Chance Favors Those in Motion

in Transfers

I recently found a slip of paper I saved from a fortune cookie in my travel case with my passport that read, “Chance favors those in motion.” I wondered how many trips I had carried this silent wish around for as a reminder of personal agency. Items surface and reoccur in my work to be activated, reinvented, and coded. New memories are formed, interpreted in conversation with all my relations, the more-than-human, others, myself, and various locations. I believe in change and that the borders and boundaries that try to neatly contain and explain everything are not fixed but rather fluid in a constant system of interconnectedness. Like Brooklyn, the city where I now live, I too am comprised of a multiplicity of truths. If I keep moving, thinking, dreaming, and creating, to have mobility to not be stuck, I can imagine a future on my terms. The objects I create are a work of self-definition, and they carry hope into my life that crosses the social limits of gender, race, and class.

Figure 1
Figure 1

Waaschign. Digital photo mural. 12 feet long, digital banner, 2017. Photograph by Jason Lujan.

Waaschign is a word used for window from the Anishinaabe Nation language, my mother’s indigenous tongue. In this image, I copy, flip, slide, and paste to create a background that in sections mirrors itself to alter perception.

In this self-portrait, I hold a painting of water depicting Georigan Bay in the Muskoka, Parry Sound, region where I am from. The painting is by my mother, and on it, the water’s horizon matches to line up with the city’s. The image is recognizable as a Brooklyn rooftop at sunrise with the Freedom Tower, New York, in the background. Surrounded by cell phone/Internet transmitters, the human body becomes a beacon transmitting an intergenerational negotiation of space. The banner is waved, rolled, and folded in performance.

Citation: Transfers 7, 3; 10.3167/TRANS.2017.070310

Figure 2
Figure 2

All Is Moving, Black Ice and Shock and Awe. Performance, 30 minutes, 2013. Photograph by Jason Lujan. In conjunction with the exhibit Water and War at the Accola Griefen Gallery, by Jaune Quick-to-See Smith, one of the most acclaimed Native American artists.

I respond to six works in the exhibit using items carried and produced by me. Items include a gray bag for rolling in, five felt bundles containing jingle gloves, a set of seven black velvet circles, a silver Mylar survival blanket, a bag of candy, my signature wooden tokens, a “Manifest Destiny” T-shirt, and a bottle of water. The title is from a published poem by Quick-to-See Smith.

Citation: Transfers 7, 3; 10.3167/TRANS.2017.070310

Figure 3
Figure 3

Jingle Spiral. Movement photo study with hand-made object. 70 inches in diameter, cut circle. Industrial felt and tin jingles sewn in a spiral, 2015. Photographs by Maria Hupfield.

When not performed, this item is displayed as sculpture in a gallery hanging over a tube or draped over a stand in reference to the body. Closing a circle is a return to the point of departure. A spiral is never ending; it is always moving.

Citation: Transfers 7, 3; 10.3167/TRANS.2017.070310

Figure 4
Figure 4

The One Who Keeps on Giving. Commissioned installation with audio, north and south walls, 20 × 15 inches, 2017. Photograph by Henry Chan. Alternating video projection loop on facing walls. The video is one long shot with performers moving around the camera. South wall video is of a public performance at the second annual Gchi Dewin Indigenous Storytellers Festival, the Stocky Center, Parry Sound, and the north wall is a private performance shot on-site at the Power Plant in Toronto. Hand drum singing, grass dancing (a style of modern Native American pow wow dancing), a video filmmaker, and the felt Jingle Spiral on loan from the Gallery of Contemporary Art Montreal are seen in conversation around an oil seascape painting of Georgian Bay painted by Peggy Miller. Performers include Paul Cowen and my siblings Johna Hupfield, John Hupfield, Deanne Hupfield, and Maria Hupfield. The title of the exhibition and the new commission is an English translation of my mother’s Anishinaabe name. The One Who Keeps on Giving is a radical act of unity and visibility. Together we stand in solidarity to share the skills that we acquired as adults with each other and our community both locally and beyond.

Citation: Transfers 7, 3; 10.3167/TRANS.2017.070310

Figure 5
Figure 5

Resurgent Gallery Happening. Belkin Art Gallery, University of British Columbia, 2016. Photograph by the Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery.

