On Thursday, February 12th at 6:00 pm, Darin Barney will present "What goes up, must come down: the politics of prairie grain elevators". This lecture will take place at Shaughnessy House, Canadian Centre for Architecture, 1920 rue Baile, Montreal, QC.
In the mid-1930's there were approximately 5700 wooden grain elevators in western Canada. Today, fewer than 200 remain, most having been replaced by centralized "high-throughput terminals" capable of storing and loading massive volumes of grain destined for global markets. Even as it disappears, the country grain elevator remains an iconic structure, prominent in romantic visual representations of the prairie landscape. This talk will explore what is at stake in the demise of the country elevator, beyond its place in the visual imagination of the Canadian prairies. The case of the country elevator reveals a great deal about the relationship between politics and technology, between infrastructure, power and public life, and about the dynamics of citizenship in rural settings.