SAW Video Ottawa Ontario, Metis Media Fest 2008

Metis Media Fest 2008, 110 short videos, 30 Aboriginal Artists,  20 video displays and 8 computers at SAW Video Media Arts Ottawa.

Pauline Brook on stage at Metis Media Fest 2008

The Metis Media Fest 2008 was exhibited at the SAW Video Media Arts Centre in Ottawa Canada on Sept 6&7, 2008. The project was a collaboration with 30 Aboriginal Artists from Ottawa. The multimedia event included 110 short videos, 20 video displays and 8 computers.

Excerpts of the video works were shown on the main screens with the unedited versions available on the computers within the installation. Videos included “Proud To Be Metis” commissioned for the project and sung in Michif by Raymon Girard, “Kevin Scofield”, “Paul Bruneau”, “Martin Dunn”, “Raymond Girard”, “Nathalie Coutou”, “Louise Vien”, “Willy Bruce”, “Jamie Koebel”, “John Maracle”, “Archie Martin”, and “Melody McKiver”.

A view of Metis Media Fest 2008 from a seated postion

What is the Métis Media Festival?

A media festival that seeks to answer the question, “What does it mean to be a Metis?”  The event was of interest to Aboriginal audiences and those seeking a technological experience – to participate in an immersive electronic installation. In 2008, the installation featured  local fiddle players, jiggers, sculptors, painters, elders, lodge keepers, and poets such as Raymond Girard, Kevin Scofield, Paul Bruneau, Martin Dunn, Nathalie Coutou, Jamie Koebel, Louise Vien, Willy Bruce, John Maracle, Archie Martin, and Melody McKiver.

Dancer Pauline Brook was featured in Metis Media Fest 2008

Inspired by a 300-year-old Métis settlement that became Manitoba, which involved the Cree, Scottish, Ojibway, French and Saulteaux, the installation celebrated a unique culture that was a hybrid of European and Aboriginal civilizations.  European technology was adapted to the Canadian wilderness, leading to new forms of transportation, hunting, clothing, music, dance, art, and spirituality. Examples of such adaptation include the York boat, the Red River cart, the Métis buffalo hunt, flower design leather clothing, Métis fiddle music, and Métis dance known as jigging.

Metis Artist Ross Rheaume as featured in Metis Media Fest 2008

In further keeping with Métis tradition, the 2008 installation incorporated the traditional use of the circle (in this case, a ring of video displays) found in Aboriginal ceremonies such as the sweat lodge and the talking circle. The mix of technology included DVD players, hypertext interfaces, microcomputers, and video projectors. The 2008 installation, which took place September 6 and 7 at the SAW Media Arts Centre of Ottawa, depended on volunteers from Francophone, Aboriginal, Pakistani, African and Yemeni communities. Asifa Akbar, a lawyer from South Africa, captured the feeling, “I think it’s great and so Canadian that we have people from such diverse backgrounds working on helping to preserve and promote one of the cultures unique to Canada, and that in effect spells out what it means to be Canadian.”

In October 2008, videos from the Métis Media Installation were presented with an artist’s talk at the International TV Festival Bar Montenegro. The presentation included videos The Algonquin Marriage, North-South-East-West, John Maracle, Willy Bruce, Raymond Girard and Paul Bruneau.

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