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Terril Calder’s Repercussions: Indigenizing the Civic Archive – Jessica Jacobson-Konefall


Metis artist Terril Calder’s stop-motion animation Repercussions treats the intersections between audiovisual literacy and civic culture in Canada through an Indigenous lens. In this vein, transnational literacies emerge through Calder’s work in her aesthetic surpassing of epistemic limits. Calder, using marionette puppets, portrays Indigenous figures interacting with psychic, archival, and material civic spaces. Repercussions treats these spaces in an audiovisual movement of Indigenous cultural resurgence—“enabling at once the epistemic limit of an existing set of conditions to become palpably perceptible, marked off in their historical particularity” (Chow 19), and surpassed. Within this general framing I am discussing jessicaRepercussions in terms of transnational literacy via three key themes: capture, captivation, and civic archive.

I am interested in how questions of transnational literacy intersect with ubiquitous image-capture and audiovisual captivation in the continuous reframing of the civic archive, and the making of new realities. My understanding of literacy has been vexed with the notion of interpretation figured as the demystifying of the given. This assumption of “giveness” across agonistic social histories and relationships attends practices and understandings of cross-cultural hermeneutics in potentially violent ways. In the context of Canada as a settler nation, and Indigenous decolonization, Indigenous artistic practices of image-capture and captivation together creatively contend with such practices and understandings. Calder’s work explores aesthetic civic consciousness focusing on the social geography of Canadian cities, the relationality of Indigenous peoples and settlers in Canadian cities, and Indigenous media aesthetics as practices of cultural resurgence in the settler city. Repercussions engages the practice of civic literacy in the domain of new media, supporting the emergence of a transnational civic archive, and enabling the productive reframing and resurgence of Indigenous epistemologies of civic space.

Works Cited

 Chow, Rey. “When Reflexivity Becomes Porn: Mutations of a Mondernist Theoretical Practice.” Entanglements, Or, Transmedial Thinking About Capture. Durham: Duke University Press, 2012. Print.

BIO: Jessica Jacobson-Konefall is a PhD Candidate in Cultural Studies at Queen’s University at Kingston, Canada. Her research focuses on how Indigenous new media art shapes and defies notions of identity and community in Canadian cities. She teaches in the English Department at the University of Winnipeg, and her work has been published in journals such as Extensions: The Online Journal of Embodiment and Technology and AlterNative: An International Journal of Indigenous Peoples. She has forthcoming book chapters in The Oxford Handbook of Screendance Studies and Transforming Our Practices: American Indian Art, Pedagogies, and Philosophies.

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