Cold Case: Freezing Deaths & Abandonment Across Canada is part of the trilogy COLD CASES which explore the politics of ‘cold’ through a series of cases and contexts in which the differential experiences and effects of temperature are entangled with legal questions, human rights violations, but also claims for social and environmental justice.
This COLD CASE examines the practice in Canadian policing known as “starlight tours” which involved dropping Indigenous people taken into custody in remote areas, resulting in exposure, hypothermia, and freezing death. Admission to abandonment as a shadow operation of policing has been vigorously denied and disciplinary action and accountability remains infrequent and is at best significantly delayed. Yet the pattern and practice of “starlight tours” has unfolded across cities and rural communities in Canada for decades. When authorities were forced to confront the outcomes of inquiries and commissions, denial and indifference on the part of those implicated was the norm. COLD CASES discussed include Neil Stonechild, Frank Joseph Paul, Lloyd Joseph Dustyhorn, Darrell Night, Rodney Naistus, Lawrence Kim Wegner, Robert & Joel Houle, and recent reports from Val-d’Or, Quebec.
Susan Schuppli is a researcher and artist based in the UK whose work examines material evidence from war and conflict to environmental disasters and climate change. Current work is focused on learning from ice and the politics of cold. Creative projects have been exhibited throughout Europe, Asia, Canada, and the US. She has published widely within the context of media and politics and is author of the book, Material Witness published by MIT Press in 2020. Schuppli is Director of the Center for Research Architecture, Goldsmiths University of London where she is also an affiliate artist-researcher and Board Chair of Forensic Architecture.
Cold Case: Freezing Deaths & Abandonment Across Canada (2021), HD Video, 31 mins, Courtesy of Susan Schuppli with Forensic Architecture / Omar Ferwati, Nicholas Masterton.
Part of a film program featuring films about crime, genocide and accountability.
Next film: Ayhan and me (2016), Belit Sağ
KIRIK’s 2022 programs are supported by SAHA as part of the Sustainability Fund 2021-2022.