The Architecture of
Water-Energy Landscapes


PhD Dissertation
University of British Columbia

2017 - ongoing

This project is supported by the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) and the Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship.
This project examines visualizations of hydropower and hydraulic fracturing in northeastern British Columbia. Once considered peripheral, BC’s northeast has become a focal point for debates concerning decarbonization, economic development, and the role of infrastructure to mediate conflicting cultural and ecological values.

Through my research, I investigate how visualizations are used to legitimize and justify infrastructural interventions in a landscape. In the case of northeastern BC, these infrastructures are framed as a way to mitigate economic and environmental risks, but instead often serve to facilitate capital accumulation, colonial dispossession of Indigneous land, and the enclosure and commodification of life. I explore these themes through discourses of vulnerability and risk; the material and discursive production of wastelands and sacrifice zones; and the voyeuristic tendencies of digital landscape representation.



1. Diagrammatic section perspective of hydraulic fracutring well site. Image credit: David Suzuki Foundation.
2. Fieldwork February 2020. Peace River viewpoint south of Fort St. John.
3. Fieldwork February 2020. Site C Dam reservoir timber clearance and “burn pile” near Bear Flat.
4. Fieldwork February 2020. W.A.C. Bennet Hydroelectric Dam spillway.

Mark