Steven Paul Judd, Invaders, 2018
Indigenous Futurisms: Explorations in Art and Play
Gorman Museum at University of California, Davis
Oct 2, 2019 - Jan 31, 2020
One Shields Ave., Davis, California
Open Mon-Fri, noon-5 p.m., and Sun 2-5 p.m.
Admission is free.
Indigenous Futurisms brings together graphics, comics, SF, and video games to create a provocative space of engagement and thought about Indigenous futures and possibilities. The gaming section was curated by Ashlee Bird, a graduate student of Native American Studies at UC Davis, who writes:
The content and graphics involved with Native American and Indigenous representation in these genres are fraught with embedded stereotypes and in some cases, these depictions are viewed as deeply offensive and racist. Native American artists and game designers actively engage with these concerns by creating new spaces, environments and platforms for the expression of visual sovereignty. Games and artwork are created, mediated and informed from rich cultural foundations alongside technical media expertise.
Video game inspired art on display includes an enormous vinyl inkjet print created by interdisciplinary artist Sonny Assu which reimagines the original Nintendo Entertainment System controller and replaces the original directional pad with a copper, an indigenous shield shape that for Northwest coast tribes indicates status and wealth. The piece is exhibited as large inkjet on paper.
Sonny Assu, Nuła̱mał Entertainment System, 2017, exhibition Copy: Inkjet on paper, 36 x 26 inches
Assu has previously made modified cabinet arcades such as Wreck-Consiliation! (2017) and Broken Treaties (2017) which both display a video of Clayfighter (made by Brendan Tang) as a 81 second loop. The coin-op machines were exhibited in the context of the Ready Player Two exhibition at the Reach Gallery Museum, Abbotsford, British Columbia between 25.05.17 - 03.09.17.
Sonny Assu, Broken Treaties, 2017, Maple, copper leaf, paint, 73.75x25x28.25 inches
Indigenous Futurisms also features interactive games playable with Xbox One controllers within the gallery space, including Nathan Powless Lynes's Hold My Hand!, a dual character puzzle platformer where the characters hold hands to help each other overcome obstacles.
Maize Longboat, Ray Caplin, Mehrdad Dehdashti, Beatrix Moersch, Terra Nova, interactive game, 2019
Created by Maize Longboat, Ray Caplin, Mehrdad Dehdashti, Beatrix Moersch, Terra/Nova is a split-screen side-scroller starring an elder land-keep and a youthful inventor. The characters must perform actions in their respective worlds in order to accomplish the game's ultimate goal. Lastly, visitors can experience Full of Birds, an interactive art gallery which immerses the viewer in a colorful, vibrant "natural" world.
LINK: Indigenous Futurism (All images and videos courtesy of the Artists)