Indigenous culture and media arts in Kelowna

Posted by in Dispatches

The last few days at the Independent Media Arts Alliance (IMAA) Conference and Festival in Kelowna have been amazing. Rob and I have met so many incredible artists and media arts people that I’m wondering how I could have been floating around in the media arts for so long without joining this national organization. This edition of the conference is featuring indigenous culture and panels have tackled everything from intellectual property with aboriginal knowledge to First Nations communities and connectivity (or lack of: in BC there are 119 out of 202 nations without non-dial-up internet services). There have been screenings, fundraising workshops, art openings, local wine and beer tasting, roundtables, and sushi in the park.

I’ll find more time to write more reflections on this conference after it ends on Saturday as I make my way home to Montreal. For now, I have to say that one moment in particular I will always remember: in one room of the art gallery hosting part of the conference many delegates crowded around a TV to watch the apology by Stephen Harper. I only stayed for five minutes because our workshop had begun, but feeling the energy of that room–in which the majority were aboriginal–was like experiencing an electricity field. Later one delegate described the feeling as a group hug and another said he felt as though he needed as shower after watching such a hollow, emotionless “admission” from the PM. I feel fortunate to have been here when the event took place.

The photo above is a shot of Vancouver daily paper boxes from just under a week ago. I thought it was interesting to illustrate just how diverse corporate media is: all three publications in the city decided the top story of the day, better than ALL other stories, was about a woman who gave birth on an overpass. Anyone out there still arguing corporate media is diverse?