A cyberpunk spaceship has landed inside Canada House in London’s Trafalgar Square, and its virtual crew, a cast of Indigenous time travellers from the 15th to the 23rd centuries – created by Kahnawa:ke-born, Montreal-based multimedia artist Skawennati – are poised and ready to meet any curious Earthlings who would like to get on board.
Avatars Aliens Ancestors, on view to March, assembles characters from all corners of Skawennati’s artistic universe. Among them, there’s Kateri Tekakwitha, born in 1656 and the first Indigenous woman to have been named a saint by the Catholic Church; elders from SkyWorld, the planet our ancestors are said to have come from, who wear white clothes with circles cut out of them to expose their technicoloured skin; and “xox”, Skawennati’s own avatar from online game Second Life, where she designs and builds many of the virtual worlds populated by her figures.
She calls her works machinimas (a portmanteau of “machine” and “cinema,” meaning movies created in virtual environments) and machinimagraphs (photographs taken in these virtual environments by her avatar), and creates them with help from her team at Aboriginal Territories in Cyberspace, a creative research network for Indigenous youth that she co-directs with partner Jason Edward Lewis.
“Youth truly are the future,” she says. “Through our Skins workshops in Indigenous Storytelling and Digital Media, we aim to empower them to be producers, in addition to users, of digital media.”
Active in cyberspace since the 1990s, Skawennati has repeatedly called out the fact that the most common representations of Indigenous peoples in popular culture are from the past. Look into your mind’s eye and you’ll see them: anonymous, sepia-toned and serious-looking, in traditional garb. “I fear that if Indigenous people cannot envision ourselves in The Future, we will not be there,” she says. “We need to visualize ourselves as full participants in the multimediatized world of today and tomorrow to help ourselves become active agents in the shaping of new mediums and new societies.”
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James Murdoch's Firm to Invest in Ailing Art Basel Organizer – BNN
(Bloomberg) — James Murdoch plans to invest in ailing Art Basel organizer MCH Group, which has been hammered by delays and cancellations due to the coronavirus pandemic.
His investment company Lupa Systems will acquire a stake of 30% to 44%, Basel-based MCH Group said in a statement Friday. The company also plans to add Murdoch to the board of directors.
MCH Group has been battered by the coronavirus outbreak, which led to some of its biggest events being called off. The Art Basel show, slated for September, was canceled, and big-name brands like Rolex and Patek Philippe deserted its watch exhibition Baselworld, leading to the scrapping of the show. Sales will slump by as much as 170 million francs ($180 million) this year.
Lupa Systems is a technology and media fund founded by the younger son of billionaire Rupert Murdoch. It has acquired stakes in Vice Media and the Void, which focuses on virtual-reality entertainment. James Murdoch also got into business with Robert DeNiro to help the owner of the Tribeca Film Festival expand.
MCH Group will propose a 104.5 million-franc capital increase and a restructuring of its debt capital at an extraordinary general meeting on Aug. 3, which is when shareholders will vote on Lupa Systems’ entry as a new shareholder with a lock-up period of five years.
©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
Sooke Fine Art Show gears up for July 24 launch – Saanich News
One of Sooke’s most relished events is just a few brush strokes away.
The Sooke Fine Art Show is gearing up to showcase a wide selection of local art, but this year the show takes place virtually. Artist submissions are in, and organizers are ready to launch the new website for the show.
Terrie Moore, executive director of the Sooke Fine Arts Society, said organizers worked hard to reflect the same feel of the in-person art show as much as possible.
“It’s been a 180-degree switch from previous years, and getting as many aspects of the live show up online has been a huge learning curve. Overall it’s been a really rewarding process,” Moore said.
This year, people can visit the show online anytime from July 24 to Aug. 3, although Moore added it might be possible to buy art from the website until the end of September. There is no fee to view the galleries.
A wide range of categories is featured in the show, including more than 375 juried works of paintings, drawings, sculptures, photography, fibre arts, jewelry, glass, and ceramics in a virtual format.
Despite the pandemic and the changes to this year’s format, the show had 87 per cent of its usual amount of submissions.
There will also be interactive elements included in the virtual show, such as artist demos, virtual performances, a youth art gallery, an online auction, senior’s tea, Artz4Kiz, and more.
“The nice thing about our online show is providing access to people who may not have been able to visit the show otherwise,” Moore said.
“We’ll miss the excitement and camaraderie of working together on the physical show, but our priority is the well-being of our volunteers, artists, and our guests with respect to COVID-19 concerns. And while we’re excited about the opportunities this year’s online show presents, we are looking forward to returning to a physical show next year for our 35th anniversary.”
This year’s Purchasers Preview night will be held on July 23, where art lovers can get the first look at this year’s show. Local chef Pat Hogan of 4 Beaches Catering, has created a special appetizer box that people can purchase and enjoy while they “attend” the event at home.
Moore said this year’s show inspired a lot of connections between local businesses, organizers, artists, and community members, who all were willing to help out and make the event possible.
For more information, to donate or to sponsor the event, please go online to sookefinearts.com.
'The art was lonely:' Ottawa galleries, museums begin to reopen – OttawaMatters.com
Ottawa’s museums and galleries have started reopening after COVID-19 restrictions, but there are some changes that patrons will need to heed before paying a visit.
The Ottawa Art Gallery opened its doors on Wednesday, with the first day reserved for frontline workers. The general public was allowed to tour the gallery beginning on Thursday.
“The art was lonely,” jokes CEO Alexandra Badzak. “We’re very happy to have people back in the building, that’s our job; we’re here to bring a connection between art and our community.”
In a very abnormal time of navigating a world of COVID-19 restrictions and precautions, Badzak notes that a visit to a gallery can help provide some relief.
“We know that art is a really important part of making you feel relaxed and connected to community,” said Badzak.
In Carp, the Diefenbunker has re-opened its blast doors, but with a few changes to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission: sanitizing stations and physical distancing markers have been placed around the bunker, and staff are limiting the number of people allowed inside at one time.
“There’s a couple of exhibitions that we did have to close, due to high-touch areas or spaces we couldn’t ensure physical distancing,” said Christine McGuire, the Diefenbunker’s executive director. “But really, the majority of the museum is open to the public, as it was before.”
The Ottawa Art Gallery requires visitors to book their visit in advance, online. Visits are limited to a three-hour block of time, but people can roam freely in the gallery without having to follow a set path.
Purchasing tickets to Diefenbunker online is optional, but the museum is restricting payment to online and cards only.
Additional precautions required are on the Diefenbunker’s and Ottawa Art Gallery’s websites.
Many other galleries and museums in the capital remain closed while they adapt to COVID-19 restrictions.
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