Inuit Collections and the Virtual Platform for Indigenous Art - Brittany Bergin, Brendan Griebel and Gerald McMaster
9:00 AM, Thursday 3 Oct 2019 (30 minutes)
DoubleTree par Hilton Montréal - Soprano A (on Level 4)
The Wapatah Centre for Indigenous Visual Knowledge is dedicated to the research potential inherent through Indigenous ways of seeing. Wapatah highlights the theme of cultural entanglement, investigating how Indigenous artworks produced in historical and contemporary contact zones function as records of social and cultural dynamic. In 2018, we began an ambitious project to digitally showcase over 2000 such artworks identified within the collections of 90 global institutions. The result, called the Virtual Platform for Indigenous Art (VPIA), seeks to re-think the meaning of these artworks as sites of human entanglement. While providing detailed access to physically remote museum objects for source communities, the platform visualizes the social interactions that develop around these objects, and explores how these relationships impact their meaning and context. Using an iterative, wikistyle framework, the platform allows users to chart the transformation of object knowledge from an initial museum record, to a living document layered in textual, audio and graphic contributions by Indigenous and non-Indigenous artists, researchers and knowledge holders. This presentation will explore both the nature of Inuit objects being incorporated into the VPIA, and the associated challenges of Indigenizing the language, categorization and display of other institutions’ collections.