Charlene Vickers and I have collaborated for the past ten years. We stand together in solidarity and nationhood as Anishinaabe sisters. We live in different cities on different coasts, so we must travel and create opportunities to create our work.

This ongoing commitment across distance and kinship ties has built a non-competitive system of support with a foundation in trust. When we perform together, I feel her strength and care. Our work is complementary. We use everyday contemporary materials to create and navigate unexpected visuals that reflect the absurd reality and complexity of the times.

Citation: Transfers 7, 3; 10.3167/TRANS.2017.070310

Figure 6
Figure 6

KA-POW! 10 × 18 × 18 inches, cedar and yellow paint, 2017. Photograph by Cheryl Sims. The word “KA-POW!” speaks the language of action, force, contact, movement, and sound. KA-POW! is comprised of two seated bench areas fixed among a grove of trees at Victoria Square park in Montreal, Canada. Referencing lightning bolts, geometric star blanket patterns, and cartoon action text bubbles, the benches are a radical act of unity to bring more integration of public spaces with the natural world. I created this site-specific commission to center trees as a dynamic life force and living beings to bring people together at a busy intersection. Public spaces create and enforce a hierarchy of colonial power dynamics with each other and connections with the natural world.

Citation: Transfers 7, 3; 10.3167/TRANS.2017.070310

Figure 7
Figure 7

Ahn Ahn Ahn Kaa Kaa Kaa (detail with Lila Tabobandung), 2013. Photograph by Henry Chan.

Wooden unfinished wall structure, mounted jingle mask, and looped video (9 minutes, 41 seconds) with sound of artist wearing an industrial felt balaclavastyle jingle mask nodding yes, yes, yes and no, no, no in forward and reverse.

Citation: Transfers 7, 3; 10.3167/TRANS.2017.070310

Figure 8
Figure 8

Artist Tour Guide, three 30-minute performances, 2013–2014. Photograph by Jason Lujan. Commissioned by the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian in New York. Three scheduled performances that respond to and intervene in the exhibition Before and After the Horizon: Anishinaabe Artists of the Great Lakes through sound and action lead by an artist from the show to assert a dynamic physical, living presence in the gallery. I guided three tours over the duration of this exhibit. This was a work in progress; each tour informed later ones, creating a living, ever evolving art experience that is the essence of this performance. For Artist Tour Guide, I created a set of objects that I wear, carry, and activate throughout the performance. In this image, I stand on a bench in front of a print by Carl Beam, A Self Portrait of the Artist in His Christian Dior Underwear, to assume the pose of the artist, look him in the eye, and walk up to read the handwritten text.

Citation: Transfers 7, 3; 10.3167/TRANS.2017.070310

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Contributor Notes

Maria Hupfield is a member of the Anishinaabe Nation at Wasauksing First Nation, Ontario, Canada. She has shown her work in several festivals and galleries in Canada. Her recent exhibition, The One Who Keeps on Giving, opened the thirtieth anniversary season of the Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery, Toronto, in partnership with Galerie de l’UQAM, Montréal, Mount Saint Vincent University Art Gallery, Halifax, and Canadian Cultural Centre. She is a recipient of the Joan Mitchell Foundation and co-organized Crossroads: Art + Native Feminisms for CAA 2017. She is the founder of 7th Generation Image Makers and Native Child and Family Services of Toronto, and co-owner with artist Jason Lujan of Native Art Department International. More information at http://www.nativeartdepartment.org. E-mail: mariahupfield@gmail.com

Transfers

Interdisciplinary Journal of Mobility Studies

  • View in gallery

    Waaschign. Digital photo mural. 12 feet long, digital banner, 2017. Photograph by Jason Lujan.

    Waaschign is a word used for window from the Anishinaabe Nation language, my mother’s indigenous tongue. In this image, I copy, flip, slide, and paste to create a background that in sections mirrors itself to alter perception.

    In this self-portrait, I hold a painting of water depicting Georigan Bay in the Muskoka, Parry Sound, region where I am from. The painting is by my mother, and on it, the water’s horizon matches to line up with the city’s. The image is recognizable as a Brooklyn rooftop at sunrise with the Freedom Tower, New York, in the background. Surrounded by cell phone/Internet transmitters, the human body becomes a beacon transmitting an intergenerational negotiation of space. The banner is waved, rolled, and folded in performance.

