imagineNATIVE, in partnership with TIFF, Pinnguaq and the Initiative for Indigenous Futures (IIF), presented 2167, an innovative virtual reality and immersive media project. Five Indigenous filmmakers and artists had been commissioned to create five VR works in 2017, with each artist asked to set their work 150 years in the future.
The idea for this project was born out of a love of science fiction and alternate realities. Often Indigenous people are seen as stuck in the past; the 2167 project took a very deliberate leap forward in time and we got to see artistic visions about Indigenous place in the future. In a year that in many ways commemorates a very complex history for Indigenous people, this project celebrates the decades to come and our role in shaping a new future for Canada.
Award-winning filmmaker Danis Goulet, Indigenous Canadian artists Kent Monkman and Scott Benesiinaabandan and the interdisciplinary arts collective Postcommodity brought their own vision of the future in two- to six-minute virtual reality experiences.
Three works premiered at the TIFF Bell Lightbox in June 2017, and the two remaining during imagineNATIVE in October 2017 (also at TIFF Bell Lightbox), as part of TIFF’s sesquicentennial initiative called Canada on Screen. The 2167 project in partnership with TIFF and with support of Ontario 150 and Heritage Canada has reached audiences across the country with a travelling tour having concluded at the end of 2017.
SAW Video Media Art Centre was a stop on the 2167 tour and presented this unique VR experience to the Ottawa public. The four day exhibition concluded with a presentation by media artist Scott Benesiinaabandan, followed by a discussion with curator Danielle Printup, which took place on Sunday, December 10th.
Scott Benesiinaabandan is an Anishinabe intermedia artist that works primarily in photography, video, audio and printmaking. He has completed international residencies at Parramatta Artist Studios in Australia, Context Gallery in Derry, North of Ireland, and University Lethbridge/Royal Institute of Technology iAIR residency, along with international collaborative projects in both the United Kingdom and Ireland. Scott is currently based in Montreal.