Stop a random person on the street. Ask them for the first thing that pops into their head when they think of Alberta’s oilsands.
Unless they’re an industry analyst or an over-enthused real estate agent turned corporate shill, chances are that they’ll describe either buffalo roaming on a restored tailings pond or helicopter shots of open-pit mining. Individuals are more likely to describe a visual element of the resource as opposed to, say, the barrels per day of oil or annual megatonnes of greenhouse gasses the region produces.
It’s this notion — that pictures, videos and other media representations often have extremely powerful influence on discourse about the oilsands — that compelled Patrick McCurdy to launch the MediaToil project.