Karianne Bueno | Doug’s Cabin

Karianne Bueno Doug's Cabin

21 februari – 4 april 2015

Wij nodigen u van harte uit voor de tentoonstelling Doug’s Cabin van Karianne Bueno. Dit project, waar ze vijf jaar geleden aan begon, wordt voor het eerst in het geheel gepresenteerd. De tentoonstelling wordt gecomplementeerd met enkele illustraties van Medy Oberendorff.

Bueno onderzoekt in haar werk en fotoboeken utopische plekken die ontsnapt zijn aan de menselijke drang tot maakbaarheid. In onbekende landschappen gaat ze op zoek naar haar lang verkleurde herinneringen, dromen, boekflarden en filmscènes die zich schuilhielden achter haar alledaagse beslommeringen. Die verweeft ze al fotograferend tot een verhaal. Van haar projecten in België en Japan verschenen fotoboeken waarin haar kwaliteiten als editor en verhalenverteller nadrukkelijk naar voren komen.

Haar nieuwste project gaat over Doug, die een primitieve camping runt diep in een afgelegen regenwoud op Vancouver Island. De gebouwen op het terrein komen van een militaire radar basis die Canada en de V.S. tijdens de Koude Oorlog moest beschermen tegen een mogelijke Russische raketaanval. De plek is, in het licht van de wens om te ontsnappen aan het alledaagse, een droomwerkelijkheid, maar ook een doemscenario. Het spanningsveld is voelbaar in Bueno’s werk.

We cordialy invite you to the exhibition Doug’s cabin by Karianne Bueno. This project, she started working on five years ago, will be presented for the first time in its totality. The exhibition is complemented by illustrations by Medy Oberendorff.

In her work and photo books, Bueno explores utopian places that are unaffected by the human urge for makeability. She delves into new sceneries looking for her long ago washed-out memories, dreams, book snippets and movie scenes that were concealed by her everydayness. A story gets woven whilst photographing these fragments. Her projects in Belgium (Asper) and Japan resulted in the photo books Asper and Haiiro in which her excellence as an editor and storyteller stands out.

Her newest project focuses on Doug who runs a primitive campground in the remote rain forest of Vancouver Island. The buildings on the site originate from a Cold War militairy radar base, built to protect Canada and the U.S. from a potential Russian attack. Considering its desire to escape the daily routine, turns the location in both a dream reality and a doom scenario. This area of tension can be felt in Bueno’s work.

Meer over de tentoonstelling
installation views
Karianne Bueno Doug's Cabin
Karianne Bueno Doug's Cabin
Karianne Bueno Doug's Cabin
Karianne Bueno Doug's Cabin
tekst Karianne

“I met Doug five years ago. He runs a primitive campsite in the remote rainforest of Vancouver Island, Canada. I’ve always dreamt of a life like Doug’s – away from society, at one with nature – but it scares me all the same. The forest is too dense, the animals are too dangerous, the loggers too awkward.

Doug doesn’t receive many visitors. There are very few tourists and most of them come to hike a gruelling ten-day trail around the North coast. They don’t need a costly, no facilities campsite before or after that. I also left after one night, but promised to send Doug a postcard from Amsterdam. Back home, I couldn’t find his address. The postcard got lost in a drawer, but Doug never left my thoughts. What makes someone turn away from society like that? How do you survive in the wilderness? I have always longed to escape, but would I actually be able to do it?

In October 2012 I sent an extensive letter to the Holberg post office – one of the few inhabited places in the vicinity of Doug’s campsite. To my surprise, I got an email two weeks later. “Nothing much changed here in San Jo. Any info you need, just ask.” I’ve been working on my project Doug’s cabin ever since.

Doug has been living in the forest for 47 years. The wilderness is so familiar to him, he can’t answer my questions. He simply doesn’t understand them. Seclusion has made him weary of others although he’s not the hermit-type; he likes to chat, especially about his favourite radio show (Coast to Coast, the Conspiracy Theory radio) and local history, which I found out has had a huge influence on Doug’s life choices. His campsite, appropriately called San Josef Heritage Park, is on the exact spot where a large group of nineteenth-century pioneers had tried to build their lives, but failed. If you know where to look, their traces are still there. Furthermore, most of the buildings on Doug’s campsite originate from a military radar base that had been situated a couple of kilometres away. It was built in the nineteen-fifties to protect Canada and America from a potential Russian missile attack. Doug used to work at the base as a carpenter. When it closed down at the end of the Cold War, Doug saw his best years almost literally go up in smoke. He saved whatever he could from the fire that burnt the military village down – wooden shacks, bowling pins, books and toys. The biggest building on his grounds (which, by the way, is yet another piece of local history) should have been Doug’s life’s work: a hostel for worn-out hikers. Instead, it accommodates an extensive collection of forgotten, mundane objects from the base, alongside other gathered oddments.

Doug’s knees and back are turning bad. He knows he can’t survive much longer in his dwelling in the forest. But he’s stuck there. He can’t just leave his life, his collection and his history behind.”

Doug’s cabin is about our contemporary duality towards wilderness; about the timeless, persistent belief in the feasibility of life and our futile fight against its transitory nature. The project contains over a hundred photographs, (self-written) texts, drawings (by Medy Oberendorff), objects and found footage. A book is due next year.

Karianne Bueno, August 2014