‘Technography’ New Forms Festival, Vancouver

North-South-East-West at New Forms Festival in Vancouver Canada,  September 2004.


North-South-East-West video installation with Metis storyteller was presented at ‘Technography’ the September 2004 New Forms Festival in Vancouver Canada.


New Forms Festival Presentation

North-South-East-West (NSEW), the new media installation is concerned with enhancing our emotional connection to the earth by creating an immersive audio-visual environment that includes video monitors, DVD players, computer workstations and interactive CDROMs. The installation will carry its ecological message this year to SAW Video Media Arts Centre of Ottawa, Trinity Square Video of Toronto, Pilot TV the experimental media festival of Chicago and the ImagineNative Film and Media Arts Festival of Toronto

NSEW, which began with the support of the ED Video Media Arts Centre of Guelph in 2003, was researched through reading The Ojibway Heritage (Johnston) and Reading Rock Art: Interpreting the Indian Rock Paintings of the Canadian Shield (Rajnovich) and through participation in Sweat Lodge, Pow Wow and Healing Circle ceremonies in the Ottawa valley.

NSEW was established by cross-referencing themes founds in the above resources and mapping them into a grid as four directions, four seasons, four stages of life and the daily procession of the sun as shown in table 1.












Old Age





Table 1: Matrix of directions, seasons, sun position and stages of life.

Through this matrix, I related the stages of our lives to our geography and climate, and then developed NSEW as a personal look at our circumstances both in a descriptive and interpretive sense. The Flash animations, streaming videos and new media installations present personal statements about our life as well as interpretations of these testimonies in terms of geographic and climatic points of reference.

NSEW is also an effort to show the relevance of Aboriginal Traditional Knowledge to our contemporary society. By popularizing the ancient themes, I am hoping to reframe our modern Canadian experience as part of a much older Aboriginal Culture and to offer the “old ways” as a solution to our ecological problems, by encouraging communities to find peace with their environment rather than destroy it.

The Circle

In North-South-East-West, the Flash animation, the interface is based on the circle, as in the sitting arrangements found in the sweat lodge and the healing circle ceremonies of the Anishinaabe Peoples. As shown below, the interface is ringed by 4 groups of links labeled within the categories “North,” “South,” “East” and “West.”


Hypnotic Environment of the Sweat Lodge

NSEW tries to recreate the hypnotic environment of the sweat lodge, by emulating the atmosphere of chanting and repetitive rhythms of rattles within the darkness of the lodge through the use of multiple video monitors and sound tracks within a darken gallery setting. The repetition of audio-visual themes on overlapping displays for the creation of an audio-visual space that engages the audience in a complex environment of sounds and images, in order to provoke a feeling of belongingness and inclusion, and a feeling of shared experience similar to the immersive interpersonal space of the healing circle.

North-South-East-West was in short designed to create a ceremonial experience that permitted self-reflection and examination of ones life stages and to explore our spiritual and psychological relations to the earth.



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