Christina Battle

October 1, 2020 to November 21, 2020
Main Gallery


The prairie habitat is one of the most endangered in Canada and only a small fraction of the original tallgrass prairie remains post-colonization. Despite years of over-cultivation, the grasses continue to hold the land together with their vast root systems.

Looking to tallgrass prairie ecosystems, as well as the technologies that map and reflect the diminishing biome, connecting thru grasses considers how we might both map and define prairie boundaries anew. 

Ecologically, prairie landscapes are incredibly diverse; thousands of species coexist without distinct boundaries between communities. These plants with strong roots act as a metaphor for building community between Edmonton and Brandon, and in so doing, open up other possibilities for transcending borders, distance and relation.

[image caption: Christina Battle, Untitled, 2020. Digital art.]


"Last year, I was invited by curator Alyssa Fearon to take part in the AGSM’s year-long programming dedicated to building solidarity between Black and Indigenous artists living across the prairies as a way to develop and prioritize new networks. After some re-thinking and planning because of COVID, the result is a new installation and participatory project with the goal of connecting across the region — from here in Edmonton to the community and public gallery in Brandon.

Situated around thinking about prairie grasses as well as ‘The Prairies’ (actually, the Aspen Parkland) as a distinct region, the project considers how it is that this land is framed from both a visual cultural and historical sense. The grasses that shape this stereotypical image are in fact hardly present anymore — they face extinction at the hand of farming, development, and extraction (despite the fact that they are responsible for creating the soil that makes much of the development in the region a success in the first place).

Looking to prairie grass ecosystems, as well as the technologies that map and reflect the diminishing biome, connecting thru grasses considers how we might both map and define prairie boundaries anew. Considering how satellites passing overhead reflect an image of the earth (and thus of ourselves) back to us, and how these images shape or mis-shape our understanding of the land and our relationship to it, the work also looks closer at TERRA, a research satellite that has circled the earth since 1999 constructing images for use in the monitoring of environmental and climate data.

As TERRA passes overhead, it captures data and constructs an image approximately every 8 minutes per orbit - I wonder about what it fails to capture - what might be happening on the ground during the time it misses, and how these omissions result in a reading that isn't quite complete.

By participating in the project, you are invited to consider these issues along with me and to plant and map prairie grass seeds on at least 4 different occasions across October. As part of the project, you will receive an email from me 4 times across the month, with prompts to think about as you plant your seeds, along with information as to when TERRA is passing overhead (of Brandon, Edmonton, and Regina). More information can be found on the project’s website."

- invitation from Christina Battle, September 2020.

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Artist Biography:

Christina Battle

Christina Battle (Edmonton, Canada) has a B.Sc. with specialization in Environmental Biology from the University of Alberta, a certificate in Film Studies from Ryerson University, an MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute, and a PhD in Art & Visual Culture from the University of Western Ontario. Her research and artistic work consider the parameters of disaster; looking to it as action, as more than mere event and instead as a framework operating within larger systems of power. Through this research she imagines how disaster could be utilized as a tactic for social change and as a tool for reimagining how dominant systems might radically shift.