Matt Macintosh and Keesic Douglas
Pitching Tents in Terra Nullius, 2016
2 channel HD video installation
Music samples from Com Truise and Lena Platonos
> Riverside Park <
Taking the form of social science fiction, Pitching Tents in Terra Nullius imagines the fall of civilization and the near extinction of the planet─thirty years or so into a not-too-distant future. Pitching Tents in Terra Nullius looks to raw materials and basic conditions—of stories and of survival—to consider opportunities for meaningful exchange amid territorial disputes.
It is a guarded, questioning reference to terra nullius: free of the sovereignty of any nation and empty of most signs of life. A re-learning and survival process begins for the artists. One identifies with his cultural identity and grounds his sense of self in a notion of individuality and difference; the other seeks detachment from legible notions of a self in search of a pre-linguistic substrate of experiencing, a fundamental form of rediscovery. It is through this dialectic that their existence will develop and be redefined.
Terra Nullius is legal term expressed in Latin and taken from Roman law. It presupposes the concepts of land ownership and sovereign authority and approach to the acquisition and governance of territory. It has been used to describe the course of European settlement in North America. Douglas and Macintosh offer an allegory made from the signs, symbols and practices of camping. Camping is a traditional rite of passage for white, middle class families and a cause for bewilderment in First Nation peoples. The artists present a switch in the camping storyline, pushing it into the future to a benign end of civilization, where codes of history and sovereignty exist as trace elements and cultural projections.
Matt Macintosh is a Kamloops–based artist working with found images and objects, painting, video and sound. His work explores the effects of erasure, systematization and repetition on cultural canon materials as they relate to fundamental human experiences like the longing for emancipation. Currently Curator at the Kamloops Museum and Archives, he has exhibited in Canada and the US.
Keesic Douglas is an Ojibway artist from the Rama First Nation in central Ontario. His practice utilizes photography, video and performance focusing on themes of exploring history, identity, representation, and the environment from an Indigenous perspective. His work has been exhibited in solo exhibitions in Winnipeg and Toronto as well as group exhibitions in Prague, Mexico, Vancouver, Montreal and New York City.