Concordia University

ARTH 642 - Aspects of Media and New Media: Indigenous Art: Experimental Film, New Media and the Digital

T - 15:00-18:00

In this course we will examine the art histories, theories and methodologies for understanding contemporary Indigenous film, new media, and digital arts. Drawing on the work of leading scholars, curators, and artists from the Indigenous territories in primarily Canada and the United States of America, but also Australia and Aotearoa (New Zealand), this course brings forth urgent conversations about resistance to colonial modernism, and highlights the historic and ongoing use of technology by Indigenous communities and artists as vehicles of resilience and cultural continuity. In this class we will examine the discourses around the definitions of new and digital media art and practice-based work within the framework of Indigenous art and theory. Students will be introduced to the key texts, authors, concepts and themes at the intersection of Indigenous theory and criticism, such as Indigeneity, authenticity, culture, tradition, intervention, sovereignty, self-determination, resistance and resilience. We will trace the history and development of these art theories and methodologies in the digital arts, as rooted in postcolonial thought and specific Indigenous cultural worldviews, teachings, and knowledges, focusing on the late-twentieth century to the present. While showcasing Indigenous artists’ work, this course also probes the significant ways that this work contributes to—yet also intervenes on—the fields of art history, visual, cultural and media studies. Using a special issue of PUBLIC 54 as the key course text, in this class we will investigate contemporary Indigenous digital and new media art’s relationships with sovereignty, self-determination, and nationhood. Through the study of artworks and dialogues we will examine the ways that Indigenous new media art can dynamically activate and embody Indigenous epistemologies, cosmologies, and methodologies.

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