Filip Van Dingenen is usually looking for places in the world where science and leisure intersect. A Brussels-based artist, he created a wide-ranging and ongoing project called Flota Nfumu, based on a rare albino gorilla named Snowflake who spent most of his life in the Barcelona Zoo. The work went deep into research, public memory, and souvenirs of Snowflake’s life, and how he affected Sabater Pi, the scientist who brought him to Barcelona, and the people of that city who visited Snowflake in the zoo over 40 years. For an earlier multimedia project, called Zoonation, Van Dingenen collected memories and stories from an abandoned Belgian zoo, tracing the relocated animals around the world.
In Banff he encountered a different type of human intervention in natural habitat. “I came here to write about Sabater Pi, but when I got here I discovered new things,” Van Dingenen says. It’s not unusual for Banff Centre artists in residence to collect the evidence of tourism and landscape – that aesthetic is everywhere here. And Van Dingenen found some good stuff to display in his Glyde Hall studio: maps and books on early exploration, documents from the Paul D. Fleck Library on the Fluxus movement, an artifact from the Whyte Museum of an old c.1919 Hudson’s Bay Company snowshoe. He spent much of his March residency exploring.