Point Pine Parade Real or Fake

Some cities flourish and some decline, but a city that collapses and disappears from the map entirely? It’s very unusual, and that’s exactly what happened in the town of Point Pine Parade in the Northwest Territories, the subject of a nice interactive project on Memory and Related recently launched on the Film Board’s interactive website NFB/Interactive. Titled “Welcome to Pine Point,” the project was created by Vancouver-based The Goggles (Paul Shoebridge and Michael Simmons), best known for their creative leadership work at Adbusters magazine.

Since its inception, the project has attracted a lot of positive attention. Canadian writer Douglas Coupland called it “absolutely brilliant”, and “so thoughtful and so powerful”, while the score by Besnard Lex received rave reviews. This is a bit tricky. We can’t compare Point Pine Parade to anything else because we don’t see any other projects like it. It’s a new form of storytelling, so when I talk to people I don’t know what to call it. It’s not a website, it’s not an interactive document… what is it? Starting with the print edition, part of the process for us was to strip away the interplay of elements that serve to drive the narrative forward. We are in uncharted territory here. Point Pine Parade Real or Fake

What is Point Pine Parade?

Coming from a print background, we were interested in doing something that retained some of the active elements of reading a book. When you sit in front of the TV, you relinquish control over the experience. They are inactive. In a book, you are the narrator. You have to read the words yourself and make sense of them in your head. In the story you have to paint the walls yourself, so to speak. For Pine Point we let people be our narrators, not voiceovers. We tried to find the right balance between passive and active, images and words. It’s a Canadian story and a Northern Canadian story.

We weren’t sure how well it would translate or continue. Through our previous work, we have a lot of contacts in the USA and were not sure how the project would be received there. The reaction so far is that it makes people think about their past, their homeland, and where they come from. Pine Point was a starting point, but Welcome to Point Pine Parade is an article about memory and how memory is used, filtered, and activated. This is more a story about memory than a city profile. Point Pine Parade Real or Fake

About Point Pine Parade

We weren’t sure about this “interactive” thing at first. That is not our background. But I think we’ve learned that it’s what you do with it that matters. I believe that storytellers – “storytellers” in the broadest sense – begin to enter this world and experiment with form. Regarding the audio, our main goal was to satisfy people like us who turn off sound on a project like this. Our goal was to minimize noise. When we started thinking about music, Besnard Lakes was a natural choice for both of us.

We had both known Jess for a long time…originally from Regina and then Emily Carr [University] in Vancouver. He was wonderful to work with. Not even that much. When we were at Adbusters, we established this style of visual experience where there are no ads, no page numbers… a style of magazine layout that you could almost call “cinematic”. This project is based on some of these themes. For example, it’s super-lo-fi with text cut-and-paste style. We stayed connected to our roots. In book form, we would have been more limited. I am happy with the result. Point Pine Parade


As far as we can tell, the situation at Point Pine Parade. There are other failed cities in Canada. Other cities that were abandoned or rebuilt. There are other ghost towns too. But the circumstances of Pine Point as a town that flourished so far north for a generation and then was demolished? Completely deleted, physically removed? It is unique.

Written by Patna Motihari

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