World MasterCard Fashion Week isn’t the only awesome cultural event going on right now. imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival, the world’s largest Indigenous festival showcasing innovation in film, video, radio, and new media, kicks off today. From October 22 to 26, the event showcases some of the most groundbreaking and innovative works from both Canadian and international artists from the world’s Indigenous nations.
While we’re psyched to check out the 15th edition of the annual festival as a whole, including the event’s free Art Crawl, we’re looking forward to the NFB/ imagineNATIVE Digital Partnership’s third interactive incarnation, Ice Fishing, by Newfoundland artist Jordan Bennett. With the main exhibition taking place at Trinity Square Video — and satellite elements at the TIFF Bell Lightbox and 401 Richmond lobby spaces — Ice Fishing opens today at Trinity Square Video and promises to bring the ice fishing experience in rural Newfoundland to an urban gallery environment. We caught up with Bennett to find out more…
Tell us a bit about yourself. What should people know?
I’m a multi-disciplinary visual artist from the west coast of Newfoundland. I’m of mixed French & Mi’kmaw descent. I work around the ideas of tradition, cultural knowledge, and technology.
In your opinion, what makes imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival such a special event, and what should people check out this year?
The festival is truly one of a kind. It brings together so many varieties of media that express Indigenous voices across North America, and extends to our relatives in Australia, New Zealand, and other places in the world. It’s given me so many opportunities to explore my identity, new types of media, and has allowed me to combine my stories and artistic perspective.
It’s a huge accomplishment for the biggest, baddest, brightest Indigenous media arts festival to reach 15 years. It’s given us 15 years of inspiration. There are so many established filmmakers who started making films because of ImagineNATIVE. It’s a great opportunity for a lot of emerging artists to exhibit their work and share their communities through visual means.
Even though film and video are the main focus — don’t forget to check out all the visual art exhibitions programmed throughout the festival.
Tell us about your interactive installation, Ice Fishing. What is it exactly and what makes it interactive?
It’s an installation produced in collaboration with the National Film Board of Canada’s Digital Studio. It consists of multiple components, including a large immersive projection, and a 10-minute video that highlights my family’s tradition of ice fishing. This is something I grew up with. I feel a lot of the skills and processes I have today are rooted in experiences like ice fishing. Other components of the installation are ice fishing holes drilled into the gallery floor that are interactive in that they detect your presence, and when you approach them you trigger an audio story. There’s also an ice fishing shack that I built with my father.
What are the biggest challenges and best rewards about what you do?
The biggest challenges right now are creating all the works that I want to create. I have a tonne of ideas in my head, and jotted down in my sketch books, just ready to go. The best rewards to being an artist are having a partner (Amy Malbeuf) who understands me and also has a very active artistic career. It’s great getting the opportunity to travel and exhibit with her.
What are three things you can’t live without?
My wife, my cat, my music.
Who are some of the most inspiring artists from any medium to you?
James Luna, Busta Rhymes, Guy Ritchie.
What’s your favourite restaurant and why?
My favourite restaurant is Newfound Sushi in Corner Brook, Nfld. Because not only does my friend Kev own it — but it is the best sushi I have ever tasted. Good job, Kev Vincent!