247 Denison: The Principle of Original Horizontality
2016. Installation at Fifty Fifty Gallery. Single-channel video projection. Earthquake machine: laser level, motors, contact microphones, subwoofer. Wall: lumber, Christmas cracker crepe paper.
On Sunday June 23rd 1946, a 7.3 magnitude earthquake struck Vancouver Island. With an epicenter south-southwest of Campbell River, it is the largest onshore earthquake known to have occurred in the region. Victoria’s seismograph, formerly under the supervision of the city’s first seismologist, Francis Napier Denison, was shaken so intensely that the instrument was damaged and the record of the quake was lost from the moment of the first onset. Denison was eighty years old when he died the following day.
One hundred and fifty meters from Denison’s Gonzales Hill Meteorological Observatory, along Denison rd., Fred Richardson Sr., the owner and operator of the Canadian Christmas Cracker Company, along with his son, Fred Richardson Jr., were beginning construction on their Streamline Moderne home.
Seventy years later and the house on Denison rd. is being renovated by its fourth owner. Among the improvements, the building is being seismically upgraded.