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Visions of an Island: Video Works by Sky Hopinka

February 25, 2017 @ 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm

Sky Hopinka is a Ho-Chunk Nation national and descendent of the Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians, currently based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. His moving image work centers around personal positions of homeland and landscape, designs of language and the facets of culture contained within. To celebrate the conclusion of VSW’s LAND FORM exhibit, Hopinka will present a series of ethno-poetic video works that challenge the idea of landscape, language and personal history.
Introductory remarks by Almudena Escobar Lopez, PhD student in the Visual and Cultural Studies program at University of Rochester.

Artist in attendance
$5 Suggested Donation

Visions of an Island
2016, 15 min, digital video, sound
An Unangam Tunuu elder describes cliffs and summits, drifting birds, and deserted shores. A group of students and teachers play and invent games revitalizing their language. A visitor wanders in a quixotic chronicling of earthly and supernal terrain. These visions offer glimpses of an island in the center of the Bering Sea.

2014, 6 min, digital video, sound
Featuring speakers of Chinuk Wawa, a Native American language from the Pacific Northwest, Wawa begins slowly, patterning various forms of documentary and ethnography. Quickly, the patterns tangle and become confused and commingled, while translating and transmuting ideas of cultural identity, language, and history.

Kunįkaga Remembers Red Banks, Kunįkaga Remembers the Welcome Song
2014, 10 min, digital video, sound
The video traverses the history and the memory of a place shared by both the Hočąk and the settler. Red Banks, a pre-contact Hočąk village site near present day Green Bay, WI was also the site of Jean Nicolet’s landing, who in 1634 was the first European in present day Wisconsin. Images and text are used to explore this space alongside my grandmother’s recollections. Each serve as representations of personal and shared memory, as well as representations of practices and processes of rememberance, from the Hočąk creation story to Jean Nicolet’s landing, to the present.

Venite et Loquamur (Come All and Let Us Speak)
2015, 12 min, digital video, sound
Vidit homines inter se loquentes linguā, quam alii mortuam esse dicunt. Sed adhuc secum loquuntur. Eos secuti sum et mecum locuti sunt. Omnes de cubiculo tecti alti deciderunt, fortasse videre ad caelum res reponet.

Jáaji Approx.
2015, 8 min, digital video, sound
Logging and approximating a relationship between audio recordings of my father and videos gathered of the landscapes we have both separately traversed. The initial distance between the logger and the recordings, of recollections and of songs, new and traditional, narrows while the images become an expanding semblance of filial affect. Jáaji is a near translation for directly addressing a father in the Hočak language.

Anti-Objects, or Space Without Path or Boundary
2016, 13 min, digital video, sound
“The individual is not an autonomous, solitary object but a thing of uncertain extent, with ambiguous boundaries. So too is matter, which loses much of its allure the moment it is reduced to an object, shorn of its viscosity, pressure and density. Both subject and matter resist their reduction into objects. Everything is interconnected and intertwined.” —– Kengo Kuma

The title of this video, taken from the texts of the architect Kengo Kuma, suggests a way of looking at everything as “interconnected and intertwined”, as are the historical and the present, the tool and the artifact. Images and representations of two structures in the Portland Metropolitan Area that have direct and complicated connections to the Chinookan people who inhabit(ed) the land are woven with audio tapes of one of the last speakers of chinuk wawa, the Chinookan creole, chinuk wawa. These localities of matter resist their reduction into objects, and call anew for space and time given to wandering as a deliberate act and the empowerment of shared utility.

I’ll Remember You as You Were, Not as What You’ll Become
2016, 13 min, digital video, sound
An elegy to Diane Burns on the shapes of mortality, and being, and the forms the transcendent spirit takes while descending upon landscapes of life and death. A place for new mythologies to syncopate with deterritorialized movement and song, reifying old routes of reincarnation. Where resignation gives hope for another opportunity, another form, for a return to the vicissitudes of the living and all their refractions.

“I’m from Oklahoma I ain’t got no one to call my own.
If you will be my honey, I will be your sugar pie way hi ya
way ya hi ya way ya hi yo”
– Diane Burns (1957-2006)


February 25, 2017
8:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Event Category:


Visual Studies Workshop
31 Prince Street
Rochester, NY 14607 United States


Visual Studies Workshop
(585) 442-1992