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Suzanne Kite

Hél čhaŋkú kiŋ ȟpáye (There lies the road),

June - November, 2023

Vernissage : June 22nd, 2023, 5 pm to 7 pm 

Exhibition description

The FOFA Gallery is pleased to present a temporary public art installation by Dr. Suzanne Kite, accessible from the Courtyard on Ste Catherine Street or from the hallway of the EV Building. The work features ambient sound and hand-painted graphics drawn from Kite’s PhD thesis research. The graphics were made in collaboration with Bobby Joe Smith III.

In Lakȟóta ontologies, materials such as metals, rocks, and minerals are capable of both volition and kinship with human beings. From this perspective, Kite creates new spaces for encounters with artificial intelligence, forming innovative methodologies for approaching human and nonhuman relations in a Good Way (an ethical way). This approach calls for a rethinking of the ontological status of each element that composes and creates artificial intelligence, from the earth’s resources mined for technology to the artworks that eventually use them. By bringing Indigenous epistemologies to bear on questions of AI, Kite’s work as a scholar and an artist develops conceptual frameworks and protocols by which we can conceive of expanded relationships with nonhuman computational technology and AI and make room for them in our collective future.

The work presented at the FOFA Gallery is part of a deeper investigation encompassing multiple research and collaborative methodologies such as performance, sound art and visual art practice, which are examined and summarized in a submitted Ph.D. thesis at Concordia University in 2023. Entitled Hél čhaŋkú kiŋ ȟpáye (There lies the road): How to Make Art in a Good Way, Dr. Kite acknowledges the collaborative synergy inherent to this complex body of work. She explains the following in her abstract: "This project is conducted in collaboration with the Lakȟóta communities diasporically, the Oglála Lakȟóta community in Pine Ridge Reservation, and diasporic Indigenous communities internationally. Through these collaborations, this dissertation has involved recordings, installations, performances, and written documents considering our current and future relationships to nonhumans with special consideration to digital technology in general and AI specifically—while articulating ethical processes which define who and what is in relation."

Read Dr. Suzanne Kite's dissertation!

This in-situ installation was hand-painted on the Courtyard windows by @2Lettreurs

Musical  Composition 

Kite invited musicians to record improvisations using three pieces of media as their "score:" an animation of an agate stone, Imákȟaheye (Method), and an audio file of her singing an Íŋyaŋ (stone) song heard in Inípi (sweat lodge ceremony). The guest musicians’ improvisations were connected, and slightly arranged or adjusted. The instrumentalists were: Robbie Wing - banjo, Jackie Urlik - harp, Eyvind Kang - viola, Devin Ronneberg - synthesizer, Warren Realrider - noise, Matthew Allen - vibraphone, Cochomea - saxophone.

More information about the music ensemble and past exhibition context HERE.

About the artist

Kite aka Dr. Suzanne Kite is an Oglála Lakȟóta performance artist, visual artist, and composer raised in Southern California, with a BFA from CalArts in music composition, and an MFA from Bard College’s Milton Avery Graduate School. Kite’s scholarship and practice investigate contemporary Lakȟóta ontologies through research-creation, computational media, and performance, often working in collaboration with family and community members. Recently, Kite has been developing body interfaces for machine learning driven performance, sculptures generated by dreams, and experimental sound and video work.

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