Sky Hopinka The Island Weights

Date(s): Nov 22 to 25, 2023

Location: Studio 04


The Island Weights

© Sky Hopinka, image tirée de la vidéo The Island Weights, 2021

In partnership with Les Rencontres internationales du documentaire de Montréal (RIDM)  

For the second week of the festival, artist-run center OBORO will show Sky Hopinka’s installation The Island Weights in its 3rd floor studio. The 10-minute diptych will be presented in a loop.  

This two-channel film by artist Sky Hopinka is based on the tale of the four water spirits known as Island Weights. In the creation story of Ho-Chunk, the artist’s home nation, the spirits are placed at the Earth’s cardinal points, ensuring that its rotation is not chaotic. Ho-Chunk, now known as Wisconsin, translates as “People of the Great Voice” and stretches from Red Banks to Trempealeau, and from Minneapolis to Milwaukee. The film is divided into 5 parts — Wijirawaséwe (Island Weights), yoiréreginarere (the west), rek’úhuhíra (the south), hą́boguominàgara (the east), siniwagúreginągere (the north) — and follows an individual as he recounts his journey along the boundaries of Ho-Chunk lands. Visually, the viewer is drawn from the tumultuous waves of the Mississippi to serene forests, tranquil lakes, enormous shopping malls, earthen effigies and Ho-Chunk relics. The narrator is not only looking for the spirits, but also wishes to honor them. 

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Further readings:

The Island Weights

© Sky Hopinka, image tirée de la vidéo The Island Weights, 2021

Sky Hopinka (Ho-Chunk Nation/Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians) was born and raised in Ferndale, Washington and spent a number of years in Palm Springs and Riverside, California, Portland, Oregon, and Milwaukee, Wisconsin. His video, photo, and text work centers around personal positions of Indigenous homeland and landscape, designs of language as containers of culture expressed through personal, documentary, and non fiction forms of media. His work has played at various festivals and biennials. He has had a solo exhibition at the Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College, in 2020 and in 2022 at LUMA in Arles, France. He was a fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University in 2018- 2019, a Sundance Art of Nonfiction Fellow for 2019, an Art Matters Fellow in 2019, and is the recipient of many awards and distinctions.

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