Towards Making Regalia of the Future
June 23, 2015, at 6:30PM
Weaving recovered pasts, material presents, and digital futures Skawennati asks, “What do we keep?”
In Episode 04 of Skawennati’s machinima series, TimeTraveller™ (2008-2013), the female protagonist, Karahkwenhawi, a Mohawk, is transported to a pow wow in the year 2112. There she is offered a glimpse into the style and materials of a world in which Indigenous people are once again the majority. To create TimeTraveller™ Skawennati worked with the online virtual environment, Second Life, to flesh out what this world may look like, including the commemorative clothing or regalia that would be worn for a futuristic pow wow. With her new work-in-progress, Regalia of the Future, Skawennati continues this exploration in further detail, speculating on how the calicos, ribbon shirts and wampum belts of the future might be made, and what kind of events they will mark.
For this edition of SHOWINGS, Skawennati offers us a glimpse into her process of moving between the digital and physical realms to create imaginaries based not on existing systems, but to bring into being more desirable futures. Rather than an indulgent escapist form of science fiction or a distanced societal critique via time-travel hindsight, Skawennati’s science fiction is of critical, creative and joyful forms of survival and empowerment grounded in material reality and future indigenous sovereignty.
Skawennati is an artist whose work addresses history, the future, and change. Born in Kahnawake Mohawk Territory, Skawennati holds a BFA from Concordia University in Montreal, where she is based. She is Co-Director, with Jason E. Lewis, of Aboriginal Territories in Cyberspace (AbTeC), a research network of artists, academics and technologists investigating, creating and critiquing Indigenous virtual environments. Her pioneering new media projects include CyberPowWow (1997-2004); Imagining Indians in the 25th Century (2001); and TimeTraveller™(2008-2013).These have been widely presented across Turtle Island in major exhibitions such as Looking Forward (L’Avenir) at the Montreal Biennale; Close Encounters: The Next 500 Years; and Changing Hands: Art Without Reservation 3. Her work is included in the collections of the Canada Art Bank, Edd J. Guarino, and the Aboriginal Art Centre at Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada, among others.
Image credit: She is Dancing with Herself, courtesy of Skawennati
Towards Making Regalia of the Future is presented in partnership with the Indigenous Visual Culture Program at OCAD University.
SHOWINGS is a series of interdisciplinary events where invited artists, new media researchers, sci-fi writers, and future-casters reconfigure our relationships to technology through a science fiction lens.