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Aerial Fields

Sylvia Grace Borda, Aerial Fields (2013), video installation. Courtesy of the artist, photographed by Brian Giebelhaus.

Sylvia Grace Borda
September 21, 2013 to January 19, 2014

Capturing video documentation from an aerial perspective of agricultural areas south of the Fraser River, this site-specific work for the Surrey UrbanScreen was created in the summer of 2013 during Field Studies, a TechLab artist residency at the Surrey Art Gallery.

Aerial Fields is one of five works created as part of Sylvia Grace Borda's epic agricultural project This One's for the Farmer.

Aerial Fields presents a series of sweeping panoramas and diptych video vignettes focussing on agricultural activities. Historic artists such as John-Francois Millet and Eugene Atget captured farmland by easel and camera respectively from a ground perspective. In Sylvia Grace Borda's contemporary project Aerial Fields, vast and dense carpets of food crops are revealed both from the ground and above.

Using the technology of low-altitude aerial videography, her digital sketches simultaneously observe and record within real time portraits of diverse parcels of agricultural land. These video vignettes, when projected in large-scale on Surrey Urban Screen, become monumental moving dioramas. Viewers were offered the opportunity to experience multiple perspectives of working fields.

About Sylvia Grace Borda

Canadian artist Sylvia Grace Borda is a Research Associate at Emily Carr University of Art + Design, Vancouver, and guest lectures at the University of Stirling, Scotland.

Visit Sylvia Grace Borda's website and learn about her Camera Histories exhibition at Street Level Photoworks in Glasgow.

Artist Demonstration with Sylvia Grace Borda

An artist demonstration free event was held on October 9, 2013 during the Surrey Urban Farmers Market. With hands-on stereoscope activities, Sylvia Grace Borda talked about the technology she used to develop new artworks for the Figuring Ground exhibition in the Gallery and the Aerial Fields exhibition on Surrey Urban Screen.

Artist Talk with Sylvia Grace Borda

An artist talk free event was held on October 10, 2013 at the Surrey Art Gallery. Sylvia Grace Borda spoke about the representation of farming in contemporary art. Her talk was preceded by introductory presentations on modern day farming in the Surrey and Fraser Valley growing basin by project partner representatives Ron Tamis (Vice President of the Surrey Urban Farmers Market Association and SPCA Certified Beef | Producer and Independent Surrey farm owner, Rondriso Farms) and Ravi Bathe (President of the BC Young Farmers Association and Poultry, blueberry and raspberry grower, R&R Farms Ltd.).

Music was provided by Maple Ridge speedy bluegrass band The Still Spirits, and refreshments were served.

Meet the Artist, View the Artwork

Another free event, Meet the Artist, was held on December 18, 2013. The public joined Sylvia Grace Borda and project partners at Surrey Urban Screen to view Aerial Fields.

Surrey Art Gallery gratefully acknowledges the financial support of the Province of BC, and Creative BC and BC Arts Council.

Credits and Acknowledgements:

Production Team
Reiner Derdau, UAV flight operations | John Lynch, Google Street View photography | Roz McNulty, video editing

UAV Consultancy
Denis Bison | Peter Cox, Ministry of Transport Canada | Allison Dymond | Colin Laverty

Farms and Related Organizations
Adam Bongarzone & Samantha Lawler, Sundog Vegetables, Surrey, BC | Mike Bose & family, Bose Farm, Surrey, BC | Sarah Dent, Co-ordinator, Young Agrarians | Pat and Sue Harrison, Collishaw Historic Farm | Christine Koch, Director of the BCYFA | Peter Leblanc, President, Surrey Urban Famer’s Market Association | Vernon Finley, Sue and Chris Klapwijk, Finley's Rhododendrons | Melissa Maltais, Market Manager, Surrey Urban Famer’s Market Association | Cristina and Josef Molnar, Langley, BC | Ginny and Harold Fearing, Fearing's Farm - Species Rhododendron and Azalea Nursery, Abbotsford, BC | Ravi Bathe, R&R Farms Ltd., President of the BC Chicken Growers Association, and President of the BC Young Farmers Association | Mohinder Hansra, Hansra Farms, Pitt Meadows | Michael and Linda Steele, Clover Valley Organic Farm | Pam Tamis, Rondriso Farms, Surrey, BC | Ron Tamis, Vice President, Surrey Urban Market and Owner, Rondriso Farms, Surrey, BC | Nigel Van der Brink, Cedarbrink Dairy Ltd. | Doug Zaklan and Gemma McNeill, Zaklan Heritage Farm

International Support
Malcolm Dickson, Director, Street Level Photoworks Gallery, Glasgow, Scotland | J.Keith Donnelly | Dan Gilroy | Chris Hawkes | Dorothy Hunter | Sally Johnston and Staff, Starter for 6, Cultural Enterprise Office | Mima Sorocean, Lois Atelier & Centre for the International Book and Media Arts

Feature image: Sylvia Grace Borda, Aerial Fields (2013), video installation. Courtesy of the artist, photographed by Brian Giebelhaus.