Patrick Thompson has embarked on his seven-day journey paddling down the Gatineau River in Western Quebec. Patrick grew up along this river, swam in it every summer, walked on it in the winter. Patrick’s “waterwalking” canoe exploration begins in the Kitigan Zibi community of Maniwaki—the headwaters of the Gatineau River— south to where it joins the Ottawa and Rideau rivers. Along the way, sleeping in his tent, and sharing his sketches, photographs and videos, Patrick welcomes “pop up” guests to travel a short portion of the river with him to chat and paddle together, and to reflect on how the river both joins and disconnects English, French and Indigenous people in this region.
This artist research project takes an experimental approach integrating the experience of flow through an environment that is both wild and constructed; the accrual of oral history reflecting diverse subjectivities, past and present; and how the proximity to the river, and immersion in it, shapes daily experience.