“écH2osystème”: an unprecedented maritime acrobatic apparatus at Rivière-au-Renard

“écH2osystème”: an unprecedented maritime acrobatic apparatus at Rivière-au-Renard

As part of écH2osystème, a maritime acrobatic research/creation project initiated by Geneviève Dupéré, a working residency took place close to the vessel wintering site at Rivière-au-Renard from September 7 to 12, 2022. Bringing together circus arts and live moving images focusing on the dynamic of the St. Lawrence, this phase of the project was presented in collaboration with Rencontres de la photographie en Gaspésie.

The project team was able to work with the écH2osystème O, an unprecedented maritime acrobatic apparatus that was designed by Geneviève Dupéré in her capacity as a researcher at the National Circus School and built at the Ocean Group shipyard in 2022. Like a boat, this groundbreaking apparatus is capable of accommodating two acrobats on board. The O is designed to be attached to a crane on the banks of the St. Lawrence, at wharves or ports, in such a way that water becomes the heart of the project. “The O is attached to the crane at a single point so that it pitches like a boat,” the designer explains. “When it goes up in height, I relate the St. Lawrence in depth, Vulnerable to wind and bad weather, the O dynamic represents the dynamic on the bridge of a ship. Its circularity evokes both the tidal cycle and a navigation wheel.”

During the working residency, the designer was able to explore how to integrate fishing gear and to fashion maneuvers through the collaboration between members of the locally based Association des capitaines-propriétaires de la Gaspésie and the écH2osystème crew. The main idea of this research/creation stage was to transpose the O into a fishing boat and the artists into acrobatic fishers. “In doing that I’m seeking to co-create scenes that will feature the fish at Rivière-au-Renard, in particular shrimp and groundfish. Those co-created scenes may be linked together in an eventual show scheduled for 2024.”

Geneviève Dupéré initiated écH2osystème in 2017. In 2019, the trajectory of the project took her to Rivière-au-Renard for 12 weeks, where she made a number of encounters. Based on that phase, she moved forward with the design of the acrobatic apparatus, whose aim is to showcase scientists, fishers and members of the maritime and port industries of the St. Lawrence. To this point, more than 300 have collaborated on bringing the story to life.

This stage of the research/creation project is financially supported by the Canada Council for the Arts under the name écH2osystème: de la pêche au récit. Information: ech2osysteme.blogspot.com and m.facebook.com/ecH2osysteme.

Credit (top image) : Roger St-Laurent