Let’s have a little Greenlandic music that is a bit less mainstream and doesn’t push out all other Greenlandic musicians like Nanook is. A fantastic video too.
Posts tagged Video.
Sam Tutanuak, Back in ‘58. A song and video that tell the story of relocation of Inuit from Nunavik in northern Quebec to remote locations thousands of kilometers away in the high arctic. As with every such abuse against indigenous people throughout the world, when enough time had passed and enough people got loud enough the Canadian government apologized and handed out monies, and made the victims into “heroes” for a few minutes. And also as with every such abuse, the government managed to apologize without admitting fault, the immense risk to the lives of those displaced (the ecosystem and animals being vastly different from their homes), the loss of local knowledge and the government’s actual intentions in the relocation - although it seems obvious that they were using Inuit to mark their “sovereignty” in the high arctic, which only makes it darker. What would have happened had they abducted white, rural Canadians and dropped them in a land with no shelter or means of getting food?
It is also just a great song.
Christian Skeel. A painting that discusses the many layers of today’s visual world. It seems ordered through abstraction, but really is a photorealistic depiction of an already fractured image. So slowly it brings up conflict in the act of viewing in today’s modern media, which only become more distorted when discussed through an old medium.
Isuma production’s offices in Igloolik, Nunavut. “Isuma” means “Think” - in the imperative. So the pretext for all of their films, as well as the message they proclaim to the town and throughtou Inuit Nunaata, is to think.
They have been a key component in redefining and represerving Inuit culture - through their documentaries, their short films/video art that ask viewers to consider the intricacies and lyricism of traditional life as art in itself, and their fictional films that illustrate legends as well as help contextualize ‘traditional life’ in the medium we are used to seeing it on film, through human relationships. But they have also been important in establishing Nunavut’s self-sufficient postmodern relations to the rest of Canada and the world. Before Isuma came about, television was not common in Nunavut, and there were no programmes in Inuit languages. In addition to their independent work, it’s founders lobbied for changes in broadcasting and helped establish Inuit language programmes in the late ’80s. They both set example for how Inuit identity can be expressed on film and showed that Nunavummiut can engage with the rest of the world, in their own language, and that this is just as important for preserving and evolving culture as documenting the lives of those on the land.
If you click on the photo it will take you to their website where you can stream their major works, or download them. I have only seen Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner (which I happily own) and some short films but can not wait to see the rest. For downloading they charge pay-what-you-can. Do NOT take advantage of this - Isuma is in financial trouble, they have stoped production for the time and their assets are being held. DO pay what you can if you wish to download and realize that the option to download for free is mostly designed for schools and community organizations. They say the average donation is 10$, I think everyone on tumblr can afford that. And if you can’t then stream them, the quality is the same. I definitely recommend that anyone of circumpolar persuasions sees them. When the Western film industry - richer than most people will ever be, churning out generic throw-away ‘entertainment’ - is overriding communication freedoms to save the smallest amount of profit, it is a tremendous gift that a small film company finds producing high-quality, culturally rich work and making it available to all, to be important enough to risk its owners’ stability.
Mere juletid narrestreger. All Danish children are told Santa lives in Greenland. Obviously there are problems here what with encouraging the thought that Greenland is this perfect natural paradise vacant of people but I am sucked into the holiday cosiness. There are no good advent calendar things anymore.
Agitator, Liv Bugge. Liv’s body of work discusses morbid themes in persisting, postcolonial racism. Take a look at some of her other works.
Eirún Sigurðardóttir. A ghost made out of video. The character crotchets its own shroud from “threads of knowledge” coming from its head. Examines ‘knowledge’ as a tool to deceive or shelter oneself (in covering the body) or to deceive others (in the body being covered, and then as the actual figure and performance - the act of ‘knowledge creation’ - not being truly revealed, but only in likeness via the video). Also calls into question (what a surprise) craft vs. fine art (bla bla) in Icelandic culture. Craft is knowledge and can still be art.
It is a little tough for people (including myself, obviously) who have not been artists in Iceland before the 1980s to fully appreciate the importance of this discussion, but visual art was very suppressed, considered a waste of time, before the 19th century. And after that ‘appropriate’ visual art was pretty much confined to landscape painting. Although Icelandic artists made big strides into work in the foundations of postmodernism (which, hey! you can read a little about in the first three pages of my paper from earlier this year! remember that?). After Icelandic society caught up with artists’ exploration of the avant garde, as elsewhere in the world decades and centuries earlier, in some circles craft became the subject unworthy of appreciation for its perceived limited creativity, necessity over form and connection to commerce. In short subjects like this one are to some extent a lot of heritage-specific rhetoric. I still like it. It is, of course, also a discussion that is necessary within art in the broader context, too - but not as extreme, or specific to knitting. But I had better write a paper on Hannes Lárusson and his influence or all of this reading and internet will go to waste. And I think Glasgow Uni has fulfilled its quota of Icelandic art in its journals after that one.