Artist Edwin Janzen and a view of the underground bunkers.

Artist Edwin Janzen and a view of the underground bunkers.

Conspiracy Case a puzzling scenario

If you enjoy puzzles and are looking for an interesting way to while away an hour or two drop by the upper Station House Gallery.

If you enjoy puzzles and are looking for an interesting way to while away an hour or two drop by the upper Station House Gallery.

You will walk into an old-time detective agency with a few modern- day conveniences such as surveillance videos.

The setting is as authentic as Montreal artist Edwin Janzen could make it, right down to the  agency certificate hanging on the wall, detective’s desk, chairs, old filing cabinets, old TV monitors with surveillance videos running, and bulletin boards.

There is also an in-out box and typewriter in the corner where visitors can sit down and file their own situational reports.

But first, carefully analyze the information post on the crime wall.

Janzen titles his installation Conspiracy Case: A fantasy of total surveillance —  and it certainly is.

The subjects of Janzen’s investigation are Columbian Ground Squirrels.

Janzen explained at his opening last week that he became interested in ground squirrels while helping to set up an international conference on open source computer hardware at the Banff Centre for the Arts in 2009.

He says the exhibit is a political satire on law enforcement in a post 911 environment.

According to his artist’s statement the Spermophilus Columbianus (the Columbian Ground Squirrel) is predisposed to conspiracy, their communal living being the source of this theory.

He spent most of July researching and setting up his show.

Janzen says he couldn’t find any Columbian Ground Squirrels near the Station House Gallery and had to look further afield, finally finding a colony to study behind the Overlander/Ramada Inn.

After recording the squirrels’ activities and creating his detective’s office at the gallery, Janzen used his obviously ample imagination to create a scenario in which the squirrels are part of a nefarious underworld crime ring or terrorist organization, complete with suspicious characters, bunkers, and weapons cache.

He patterned the exhibit after television shows such as Homicide: Life on the Street, The Wire or Hill Street Blues that were just coming into the digital age when created.

Janzen came to do a show in Williams Lake because of his real life connections in the art world. He studied art at Concordia University where he became friends with fellow students Leah Selk, co-ordinator of the Central Cariboo Arts and Culture Society, and Beth Holden, exhibition co-ordinator for the Station House Gallery.

Janzen holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Concordia University and a Master of Fine Arts from Ottawa University. He is an interdisciplinary artist who works in screen printing, video arts, photography and also does some freelance commercial writing to help pay the bills.

Janzen is looking forward to expanding his squirrely concept in new shows in other communities across Canada where the Columbian Ground Squirrels roam.

He says there is always the potential to map out connections between groups of squirrels in other communities, expand squirrel surveillance underground with the help of conservation officers and possibly introduce an interactive on-line component, all of which would link back to the start of his research in Williams Lake.

The show runs in the upper gallery until Sept. 1. Janzen notes that no squirrels were harmed in the making of this show.








Just Posted

2021 graduate Annaliese Hunt-Owega with Burton Astleford in advance of the Reverse Grad Parade held Saturday, June 12 in Williams Lake. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Jenna Harvey. (Photo submitted)
RCMP looking for missing woman between 100 Mile House and Williams Lake

Jenna Harvey was last heard from a week ago and claimed to be hitchhiking north

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Williams Lake’s Robert Webster, who helps operate the organization’s Parking Lot Clothing Drive, and Angela Kadar, executive director, collect clothing at BBBSWL’s new, permanent cargo trailer location at the Williams Lake Stampede Grounds infield. BBBSWL will be at the infield parking lot from noon to 1 p.m. every Tuesday until the fall collecting soft goods including men’s, women’s and children’s clothing, outerwear, boots, shoes, hats, mittens, scarves, ties, socks, purses, wallets, bags, bedding, towels and jewellery. Kadar thanked the Williams Lake Stampede Association for being so accommodating and for allowing them to use the space to park the trailer. (Greg Sabatino photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Williams Lake Parking Lot Clothing Drive gets new, permanent location

BBBSWL will be at the Stampede infield parking lot from noon to 1 p.m. every Tuesday

Williams Lake Stampeders forward Dylan Richardson thwarts a Quesnel Kangaroos defender as he skates in for a shot on goal during the 2019/20 Central Interior Hockey League season. (Patrick Davies photo - Black Press Media)
Stampeders plan post pandemic return to ice in Williams Lake

The eight-team Central Interior Hockey League includes franchises in Quesnel and Williams Lake

Interior Health’s mobile COVID-19 vaccine clinic will be at the 150 Mile House Fire Department on Wednesday, June 23 for people to receive their first dose of the vaccine. (Monica Lamb-Yorski
Interior Health mobile COVID-19 vaccine clinic slated for 150 Mile House June 23

The clinic is for people who have not received a first dose

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed teen facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

The George Road wildfire near Lytton, B.C., has grown to 250 hectares. (BC Wildfire Service)
B.C. drone sighting halts helicopters fighting 250 hectares of wildfire

‘If a drone collides with firefighting aircraft the consequences could be deadly,’ says BC Wildfire Service

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
NACI advice to mix vaccines gets varied reaction from AstraZeneca double-dosers

NACI recommends an mRNA vaccine for all Canadians receiving a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

A aerial view shows the debris going into Quesnel Lake caused by a tailings pond breach near the town of Likely, B.C., Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Updated tailings code after Mount Polley an improvement: B.C. mines auditor

British Columbia’s chief auditor of mines has found changes to the province’s requirements for tailings storage facilities

A North Vancouver man was arrested Friday and three police officers were injured after a 10-person broke out at English Bay on June 19, 2021. (Youtube/Screen grab)
Man arrested, 3 police injured during 10-person brawl at Vancouver beach

The arrest was captured on video by bystanders, many of whom heckled the officers as they struggled with the handcuffed man

Most Read