Apr 11, 2019 at 7:30 pm
Potato Gardens Band: Decolonizing The Archive
With Krista Belle Stewart and Mathilde Walker-Billaud
In her practice, Krista Belle Stewart underlines the missing gaps and disjunctures between the lived experiences of Indigenous peoples and their representations in media (photography, film, audio). For this screening and presentation, Stewart looks back at her experimentations with documentation materials depicting her family. Here she presents her Indigenous politics of representation through and against colonial archives, and proposes an artistic method for reclaiming the knowledge of her community.
The screening and presentation will be followed by a conversation with Mathilde Walker-Billaud, focusing on Krista Belle Stewart’s concept of “Deliberate Enactment,” and the responsibility of the spectator as a witness.
Seraphine, Seraphine (2015, film)
Screening, 40 min.
Krista Belle Stewart in Seraphine, Seraphine juxtaposes two images: a docu-drama shown on CBC in 1967 portraying Krista Belle Stewart’s mother, Seraphine Stewart, as the first Aboriginal public health nurse in British Columbia, with excerpts from a personal testimony for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission gathering held in Vancouver in 2013. This two-part video installation weaves between past and present but the subject is the same. The confrontation of the two narrative forms (voice over or personal account) sheds light on the complexities of interpretation, mediation and storytelling.
Potato Gardens Band (2014-ongoing, sound-based media work)
Presentation, 20 min.
Potato Gardens Band is a body of work paying homage to the the voice of Stewart’ great-grandmother: Terese Kaimetko, singing in Syilx (Okanagan). Her songs were recorded on wax cylinder during the early 1900s by ethnographer James Alexander Teit. Since 2014, artist Krista Belle Stewart has used this recording to investigate anthropological uses of audio technologies, and underlines their role in archiving and transmitting Indigenous knowledge.
Krista Belle Stewart is an artist and member of the Syilx Nation currently based on unceded Tsleil-Waututh, Musqueam and Sḵwx̱wú7mesh territories (Vancouver, BC). Stewart works with video, land, performance, photography, textiles and sound, drawing out personal and political narratives inherent in archival materials while questioning their articulation in institutional histories. Within the last year her work has been exhibited at the SFU Teck Gallery, Vancouver; YYZ Artist Outlet, Toronto; Leonard and Bina Ellen Art Gallery, Montreal; Musee d’Art Contemporain, Montreal; Independent Studio and Curatorial Program, New York; Plug In ICA, Winnipeg, and the Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin. Stewart holds an MFA from the Milton Avery School of the Arts at Bard College, New York.
Mathilde Walker-Billaud is an independent curator and cultural producer based in New York, City. She trained and worked as an art editor in Paris. As a Program Director at the cultural services of the French Embassy in New York City, she organized multidisciplinary programs related to fiction and non fiction writings translated from French. She also co-programmed and produced five editions of the international festival of performances and ideas “Walls and Bridges” for Villa Gillet in New York City. For UnionDocs, Walker-Billaud programs workshops and hosts a series of mixed media talks about spectatorship “What You Get Is What You see” which featured Nora Chipaumire, Luc Sante, David Levine, DJ /rupture, Melanie Bonajo, Martha Rosler, Lawrence Abu Hamdan and more.
About the Series - What You Get Is What You See
Filmmakers, artists and writers share their personal observations as viewers, readers, watchers, listeners and audience members. It is a critical space where reception is scrutinized and disentangled, where viewership is exposed as an everyday political act.
This series gives us the opportunity to review the traditional binaries attached to spectatorship: individual/collective, author/spectator, active/passive, life/art, real/fake and discuss the relevance of these terminologies today. This feels critically important as we increasingly rely on digital data and mediated experiences, as we navigate a society that has totally integrated and embraced the spectacular.
Focusing more on the process than the result, the program also highlights the role of spectatorship in creative practice.