive first hand, would this be a more accurate portrayal of ourselves?

Still from Erratic Silence, interactive S3D video installation, TAIS

I am also interested in the many notions of our relationship with the land, ranging from subsistence to romanticism, industrial exploitation to spirituality. I like to provide subtle reflections of these different values in the land through fragments of performance, from drama to dance to poetry, as well as documentation of our subsistence and industrial interactions with the land. It is a means for the viewer to discover seemingly disparate and distant realities, in close proximity...and perhaps discover their own story in the process.


Hart to Heart: reflection/réflexions

Inspired by the Hart river in the Canadian subarctic, Hart to Heart: reflections is the first in a series of visual, virtually tactile, and auditory meditations on the land and our relationship with it as an urban and industrial culture.http://www.martenberkman.com/art/h2h.html

Hart to Heart
feature length experimental S3D docudrama - in development

In an embattled northern watershed, a river takes us on a journey through human nature, wild nature, and 
leads us to…  ourselves.http://www.martenberkman.com/art/h2h.html


Remote Sensibility VII

Interactive stereo 3D video installations

Moon and mountain image by Joe Muething


Remote Sensibility VI
stereo 3D video and photo installationhttp://www.martenberkman.com/art/rs_vi.html
projection intérieure projection 

Created with friend and collaborator Baptiste Bohelay, we did our first experiments in projecting viewers into geographies I had recorded stereoscopically. This is what I integrate and expand upon in “Remote Sensibility VII”. Please view the sample below in stereo 3D with anaglyph glasses. Choose 3D and red/cyan in the Youtube 3D options.http://www.martenberkman.com/art/pip.htmlhttp://lebaptiste.comhttp://www.martenberkman.com/art/pip.htmlshapeimage_30_link_0shapeimage_30_link_1

Erratic Silence


Characters play a Brontë-esque moment, but in the Canadian landscape. I beg to ask, what  are our collective contemporary emotive and spiritual stories in a land which is both remote, and home? And when the land has been the silent witness to the discrimination and forced relocation imposed on aboriginal peoples? What displacement brought settlers from distant lands? When and where is the gyre of suffering broken?