The video installation Ioco / Belcarra Cottages / Port Moody was completed in February 2018. This installation is designed to be displayed on three separate screens accompanied by a 21-minute art sound composition.
This installation has been exhibited in a solo show in 2019
– Art Gallery of St. Albert, St. Albert, AB
Opening with artist in attendance July 4th 2019 followed by artist talk July 6th 2019
– UBC Vancouver Campus, screening and panel discussion in March 2019
Over the last two decades, the urban sprawl of construction originating in Vancouver, has spread all the way to the distant suburbs and beyond. The Ioco / Belcarra Cottages / Port Moody installation makes tangible the disappearing ways of living of the region by presenting the soon-to-be demolished and forgotten buildings of a bygone time.
The subject matter is inspired by the way Metro Vancouver is experiencing a housing crisis due to unaffordability and extremely low rental opportunities, despite the fact that numerous new buildings have been built in the last ten years or are soon to be built. Whole neighbourhoods are displaced and replaced.
This triptych ties together these three areas of Port Moody to demonstrate both the transitory nature of memory and how we casually discard historical areas without contemplation of the consequences.
Each represents a way of living that has been disappearing consistently over several decades in BC. The Ioco townsite is the second-last company town in the Lower Mainland. The summer cottages of Belcarra South, once common around Burrard Inlet and Indian Arm, are the last ones in this area. Downtown Port Moody, which still has many characteristics of a small town, will be radically changed by the expansion of the regional transit system. The loss of these last remnants of a previous time will erase Port Moody’s unique identity as it is absorbed into the uniformity of a generic Metro Vancouver.
When a landmark is gone, we quickly forget what was there before. Our previous notion of the space we occupy is lost. The many changes in these areas cannot be shown by just a few static photographic prints on a wall. The three concurrent video displays will show many disappearing places in an attempt to question the place heritage buildings have in Metro Vancouver as well as the urgent need for affordable housing and saving the local agricultural lands.
For two years, I photographed the Imperial Oil company townsite of Ioco, built in 1921 and closed in 1995. Over the past 20 years most of the buildings have been moved or demolished. Seventeen buildings remain including a school, a church, a community centre and a grocery store. Although there is a rudimentary attempt at maintenance, many of the unoccupied buildings are in a state of disrepair. Part of the townsite as well as land nearby were sold in January 2015.
Belcarra South cottages
In 2014 and 2015, I met with the residents of the Belcarra South cottages who are on the edge of being evicted and took photos of the cottages’ windows from inside and outside. Despite the name, six out of the seven cottages and the Bole House are part of the City of Port Moody. In the early 20th century, urban residents would spend their summers by the ocean or lake shores in cottages like these. I have recordings of the residents’ concerns about losing the homes they have lived in most of their lives.
Port Moody downtown
The Evergreen Skytrain line has been recently built through Port Moody and will contribute to the growth of the city density via planned construction of new buildings. Port Moody downtown consists of single-family houses and low commercial buildings from the early part of the last century which will certainly not survive the city’s planned revitalization.
All photographs, videos and soundtracks in this website are the intellectual
property of Florence Debeugny.
Please contact Florence Debeugny by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
© Florence Debeugny 2013-2021