UBC Graduate Research

Mourning and memory in the age of topocide Hutton, D'Arcy


This project interrogates the cultural-symbolic functions and consequences of large hydroelectric dams in British Columbia, notably the WAC Bennett and Site C dams on the Peace river. The literature review explores the link between settler colonialism, landscape, and extraction, and this is linked to identity and futurity in settler culture. In this way, the cultural significance of this infrastructure is established. In order to formulate a design approach to the dam, Indigenous ontologies of kinship and more-than-human agency are explored, with an eye to de-weaponizing the beings appropriated by the dam and restoring right relationship. Notions of the Anthropocene, toxicity, futurism, and adaptation are explored. Precedent study reveals strategies of memorial and narrative, thoughtful approaches to insider-outsider memory work, and ecological and structural responses to large dams. The design proposal focuses on narrative, memory, and resistance in order to imagine a future for the Peace River valley.

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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International