Skawennati : from SkyWorld to cyberspace

Skawennati Tricia Fragnito Mohawk
Publisher McIntosh Gallery

Not on view

In this solo exhibition from 2019, Kanien’kehá:ka (Mohawk) artist Skawennati uses digital avatars to create a fictitious Indigenous cyberspace called Sky World, a sustainable, advanced, and peaceful utopia untouched by colonialism. The exhibition was curated by Matthew Ryan Smith, and was held at the McIntosh Gallery at Western University and the University of Waterloo Art Gallery, both in Ontario, Canada. The exhibition’s dual-language (English and French) catalog features a neon array of images, "machinimagraphs" (a term the artist uses for images made in a virtual environment), and avatars from the artist’s cyber world.

Skawennati creates "machinimas" (a combination of "machine" and "cinema," i.e. films created in the virtual environment) using the massively-multiplayer online virtual environment Second Life (SL). SL gives players the ability to create an avatar, build virtual environments, and interact with other online users. Skawennati uses it to explore Indigenous representation in the digital world. Towards the beginning of the book, she states: "I fear that if Indigenous people cannot envision ourselves in The Future, we will not be there. We need to visualize ourselves as full participants in the multi-mediatized world of today and tomorrow to help ourselves become active agents in the shaping of new mediums and new societies."

Skawennati : from SkyWorld to cyberspace, Skawennati Tricia Fragnito (Mohawk, born 1969)

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