Active Pass to IR9 (2008)

Kate Hennessy and Richard Wilson, Co-directors, co-producers

Active Pass to IR9 is a video-based ethnographic collaboration between Kate Hennessy and Richard Wilson, who grew up together on Galiano Island, in British Columbia. It is the subject of a chapter  written by Kate Hennessy in Arnd Schneider and Chris Wright’s 2013 volume ‘Anthropology and Art Practice’.

The silent video projection depicts the full length of the Porlier Pass Road on Galiano Island, from the ferry terminal at the south end to the Penelekut Indian Reserve #9 at the north end. Two fields of scrolling text on either side of the represent memories and associations that Kate and Richard each have with this physical space and their individual understandings of place as they move through it together for the first time. The texts are generated from transcripts of their conversation while driving. Richard reflects on his ongoing search for knowledge of his own culture, language, and family, as well as the question of Aboriginal rights and the role of the fishing in the recognition of rights. Kate reflects on her position as a recent settler, and questions her knowledge of her own family history and the Aboriginal history and present of the island.

Active Pass to IR9 premiered at the 2008 New Forms Festival in Vancouver B.C., where it was juxtaposed with an exhibit of innovative online Aboriginal media projects. Where Active Pass to IR9 raises questions about the way knowledge and understanding can be obscured within and between members of communities, these on-line projects also suggested that knowledge and understanding might be generated in virtual spaces in ways they cannot be on the ground. At the same time, such representations of Indigeneity on-line demand discussion about the capacity of the Internet and digital technologies to share knowledge more widely than ever before, potentially an extension of the colonial project, rather than a technologically mediated solution to real social problems in and between local Aboriginal and Settler communities. Active Pass to IR9, which was generated with digital technology and publicly posted online, is implicated in this complex web of real and virtual communities and places.

Related Publications:

(2013) Kate Hennessy. An Imaginary Line: Active Pass to IR9In Anthropology and Art Practice. Arnd Schneider and Christopher Wright, eds. Oxford: Berg Publishers.


New Forms Festival, 2008. VIVO Media Arts Centre, Vancouver BC.

Vancouver Ethnographic Film Festival, 2009. University of British Columbia, Vancouver B.C.

Ethnographic Terminalia 2010: New Orleans. DuMois Gallery, New Orleans.