Latitude 53


Alana Bartol | Orphan Well Adoption Agency

December 7, 2018–January 26, 2019

Orphan Well Adoption Agency.jpg

Opening reception for members & guests: Friday, December 14 at 7 pm

Dowsing workshop with the artist: Saturday, December 15 at 1 PM

Publication Launch: Saturday, January 26, from 2–5 pm

Calgary artist Alana Bartol creates relationships between the personal sphere and the landscape, particular to our moment of environmental precarity. Orphan Well Adoption Agency re-imagines industrial remediation as a non-profit that finds caretakers for orphaned oil and gas wells in Alberta. Orphan Well Adoption Agency explores dowsing as technology for remediation and for discovering alternative relationships to natural resources, with a touch of humour. The OWAA off-site office opens for adoption each Saturday during the run of the exhibition.

Read the exhibition essay by Lindsey V. Sharman

Water-witching workshop with Alana Bartol

Saturday, December 15 at 1 pm

Alana Bartol will lead an exploration of the use and tools of dowsing, aka. water-witching. Drawing on her family's history and traditions of divining, Bartol explores dowsing as creative methods in her art practice.

Water-witching is a form of divination used to locate ground water, ores, oil, and information. While there is no scientific evidence that dowsing is accurate, a fascination with this practice persists.

During the workshop, participants will be introduced to the tools and techniques of dowsing. Dowsing tools will be provided, and participants are also welcome to bring their own. All are welcome, even the skeptics.


Alana Bartol comes from a long line of water witches. Through performance, photography, sculpture, drawing, and video, her site-responsive works explore walking and divination as ways of understanding across places, species, and bodies. Bartol’s work has been screened and presented across Canada and internationally at Walter Phillips Gallery (Banff); InterAccess (Toronto); PlugIn ICA (Winnipeg); Access Gallery (Vancouver); M:ST Performative Arts Festival (Calgary); HOLD FAST Festival (St. John’s); Berlin Feminist Film Week; SIMULTAN (Romania); Media City Film Festival (Windsor); and Group Intervention Vidéo (Montréal), amongst others. Recent and upcoming residencies include Santa Fe Art Institute (USA), Eastern Edge Gallery (St. John’s) and the Canadian Armed Forces Artist Program. She currently lives in Treaty 7 territory in Calgary, AB, where she teaches at Alberta College of Art + Design.

The artist would like to thank and acknowledge Alberta Foundation for the Arts and Canada Council for the Arts grants that supported the creation and presentation of this work.

Michelle Schultz2018