Production Still from TimeTraveller™.
TimeTraveller™
Immerse Yourself in History

TimeTraveller™ is a short machinima production being shot on location in Second Life, an on-line virtual world. It is the story of Hunter, an angry young Mohawk man living in the 22nd century. Despite the fact that he possesses an impressive range of traditional skills, Hunter is unable to cope with life in an overcrowded, hyperinflated, technologized world. He embarks on a vision quest that takes him back in time to historical conflicts that have involved First Nations. Though his intention is to right the wrongs of the past, he ends up discovering the complexity of history, and of truth itself.

Visit timetravellertm.com.

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Students at the Skins 1.0 workshop.
Skins

Storytelling in Cyberspace (or, How to Translate The Oral Tradition Into Virtual Reality)

Skins is a video game workshop for Aboriginal youth offered by an Aboriginally determined team of game designers, artists and educators known as AbTeC.The unique curriculum begins with traditional storytelling and procedes to teach participants how to tell a story in a very new way --through virtual environments and video games. With that foundation in place, the students then learn important skills for the production of video games and virtual environments, such as, game design, art direction, 3D modeling and animation, sound, and computer programming.

The lessons are taught by a mix of game-industry professionals, Aboriginal artists and a core team of senior Concordia students from the Computation Arts undergraduate programme. We have also invited Aboriginal mentors who lend their considerable expertise as cultural consultants and provide moral support to the young producers.

SKINS aims to empower Native youth to be more than just consumers of these new technologies by showing them how to be creators and builders themselves.

Skins 1.0 was prototyped at Kahnawake Survival School from September 2008 to June 2009. You can view a draft of our curriculum here and the blog here.

Skins 2.0 took place in the summer 2011. View the blog here and join the facebook group here.

Skins 3.0 is in development. Stay tuned!

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Image from Ots:! Rise of the Kanien'kehá:ka Legends DVD game cover.

Otsi:!
Rise of the Kanien'kehá:ka Legends

Otsi:! Rise of the Kanien'kehá:ka Legends is a videogame developed by students in Owisokon Lahache's art class at the Kahnawake Survival School during the 2008 - 2009 school year.

The students drew on several stories from the Kahnawake community to create the narrative for Otsi:! about an Iroquois hunter is on a mission to stop a monster, the Flying Head, from destroying his village. The students designed an entire multi-level game that took players from the Flying Head's origin story through to his confrontation with the hunter.

The game was implemented as a mod on the Unreal first-person shooter engine. The player takes the role of the hunter, and sees the world from his eyes. The player begins outside of a village that has been razed to the ground. The sole survivor tells him about the Flying Head and its attack on the village, and warns the player that it is now heading towards Hunter's village.

Two of the students are currently working in the lab to refine the game further.

Visit otsi.abtec.org.

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Still from You Want A Piece of Me live performance in Second Life.

Avatar Performance Stream
LIVE Biennale of Performance Art 2007

Skawennati Tricia Fragnito was invited to produce a special curatorial initiative as part of the Avatar Performance Stream of Vancouver's LIVE Biennale of Performance Art. It was a great opportunity for AbTeC to see how Second Life could accommodate Aboriginal storytelling! Skawennati commissioned new works by two AbTeC Research Assistants, artists Bea Parsons and Bonnie Quaite, who created performances for Second Life.

Read Skawennati's Curatorial Statement.
Read Artists' Statements: Bea Parson's Statement. Bonnie Quaite's Statement.

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CyberPowWow
An Aboriginally Determined Territory in Cyberspace

CyberPowWow, a project initiated by Nation to Nation, a First Nations artist collective, is the direct ancestor of Aboriginal Territories in Cyberspace.

From 1997-2004, CyberPowWow used the Internet to bridge the vast geographical distances, both in Canada and around the world, that separate Aboriginal people, especially contemporary Aboriginal artists. Four themed exhibitions took place, topically exploring the intersection between technology, art and identity.

CyberPowWow featured a website and chat space furnished with commissioned works by a mix of emerging and established, First Nations and non-Native, artists and writers. These included: Rosalie Favell, Greg A. Hill, Joseph Tekaroniake Lazare, Ryan Johnston, Archer Pechawis, Jason E. Lewis, Ahasiw Maskegon-Iskwew, Michelle Nahanee, Travis Neel, Sheila Urbanoski, Trevor Van Weeren, Edward Poitras, Sheryl Kootenhayoo, Lori Blondeau, Bradlee LaRocque, Ryan Rice, Melanie Printup Hope, Marilyn Burgess, Lee Crowchild, Jolene Rickard, Audra Simpson, Paul Chaat Smith and Skawennati Tricia Fragnito.

Each exhibition was launched with a simultaneous, distributed on-line event. Roughly biannual, the events put the "pow wow" in CyberPowWow and took place both in cyberspace and at official, real-life Gathering Sites across Turtle Island. These artist-run centres, community centres and galleries opened their doors to the public to increase access to people who might otherwise not log on.

CyberPowWow has informed AbTeC in many ways. We learned about the particular needs of Aboriginal artists and their communities when working with new and networked technologies. We learned about the various concerns that Aboriginal communities have in regard to cultural intellectual property, and strategies for addressing those concerns. We learned that even on the Internet, First Nations need a place to call their own.

Visit cyberpowwow.net.

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