Paul Walde, Requiem for a Glacier — Reilley Bishop-Stall

[Fall 2021]

Requiem for a Glacier
Montreal Museum of Fine Arts
March 10, 2021–February 27, 2022

By Reilley Bishop-Stall

Paul Walde’s four ­movement oratorio Requiem for a Glacier was originally performed in July, 2013 on a glacier in British Columbia’s Jumbo Valley – or Qat’muk, as it is known by the Ktunaxa First Nation, the region’s original stewards. At the time of the performance, the ancient glacial area was under direct threat of both climate change and resort development, as the building of a (now­ cancelled) ski resort had obtained provincial approval despite resistance from environmentalists, local residents, and the Ktunaxa. Performed for the glaciers, with only the fifty musicians and thirty crew members present, the event was described in the press as a protest, an homage, and, of course, an expression of grief. For a space considered sacred by Ktunaxa, the grandiosity of the requiem gesture is both appropriate and questionable as it honours the spiritual import of the area, but in a language and tradition historically imposed on Indigenous lands.

Footage of the event was later incorporated into a video installation of the same title, in which the recorded oratorio is accompanied by field recordings and the visual documentation is supplemented with long shots of the landscape, vignettes of individual performers, and temporal and visual effects that mirror the dramatic urgency of the oratorio. The installation is on display at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts as part of the exhibition Ecologies: A Song for Our Planet, curated by Iris Amizlev…


See the magazine for the complete article and more images: Ciel variable 118 – EXHIBITING PHOTOGRAPHY