Ashleigh Vaillancourt

Habitat Island

The spot on the map that is Habitat Island began as an attempt to re-wild a portion of False Creek’s industrial wasteland. Features added to the initial island included trails leading to nowhere, undergrowth and decaying logs. The aesthetic was overgrown, a stark contrast to the manicured parks and condominiums lining False Creek. Over time the island has been cleared and sanitized by human presence and concern, making it even more artificial but doing so somewhat naturally. This collection explores the uncanniness of artificial nature, and the tension between the deliberate and the accidental in a crafted experience.

The language of glitch art is uniquely positioned to examine these ideas. The erratic pixels present fragments of reality and encourage the viewer to extract and reconstruct these elements according to their own perception and understanding. This visual style also draws attention to the relationship between our ideas and the tools we use to express them. The glitches make the artificial obvious and highlight our relationship with a technology that enables our efforts, but is not completely within our control. Like the island itself, it is the glitches that make this most evident. The cluster of straws, the unmistakable skyline, the handbuilt birdhouses and the rocks placed conveniently and neatly throughout the island all speak to this place and the influence of humans on it.

Our experience of the island and the collection is the same; the viewer is left to wonder what features of the island/image are intentional vs. accidental, where the natural ends and the artificial begins.



Ashleigh Vaillancourt is a multimedia artist and filmmaker based in Vancouver, Canada. She graduated from Emily Carr University in 2009 with a Bachelor of Media Arts in Animation. Inspired by the fragility of nature and by human circumstance, Ashleigh’s films and digital projections have been shown in galleries and festivals internationally.