65-Point Plan for Sustainable Living

Jeremy Drummond

May 5 to April 11, 2011

65-Point Plan for Sustainable Living is a collection of sixty-five aerial images depicting every Canadian Province and US State. Each image portrays a single subdivision that has been digitally reconstructed into an enclosed geographical space with no roads leading in or out. As an installation, these images are displayed to loosely reflect their original geographic and spatial relationship – functioning as a re-mapping of Canada and the USA. As a multiple, these images are all available as an edition of standard postcards.
In the summer of 2006, Drummond embarked on a road trip throughout much of North America to capture source material for future projects. Upon returning home, he decided to leave this material for satellite and digital imaging technologies. Foregrounding virtual exploration as a form of contemporary experience, the artist became interested in this collapse of space and time as an extension of physical, yet peripheral experiences associated with older forms of mechanized travel – particularly, the automobile. Drawing connections between medieval urban design and contemporary gated communities, Drummond also became interested in issues regarding environmental stability and false notions of security within the context of globalization. In both content and process, 65-Point Plan functions as both an extension of Drummond’s previous work and a point of departure to investigate landscape development, architectural environments and relationships between technology and human perception.

The Unsustainable Image

Sometimes an image is a discrete artifact, existing in space – like the photographs that make up Jeremy Drummond’s series 65-Point Plan for Sustainable Living. Other times, an image or sequence of images can exist in both time and space, displacing both the time it takes to watch and the space it takes to display it.

Most of the time, however, images are not so discrete; they are rather more like a stream that fills our consciousness, streaming into and throughout our world. The world we see before us is a consequence of this, which isn’t to suggest it isn’t real. We are image-emitting organisms: like the bee metabolizing nectar to make its hive, we metabolize the world by interpreting it as image and leaving it behind, as a world-image.

Photography is a way of metabolizing the world as an image. Characteristically, it takes the world as real – as light reflected off objects in space – and focuses it for capture on film or digital sensor.  There are other ways that we metabolize the world: we fell trees and extract metals and other elements out of the earth, and design them into our homes and communities, and into our automobiles and streets. These are images too, both more complex and much less discrete: they are mega-images, yet we hardly notice them. They’ve become the deep infrastructure we depend on in order to live our lives.

Jeremy Drummond takes this world become image – the closed ecology of the cul-de-sac suburban community – and further metabolizes it as a series of photographs. They are photographs of the real, at least insofar as the sun shined on a community, and was reflected back and focused onto digital sensor. But they have been transformed through Drummond’s work. Instead of the real suburbia we think we see in them, we are presented with its deep infrastructure, the closed ecology that was their original animating force.

His cul-de-sacs become universal figures in a world made unsustainable through the image we bring to it. Although he focuses on North America, I can imagine these cul-de-sacs scattered around the globe, as drains that won’t unclog, forming the whirlpools of detritus that threaten our ecosystem. This image – both persistent and unsustainable – rules not simply our suburbs but our lives and the world we make of it. In the discrete photographs that make up this series, Drummond summons this image, together with the real that impinges upon it. That’s a good first step for a 65-Point Plan.

– John Calvelli


Jeremy Drummond is a Canadian artist currently living in Richmond, VA. In 1999 he received a BFA in Studio Arts from the University of Western Ontario and in 2003, a MFA in Art Media Studies from Syracuse University. His work has been exhibited widely in festivals, galleries and museums throughout North America, South America, Europe and Asia.

In 2005, his video Home Is Where You’re Happy won the National Film Board of Canada award for Best Emerging Canadian Film or Video Maker at the Images Festival of Independent Film, Video and New Media (Toronto). In 2010, his photo project 65-Point Plan for Sustainable Living was featured in Prefix Photo (Toronto, ON) and Cabinet: A Quarterly of Art and Culture (Brooklyn, NY).

Drummond’s videotapes are distributed internationally through Monte Video (Amsterdam), Videographe (Montreal), Video Out (Vancouver), Video Pool Inc. (Winnipeg), and Vtape (Toronto). He is represented by ADA Gallery (Richmond, VA) and currently teaches in the Department of Art and Art History at the University of Richmond, Virginia.

John Calvelli is a writer and photographer. He teaches at the Alberta College of Art + Design.