The art of story creation in virtual reality offers a point of view and presence of place, space, and environment that may be the closest comparison yet to Indigenous oral storytelling practice. How are Indigenous artists bringing their world view and concepts of time and narrative to this medium in conjunction with the Indigenous futurism movement, and what are they learning through their first forays into VR?
This engaging discussion offers the creative, cultural, and practical considerations and reflections of some of the Indigenous filmmakers and artists of the 2167 initiative — Danis Goulet, Scott Benesiinaabandan, and Postcommodity — who were commissioned to create VR projects envisioning Indigenous life 150 years in the future.
This event is presented by CMF as part of the imagineNATIVE Film & Media Arts Festival, with support from TIFF Higher Learning.
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Scott Benesiinaabandan is an Anishinabe intermedia artist that works primarily in photography, printmaking and video. He recently completed international residencies at Parramatta Artist Studios in Australia (12) and Context Gallery in Derry, North of Ireland (10), and was awarded the University Lethbridge/Royal Institute of Technology iAIR residency (13). He is currently in Montreal, and recently completed a Canada Council New Media Production grant through OBx Labs/Ab-tech and Concordia. In the past four years, Benesiinaabandan has been awarded multiple grants from the Canada Council for the Arts, Manitoba Arts Council and the Winnipeg Arts Council. He has taken part in several group exhibitions across Canada and the United States, most notably in Harbourfront’s Flatter the Land/Bigger the Ruckus (06), Subconscious City at the Winnipeg Art Gallery (08), and Ghost Dance at the Ryerson Image Centre (13), and has also had a number of solo exhibitions, including unSacred at Gallery 1C03 (11) and Mii Omaa Ayaad/Oshiki Inendemowin in Sydney (12).
Postcommodity is an interdisciplinary arts collective comprised of Raven Chacon, Cristóbal Martínez, and Kade L. Twist. They work to promote a constructive discourse that challenges the social, political and economic processes that are destabilizing communities and geographies, and to connect Indigenous narratives of cultural self-determination with the broader public sphere. Postcommodity are the recipients of grants from the Joan Mitchell Foundation (2010), Creative Capital (2012), Art Matters (2013), Native Arts and Cultures Foundation (2014), and the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation (2017). The collective has exhibited nationally and internationally, including Contour the 5th Biennial of the Moving Image in Mechelen, Belgium; Nuit Blanche, Toronto; 18th Biennale of Sydney; the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art; the 2017 Whitney Biennial; Art in General, New York; documenta14, Athens and Kassel; and their historic land art installation Repellent Fence at the US/Mexico border.
Danis Goulet co-programs the Festival’s Canadian Features programme. Prior to this, Goulet was co-programmer of the Short Cuts programme. She is also the former Artistic Director of the imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival and has curated award-winning short-film commissioning projects including Embargo Collective I and II. Goulet has developed initiatives for the Ontario Arts Council and has served on the boards for the Toronto Arts Council and the Images Festival. As a director, her films have screened at numerous festivals in Canada and around the world, including the Toronto International Film Festival, Berlinale, imagineNATIVE and the Sundance Film Festival. She is an alumna of TIFF Talent Lab and the National Screen Institute. Goulet, who is Cree/Métis, was born in La Ronge, Saskatchewan and currently resides in Toronto.