For this Land is a media series inspired by Sioux philosopher Vine Deloria jr.—in particular, his 1998 book from which the title of this project is borrowed. What we find compelling is Deloria’s argument about incommensurability between Western theology and Indigenous spirituality in that the first is rooted in a temporal logic, and the latter in a spatial philosophy. Deloria says, Indigenous world-views are spatial because they privilege a spiritual relationship to ‘place’ and, therefore, tribal spiritual sensibilities emerge from attention given to the landscape and geographical orientation—as the elders say, we write our stories, our histories on the Land.
This project is about place, specifically, three different, interconnected and historically important locations on Six Nations of the Grand River. The first is the Chiefswood estate, the birth place of Mohawk Poet Pauline Johnson and now a national historic site . For several days Mohawk poet Janet Rogers and Mohawk media artist Jackson Twobears explored the heritage site, and creatively engaged with the stories that Pauline left on the land. The second location, the Mohawk Institute Residential School also named the Mush Hole, where the artists engaged with the troubled history and spirit of this site, prepared offerings, and read aloud stories to the now empty rooms and dorms. At the third site, the Secord House in Ohsweken, which is a replica of the Laura Secord House in Queenstown Ontario, the artists performed actions that they imagined conjured the spectral histories surrounding the war of 1812, seeking to engage in a dialogue with this location.
At each site, the actions and interactions were documented and the experiences, and conversations were recorded. New poetry was created and offered as part of the performative engagement. The edition of this project is an installation that will ‘evolve' through the duration of the exhibition, and be an imaginative versioning and an aesthetic interpretation of the dialogues that the artistshad with these “spaces”. The Installation/ performance piece will be a multi-channel sound and video /live cinema performance.
For information about the artists, click here: Janet Rogers