Original

 

Please do not watch video clips in fullscreen mode.
In an exhibition setting, the 2 videos play side by side. Try to watch them together..

Original – non-linear projected video diptych (clips)
Both videos have the same imagery – one with & one without title.
Video loop lengths = 11’42 min & 11’20 min.

 

video stills – click on any image to enlarge

Original - installation @ Grace Space, Brooklyn (street view)

Original - diptych still

Original - video still (Travis Wuttunee aka Baby Buffalo)

Original - video still (dancing moccasins)

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  • Original 2007

    Site-specific installation created for the large gallery window of Grace Exhibition Space in Brooklyn, NY. The imagery, centered around “Baby Buffalo’, a (young) men’s traditional dancer, both maintains and undermines Native stereotypes.

    Images of buffalo, traditional dancers, and painted horses are interspersed with footage of Native youth and community in street wear as they walk around the outside of the powwow arbour (know as ‘doing laps’). In contrast with the ‘traditional’ garb of the dancers, the youth wear ‘urban’ hip-hop inspired clothing, whose cultural source is the very area & streets of NY the installation was created for.

    In its installation format, two projections of the same looped imagery played side by side from dusk until morning. Each video was a slightly different length, so that each of the projections’ images were always in a different relationship to one another.

    The work is in part an act of sharing the beauty of the Cree world. The contrast, connections & dialogues created by placing these particular images in a hyper-urban, ‘ethnic’ location, also mirror the dichotomy of trying to balance two (or more) ‘worlds’ (indigenous/colonial/colonized/global/etc). This balancing is both internal and external, personal and communal.

    The video footage also includes shots moving across the prairie - seen from a car window – not the back of a horse.. It becomes a record of traversing not only the land, but the distance between dispirit cultures and locations.

    The projection was made specifically for the busy ‘outside’ audience of Bushwick, a predominantly African/Latin American neighborhood in Brooklyn. The painterly, soft, and yet dramatic qualities of the video make a strong impact, particularly unexpected in the hard-edged ‘hustle’ of this area. The relationships between imagery & location cross-reference and juxtapose the ‘origins’ of cultures & their ‘cultural regalia’ - both Indigenous & Urban - and explores how they merge.

    “There was a poignancy for me in projecting these images in other ‘marginalized’ communities. In their familiar struggle to ‘place’ me, Brooklyn locals more often than not assume that I am Latin American. This is not particularly surprising, since many Latin American (and African American..) folks have Indigenous ancestry, so we may be a similar ‘mix’, but it is interesting and ironic how seldom even these people recognize myself - or other Native people - for who we are.”

    As a contemporary yet traditionally informed ‘introduction’ to the artist’s particular Nation, Original is both celebratory and insistent in its affirmative presence, communication and education. Through both its imagery and use of digital technology, it is a real-time ‘reminder’ of Indigenous and North American history, and of our continued existence and indescribably important role here – things perhaps even more easily overlooked or forgotten in urban environments.

    The projection of one ‘place’ and/or ‘culture’ within another also speaks to the current dramatic cultural, environmental and even conceptual changes created by technology. The use of symbolically ‘Native’ imagery placed within the most urban of environments emphasizes not only the scale and speed at which things can change as a result of different technologies, but also the importance of healthy cultural approaches in our employment of them – an awareness that is central to most Indigenous worldview.

    ---

    note: This piece is adaptable for exhibition in alternative locations & environments.

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