Walking Back Through Time, Jim Holyoak. Ink and graphite on paper. Plein-air drawing from Mount Stephen trilobite beds in the Burgess Shale, BC. 41 x 13cm. 2019
Together, Jim Holyoak and Darren Fleet have produced a collection of notations, conversations, plein-air sketches and prose-poetry. Their work, Trilobites Above the Fog, combines this collection with comics of Cambrian life forms conversing about extraction, extinction and climate change.
All of these artworks are based on mountain treks that Darren and Jim took together in the summer of 2019, into Kokanee Glacier Provincial Park, and the Walcott Quarry and Mount Stephen Trilobite Beds at the Burgess Shale, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Through a theorization of contemporary extraction practices as actions of extinction, Jim and Darren travel back through deep and spiraling time to connect the Cambrian explosion (the greatest expansion of life on earth, taking place 541 million years ago) to the Anthropogenic implosion (the great contemporary extinguishing of the biosphere).
Their work explores the parallel meanings between historical mass extinctions and contemporary logics of domination. What can the Cambrian Period teach us about the future? How do we challenge the catastrophic systems of provision that also give our lives meaning? An important component of this journey from the Cambrian to the Anthropocene is a realization of – and engagement with – the affective qualities of overburden as a force of physical, temporal and psychological distress. As such, Trilobites Above the Fog tasks the audience with considering the emotional weight of petromodernity’s most salient contradictions.
I Want a Brood. Pages 1-2. Written by Darren Fleet and Jim Holyoak. Drawn by Jim Holyoak. Ink and lamp black on paper. 59cm x 42cm. 2021.
I Want a Brood. Pages 3-4. Written by Darren Fleet and Jim Holyoak. Drawn by Jim Holyoak. Ink and lamp black on paper. 59cm x 42cm. 2021.
Wild is My Truth. Written by Darren Fleet and Jim Holyoak. Drawn by Jim Holyoak. Ink and lamp black on paper. 30.5cm x 40.5cm. 2021.
fossilization. Written by Darren Fleet and Jim Holyoak. Drawn by Jim Holyoak. Ink and lamp black on paper. 30.5cm x 40.5cm. 2021.
a mountaintop that is a death pit. Written by Darren Fleet and Jim Holyoak. Drawn by Jim Holyoak. Ink and lamp black on paper. 46cm x 13cm. 2021.
disregard. Written by Darren Fleet and Jim Holyoak. Drawn by Jim Holyoak. Ink and lamp black on paper. 46cm x 13cm. 2021.
Portraits of the artists at work in Kokanee Glacier Provincial Park. Photos: Darren Fleet and Jim Holyoak. 2019.
Dr. Darren Fleet and Jim Holyoak both grew up in Aldergrove, BC. Since high school, they have been companions in wandering and creative writing. For over 20 years, they have maintained a practice of writing together, that they call ‘856ing’ (the name based upon the regional telephone code of their former suburban lives). For 8 minutes and 56 seconds, or for one hour, beginning at 8:56pm, they sit together in silence, generating free-associative writing, which they share afterwards.
Darren Fleet’s creative, journalistic and scholarly work has been featured in numerous publications and forums including Vice, Public, Frontiers in Communication, Journalists for Human Rights, UTNE Reader, and at the Istanbul Biennial of Art. He is interested in the ways that fossil fuels mediate and define our relationships with the non-human world, and with one another.
Jim Holyoak’s discipline consists of book arts, ink-painting and room-sized drawing installations. He received a BFA from the University of Victoria, an MFA from Concordia University, and studied ink painting in Yangshuo, China. Though the content of his work ranges from the biological to the phantasmagorical, there is a persistent interest in human empathy for other species, and in the challenge of fathoming deep time. Jim has exhibited his work, contributed to publications, and attended artist residencies internationally.
Jim & Darren lead the comic workshop Storytelling Across Deep Time, Sun Jun 20, 2:45pm, as a part of Overburden programming.