Bear 71 – Interactive Documentary [Flash, Review]

Bear 71 – Map Interface

It is not entirely unusual for a Canadian wildlife documentary to open with grainy footage of an animal being carefully approached by park officials, but any similarities between Bear 71 and nostalgic Canadian depictions of wildlife end about 15 seconds into the timeline. This interactive documentary opens with a young bear being sedated, hogtied, tagged with a GPS receiver and set free into the wilds of Banff National Park as narrator Mia Kirshner dryly explains that the tranquilizer used to facilitate the takedown was Telazol, developed "by the same people that make Zoloft and Viagra." From this moment onwards our protagonist is 'Bear 71' and as she bounds back into her native habitat the point of view radically shifts to an abstract topographical map – an interface for exploring data and video collected documenting this subject's movement and activities between 2001-09.

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