Kyler Zeleny | Crown Ditch & the Prairie Castle | Book
Essays: Kyler Zeleny, PhD
Aritha Van Herk, D.Can.L.
96 Pages / 22.5 x 26 cm Hardback, Clothbound,
Printed in Tallinn, Estonia
Published by The Velvet Cell
Edition Size 500
Crown Ditch and the Prairie Castle documents the spaces and people of the last great ‘proving out’. The project presents the space as an understudied region, a beast upon itself, a unique meeting of landscape, industry, and most importantly, people, who are a resilient breed created by generational lessons in fortitude and fortuned circumstance.
At the turn of the 20th Century, North America’s last great land rush took place in the Canadian West. It was on the prairies that the soil made the farmer, the herd the rancher. A lingering question for the sons and daughters of the ‘last great west’ is what, or who, are we? Overshadowed and often visually conflated with its neighbour to the south, we forget to turn our gaze to the Canadian prairies. The area was settled by a unique brand of hardened frontiersmen—cowboys, ranch hands, miners, farmers, and outlaws—the dirty and determined, the persistent sludge at the bottom of every gas tank. These good ol’ boys were chasing the exalted allure of a grand landscape defined by its apparent nothingness, a landscape mystical by its inadequate representation, its mystery, and a whisper of it being the last ‘Promised Land’. The book also includes texts by Kyler Zeleny and famed prairie author Aritha Van Herk.