e-oskâpêwisak: s/he are helpers (of the digital camp)

kîkwây ôma : about

  I am gaining affection for objects - especially ones that help me to communicate, store and recall vital data, help me to relay important information and don't weigh me down as I traverse this land now known as canada and beyond.
  As an aboriginal artist and musician whose contact information is available on many of the online projects I create, I frequently receive emails and even phone calls asking me if I know how to contact someone from the Aboriginal community. So when invited to create a new work for bentaerial that looks at "how technologies play out in everyday life, from a range of perspectives. The project will now be titled 'bent aerial' which I see as a kind of umbrella or container that could hold a range of material that questions or plays with ideas around technology."1, I was already conceiving how to create an up-to-date database that would track the current whereabouts of many of my nomadic indigenous relatives.
  I was already fond of the capability databases created from some of my previous projects : slangclaims, all my relations, indigenous world register and treatycard - in that they allowed users to add their information and create a presence for themselves on the world wide web. This fact for me has been particularly poignant as a means to counter the erasure of indigenous people due to the effects of colonization and the imperial order.
  Many of my friends, colleagues and relatives : all my relations, were constantly moving virtually, by changing phone numbers (via mobile carriers), moving from one email service to another (or creating multiples addresses) and having domain names and server spaces lapse. I thought if I could create a virtual camp and site, then this would allow users to drop in and visit while on their digital/electronic/cyberspace journeys and in doing so, keep their information up-to-date.
  The term 'e-oskâpêwisak' is my contribution to what is sometimes referred to as "sweetgrass cree2" where it isn't necessarily proper nêhiyawêwin : cree language, but an adaptation of meaning by interjecting another language into the mix. In this case, the 'e' is a play on the fact that in nêhiyawêwin it denotes that 'she' or 'he' is the subject being referred to; and in modern speak 'e' referring to something 'electronic'. The translations of the form fields are based on my ongoing discursive collaboration with Joseph Naytowhow (as part of a collective known as 'kiy' : the syllabics at the top of these pages). These pages exist on a server called 'sparror' : the mis-spelled burd, that resides at Cube Cinema Microplex in Bristol, UK.
  Though e-oskâpêwisak is only a sketch of an idea, my hope is to turn it into a fully functioning listserv or dedicated and dynamic net.art project3.

Cheryl L'Hirondelle | niya[at]ndnnrkey.net | www.ndnnrkey.net

1. excerpted from an invitational email from Joanne Bristol sent Wed, 18 May 2005 13:08:05 -0700
2. not meant or intended as a derogatory term and from ongoing conversations with Joseph Naytowhow. Can also be called 'pinehouse' cree or any location where the term originates from.
addendum (added May 2010)
3. since the creation of this project in 2005, subsequent projects have been created. See the toolbar below (akimêsow : add, and ayahcisîhtâw : update) for links to these projects.

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