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Arctic Power


Collective founded in Quebec City in 1996


Arctic Power




Damaged snowmobile, velvet flakes, salt, spray glue


335 x 122 x 91 cm, chain: 91 cm


Purchase, Louise Lalonde-Lamarre Memorial Fund, inv. 2010.11


Quebec and Canadian Art

The artist collective BGL makes recurrent use of found or repurposed objects. Here, a snowmobile, also known by its brand name Ski-Doo (manufactured by Bombardier), hangs like a lifeless, frozen carcass embodying a vestige of past traditions. Having both recreational and functional purposes, snowmobiles ease travel on snow-covered ground, providing access to remote areas that would be inaccessible without skis, snowshoes or dogsleds. Their introduction into Inuit territory in 1959 transformed modes of transportation in the North, reducing the traditional use of dogsledding and changing Inuit hunting, herding and trapping patterns. Reflecting the artists’ social and political concerns about consumerist economies, the work’s title, Arctic Power – a reference to a brand of laundry detergent – alludes to the “cleansing” of the North of dog teams (qimutsiit in Inuktitut) and to the powerful Ski-Doo travelling through the Arctic. Snowmobiles cause extensive ecological damage by emitting pollutants that impact air and water quality, harming aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems. Furthermore, they compact snow, which affects the soil and vegetation, and the noise they generate disturbs wildlife.

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