On indigenous futures: Karyn Recollet, ‘Gesturing Indigenous Futurities Through the Remix’, Dance Research Journal, 48, 1, 2016, pp. 91-105


Excerpt: This article offers a spatial and gestural analysis of Vancouver-based multi-media art collective Skookum Sound System’s digital remixed video Ay I Oh Stomp (2012). Specifically, I will explore how this remixing intervenes in settler colonialism’s disappearances and erasures, to illustrate the ways the video (particularly its activations of dance, movement and gesture) mobilize ongoing Indigenous presencing into futurity. Inspired by Mar-abe (2015)’s writings on the “black imaginary,” I argue that Indigenous futurity decolonizes the Indigenous imaginary. Ay I Oh Stomp’s (2012) remixing creates a future imaginary attentive to the past as it critiques the present, and ventures forward into the beyond. I illustrate how the video, as it holds space within the collective imaginary, is a form of radical imagination tantamount to social change, expressing, as Mar-abe (2015) writes, the “unalienable right to be that radical, to create new worlds in the place of the ones that oppress us.” As I will describe within this article, the mechanisms through which we spatially and temporally gesture “otherwise,” that is—bodily embrace this map to tomorrow, comes out of a process of “jumping scale” (Harjo 2014). Gestures of futurity are choreographies of possibilities and hope—not residing so much in an unattainable dreamscape, but rather they are in constant figuration and reconfiguration all around us. I illuminate instances where futurity is activated or glyphed (Recollet 2014) through the decolonial gesturings3 of dancers and cultural producers’ visual/aural archiving. Indigenous motion, through glyphing, I suggest, produces maps to tomorrow as a result of mobilizing multiple geographical/territorial scales. By glyphing I am referring the ways that music, dances, and other forms of persistent Indigenous motion activate specific spatial/temporal cartographies in much the same way that pet-roglyphs activate Indigenous presence on land/ sky spaces. This work is rooted in the premise that we build a relationship with the land through activating it. What then, are the lexicons of land and territories, and how can we activate (re)mapping to explore the futuristic narrative of complex land histories?

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