Storm Spirits - Aboriginal New Media Art

Storm Spirits

Storm Spirits is the newest project of the Urban Shaman Gallery (Winnipeg). Urban Shaman is a public not for profit art gallery mandated for the exhibition, dissemination and articulation of contemporary art by Canadian and international Aboriginal artists.

Photograph:  Storm Spirits

New media work is increasingly taking its place as fine art medium. However, new media by its nature is best contextualized in a computer/digital based environment. By creating gallery spaces not constrained by the "white cube" of traditional arts institutions, we allow for the work to be exhibited and disseminated within its own contextual environment.

The development of an artistic discipline based on electronic technologies is an articulation of creative and cultural space foregoing the territorialized domains of cultural and artistic canons. We get beyond the notion of simple mediation and enter the realm of translation, exploring how media refashions the logic of communication strategies to encompass a broader understanding of contemporary cultural phenomena. For curator and theorist Catherine Mattes, "translation can loosely be defined as the act of expressing the sense of one language into another parlance or form of representation. When applied to visual languages, translation can transcend the boundaries of specific movements and discourses and does not bind artists by locating them in (or up against) a particular realm." I interpret this to define a certain absolute and contiguous relationship to the technology, available, and to its ability to transform our perception, existing as shape shifter, neither inherently benign nor malevolent, but always acting and active, changing, transformative, giving effect to and affecting the world. The term "language of intercession", coined by Victor Masayesva, refers to this idea. In his essay "Indigenous experimentalism", Masayesva writes, "the Indigenous aesthetic, like each tribal language, is not a profane practice, a basic human protocol, or merely a polite form of etiquette and transaction, but rather, it is the way in which we are heard and commune with the Ancients."

The works for this project may be temporal and transient in nature, they may be interactive, inviting viewers to participate in an evolving construction, they may be permanent structures. We will present diverse and innovative projects that engage, define, challenge and investigate the use of digital and new media arts practice by Aboriginal artists. Exhibitions will change four times per year, with past exhibitions available in our archive. Essays by guest writers and curators will accompany each exhibition as well as video artist talks by the exhibited artists.

We hope you will come back often.