The Midnight Sun Camera Obscura Project

The Midnight Sun Camera Obscura Project

May 1, 2018 | Published by MMA


Kevin Schmidt and Holly Ward Eye of the Beholder camera obscura, 2015 View of installation near Dawson City, Yukon | McMaster Museum of Art Exhibition
Kevin Schmidt and Holly Ward, Eye of the Beholder camera obscura, 2015, View of installation near Dawson City, Yukon

The Midnight Sun Camera Obscura Project

Organized by the University of Lethbridge Art Gallery
Principal Investigator and Artist/Researcher: Donald Lawrence
Curator: Josephine Mills
McMaster Museum of Art, Sherman Gallery | May 10 – August 18, 2018

Dianne Bos, Lea Bucknell, Ernie Kroeger, Kevin Schmidt, Holly Ward, Carsten Wirth, Andrew Wright.

During summer solstice 2015 in Dawson City, Yukon, the Midnight Sun Camera Obscura Festival brought together an international group of artists and other researchers interested in cameras obscura and related optical phenomenon as a meeting place of art and science, cultural and wilderness settings, learning and play. The project was conceived by Kamloops-based artist and visual arts professor Donald Lawrence and, with funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, the group carried out extensive research during 2014 and 2015. With this exceptional support, the artists were able to produce strong and diverse work that engaged visitors in the interplay of art and science as well as thinking about ideas of the North. Using the long days to provide max-imum effect, the festival included a range of public-site installations around Dawson City, exhibitions in the local galleries, workshops and a community exhibition with the Yukon Arts Centre, performances, tours, and public talks.

Midnight Sun Camera Obscura Project at McMaster Museum of Art
Donald Lawrence, George Black Camera Obscura Projection, 2015

Camera obscura simply means ‘dark room’ in Latin, a term coined to describe devices used to aid perception, but can include any darkened space into which light enters through a small opening (sometimes aided by a lens and a mirror). As is clear in the range of work in this exhibition, this deceptively simple technology continues to fascinate contemporary artists and scholars.

Curated from the results of the festival, this exhibition includes one of the actual cameras obscura; images projected by several of the devices; documentation of the event; and new work produced by the artists in response to the initial research.

As a further complement to the exhibition, Hamilton-born, Calgary-based artist Dianne Bos has installed Star Shed, a multi-aperture camera obscura chamber, on the lawn in front of the Museum.

Interior view of Star Shed installation, with artist Dianne Bos
Interior view of Star Shed installation, with artist Dianne Bos

McMaster Museum of Art
Alvin A. Lee Building
McMaster University
1280 Main St W
Hamilton, ON L8S 4L6
905.525.9140 x.23241

Admission is Free
Museum Hours: Tue/Wed/Fri 11am-5pm, Thu 11-7, Sat 12-5