Initial development support came from the National Film Board to create a short work. Then Nettie began experimenting with installation ideas – searching for a place to project images into a public space. After a few days spent cycling around Vancouver, Nettie and editor Michael Brockington realized just how much of the city’s downtown architecture is covered in glass – not a surface for projections.
Serendipity and salmon
Heading home disappointed, they opted for the bike path that goes by the Cambie Bridge. That’s when Nettie and Michael stopped in their tracks. The underside of the bridge was the perfect projection site. Was it possible? Early inquiries to the City of Vancouver Engineering department met with interest and support, leading to an initial test on the bridge in 2013.
Nettie’s long-time producing partner Betsy Carson, came on board to manage what would become a highly complex production process. The Pacific Salmon Foundation (PSF) came in as an early community partner, even though sending cinematic salmon across a bridge was well outside their usual brief.
Producer Rae Hull joined Nettie and Betsy in early 2014, bringing Olympic-level experience in large public art and media projects. Dubbed the “salmon sisters,” the three began raising funds for Nettie and crew to film the next big Adams River Sockeye salmon migration.
Early champions Vancity, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Tides Canada, the PSF and a few individual donors were struck by the unique nature of the project. With their support, Nettie and crew were on the river in October 2014, looking for fresh ways to capture the art inherent in the salmon and the river – which included designing new camera rigs for the project.
Untangling technical challenges
Securing beautiful imagery was just the beginning. Projecting high-resolution images filmed in the wild, on multiple surfaces of a kilometre-long bridge several meters in the air? Not a feat with a ready-made blueprint. Chief technologist Anthony Diehl was also now on the project, providing expertise in digital mapping and large projection events. The team developed new ways to create and pre-visualize film sequences on a 3D laser scan of the Cambie Bridge
At the same time, the salmon sisters had to plan for a live event under the bridge. That meant earning the support of the Vancouver Park Board, and a plan that would fit into Coopers’ Park and the surrounding residential neighbourhood. The small team grew to many – editing, sound production, digital mapping, online, and live event specialists – working with manufacturers, engineers and City and Park staff.
A collaborative creative effort
Developing a public work of art about salmon has also meant tapping into the vast network of people and organizations that protect salmon. It’s an understatement to say the team has gained a deep appreciation for this important work. We’re going to shine a spotlight on as many activities as we can, and encourage people who experience UNINTERRUPTED to connect with salmon organizations in their communities and beyond.
We’re glad you’re here, and we hope you’re inspired by the story of wild salmon.