S-O-S3 (signals of survival)
Jason Baerg, Raven Chacon, Jason Lujan, Julie Nagam, Bear Witness
A Space Main Gallery
September 24 – October 29, 2011
Curated by: Cheryl L'Hirondelle
Copresented by: imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival,
Reception and curator talk on Friday, October 21, 2011 from 5:30 - 7:30 p.m.
Generous Technical Support Provided by Interaccess Electronic Media Arts Centre
A Space Gallery and the imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival proudly present S-O-S3 (signals of survival), a new media exhibition curated by Cheryl L’Hirondelle and profiling innovative works by Jason Baerg, Raven Chacon, Jason Lujan, Julie Nagam and Bear Witness. Encoded deep within Indigenous genes is the memory of survival methods originating as impulses, that over time and with repetition became encoded into designs, stories, dances, songs and languages. Technology is a new ‘tool for survival’ and for Indigenous artists working with new media the imperative is ever-present to adapt to these tools and to adopt new modes of communication to continue to transmit an unending message to the universe: signals of survival.
Jason Baerg is an Indigenous curator, educator, and visual artist. Recent curatorial projects include exhibitions with Toronto’s Nuit Blanche and the University of Toronto. Baerg graduated from Concordia University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts and a Masters of Fine Arts from Rutgers University. He currently is teaching as the Assistant Professor in Indigenous Practices in Contemporary Painting and Media Art at OCAD University. Dedicated to community development, he founded and incorporated the Metis Artist Collective and has served as volunteer Chair for such organizations as the Aboriginal Curatorial Collective and the National Indigenous Media Arts Coalition. Creatively, as a visual artist, he pushes new boundaries in digital interventions in drawing, painting and new media installation. Recent international solo exhibitions include the Luminato Festival in Toronto, Canada, the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology in Australia and the Digital Dome at the Institute of the American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Jason Baerg has adjudicated numerous art juries and won awards through such facilitators as the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council and The Toronto Arts Council. For more information about his work, please visit Jasonbaerg.info.
A long-time player in the music scenes of the desert Southwest and the American west coast, Raven Chacon (Dine’) is a composer of chamber music and a solo performer of experimental noise music, as well as a performance and installation artist. He is a member of the Indian artist collective Postcommodity and also performs and records with the groups KILT (with Bob Bellerue), Mesa Ritual (with William Fowler Collins), and the large noise ensemble Death Convention Singers. Chacon has recorded numerous works for classical and electronic instruments and ensembles. He has performed and had exhibitions of his work across the United States, Canada, Europe, and New Zealand. He is based in Albuquerque and Los Angeles, with stations at Phoenix and the Navajo Reservation.
Jason Lujan is of Chiricahua Apache background and has lived in New York since 2001. His performance Fancy Dance Good Luck Lion was presented at the Heard Museum, Phoenix, AZ, and the National Museum of the American Indian, New York, NY. He has participated in residencies at The Center for Book Arts, New York, NY; Vermont Studio Center, Johnson, VT; and Triangle Arts Association, Brooklyn, NY. Lujan earned his MFA from the University of Colorado, Boulder, CO, USA.
Julie Nagam is a faculty member at OCAD University in the Aboriginal Visual Culture and Liberal Studies and a PhD Candidate in Social and Political Thought at York University. Her research interests are a (re)mapping of a colonial state through creative interventions and currently her artistic practices are focused on an oral sound project of a site-specific area of the city of Toronto. She has conducted research on site-specific locations on the Indigenous history of Toronto, for the Visible Cities Project + Archive in Toronto, Inuit artists in Pangnirtung Nunavut; on rural and northern women artists in Manitoba for Mentoring Artists for Women’s Art; and women’s issues for the Icelandic Center for Feminist Research.
Bear Witness is an Ottawa-based media artist who has been producing short experimental videos for over eight years. Bear was awarded the Aboriginal International Residency Exchange in Australia by the Canada Council for the Arts. During his residency at Parramatta Artists Studios he had a solo-exhibition as part of the 2010 Sydney Festival, titled, The Only Good NDN. Bear’s video The Story of Apinachie and her Redheaded Wrestler was selected for the 2009 Berlin International Film Festival, as part of the Culture Shock program. In 2008 his video BrokeDickDog was included in the Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography exhibition Steeling the Gaze: Portraits of Aboriginal Artists hosted by the National Gallery of Canada. Bear also exhibited two videos as part of Drive By: A Road Trip with Jeff Thomas at The University of Toronto Art Centre. In 2010, Witness collaborated with the NFB on a video project to remix films from the NFB archive. Most recently, Witness exhibited a new video installation, In the Cut: A Video Mix-Tape at the Urban Shaman Gallery. Bear also produces live audio-visual performances and co-founded A Tribe Called Red, a native DJ collective who produce music internationally known as Pow Wow-step, and hosts a monthly event called Electric Pow Wow.
Cheryl L’Hirondelle (aka Waynohtêw, Cheryl Koprek) is an award-winning nomadic mixed-blood multi and interdisciplinary artist, singer/songwriter and curator. Her creative practice is an investigation of the junction of a Cree worldview (nêhiyawin) in contemporary time and space. In 2004, L’Hirondelle was one of the first Aboriginal artists from this land now known as Canada to be invited to present her new media work at DAK’ART Lab as part of the 6th Edition of the Dakar Biennale for Contemporary African Art, Dakar, Senegal. In both 2005 & 2006, L’Hirondelle was the recipient of the imagineNATIVE New Media Award for her online net.art projects: treatycard, 17:TELL and wêpinâsowina. Her 2008 interdisciplinary project nikamon ohci askiy (songs because of the land), was recognized as an honoree in the Net.Art category of the 13th Annual Webby Awards. She has also been involved in a variety of media arts initiatives including: imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival New Media advisor and guest curator, 2009-2011; Smartlab Associate Researcher (UK), 2005–07; Banff New Media Institute Advisory Committee, 2006; ISEA – Pacific Rim New Media Summit Working Group Member (US/NZ), 2006; Circuit4.ca – Canadian Heritage Information Network, 2004; RIXC – International Locative Media Workshop (Latvia), 2003; Drumbytes.org; 2002; Canada Council Media Arts Advisory Committee, 1997–2001; KIDS FROM KANATA On-line Aboriginal Liaison, 1995-96, and AFVAA – Drum Beats to Drum Bytes Thinktank, 1994. She is currently in the final stages of a new net.art project NDNSPAM and is working on a project to honour the new media work of the late Ahasiw Maskegon Iskwew.