  • View in gallery

    All Is Moving, Black Ice and Shock and Awe. Performance, 30 minutes, 2013. Photograph by Jason Lujan. In conjunction with the exhibit Water and War at the Accola Griefen Gallery, by Jaune Quick-to-See Smith, one of the most acclaimed Native American artists.

    I respond to six works in the exhibit using items carried and produced by me. Items include a gray bag for rolling in, five felt bundles containing jingle gloves, a set of seven black velvet circles, a silver Mylar survival blanket, a bag of candy, my signature wooden tokens, a “Manifest Destiny” T-shirt, and a bottle of water. The title is from a published poem by Quick-to-See Smith.

  • View in gallery

    Jingle Spiral. Movement photo study with hand-made object. 70 inches in diameter, cut circle. Industrial felt and tin jingles sewn in a spiral, 2015. Photographs by Maria Hupfield.

    When not performed, this item is displayed as sculpture in a gallery hanging over a tube or draped over a stand in reference to the body. Closing a circle is a return to the point of departure. A spiral is never ending; it is always moving.

  • View in gallery

    The One Who Keeps on Giving. Commissioned installation with audio, north and south walls, 20 × 15 inches, 2017. Photograph by Henry Chan. Alternating video projection loop on facing walls. The video is one long shot with performers moving around the camera. South wall video is of a public performance at the second annual Gchi Dewin Indigenous Storytellers Festival, the Stocky Center, Parry Sound, and the north wall is a private performance shot on-site at the Power Plant in Toronto. Hand drum singing, grass dancing (a style of modern Native American pow wow dancing), a video filmmaker, and the felt Jingle Spiral on loan from the Gallery of Contemporary Art Montreal are seen in conversation around an oil seascape painting of Georgian Bay painted by Peggy Miller. Performers include Paul Cowen and my siblings Johna Hupfield, John Hupfield, Deanne Hupfield, and Maria Hupfield. The title of the exhibition and the new commission is an English translation of my mother’s Anishinaabe name. The One Who Keeps on Giving is a radical act of unity and visibility. Together we stand in solidarity to share the skills that we acquired as adults with each other and our community both locally and beyond.

  • View in gallery

    Resurgent Gallery Happening. Belkin Art Gallery, University of British Columbia, 2016. Photograph by the Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery.

    Charlene Vickers and I have collaborated for the past ten years. We stand together in solidarity and nationhood as Anishinaabe sisters. We live in different cities on different coasts, so we must travel and create opportunities to create our work.

    This ongoing commitment across distance and kinship ties has built a non-competitive system of support with a foundation in trust. When we perform together, I feel her strength and care. Our work is complementary. We use everyday contemporary materials to create and navigate unexpected visuals that reflect the absurd reality and complexity of the times.

  • View in gallery

    KA-POW! 10 × 18 × 18 inches, cedar and yellow paint, 2017. Photograph by Cheryl Sims. The word “KA-POW!” speaks the language of action, force, contact, movement, and sound. KA-POW! is comprised of two seated bench areas fixed among a grove of trees at Victoria Square park in Montreal, Canada. Referencing lightning bolts, geometric star blanket patterns, and cartoon action text bubbles, the benches are a radical act of unity to bring more integration of public spaces with the natural world. I created this site-specific commission to center trees as a dynamic life force and living beings to bring people together at a busy intersection. Public spaces create and enforce a hierarchy of colonial power dynamics with each other and connections with the natural world.

  • View in gallery

    Ahn Ahn Ahn Kaa Kaa Kaa (detail with Lila Tabobandung), 2013. Photograph by Henry Chan.

    Wooden unfinished wall structure, mounted jingle mask, and looped video (9 minutes, 41 seconds) with sound of artist wearing an industrial felt balaclavastyle jingle mask nodding yes, yes, yes and no, no, no in forward and reverse.

  • View in gallery

    Artist Tour Guide, three 30-minute performances, 2013–2014. Photograph by Jason Lujan. Commissioned by the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian in New York. Three scheduled performances that respond to and intervene in the exhibition Before and After the Horizon: Anishinaabe Artists of the Great Lakes through sound and action lead by an artist from the show to assert a dynamic physical, living presence in the gallery. I guided three tours over the duration of this exhibit. This was a work in progress; each tour informed later ones, creating a living, ever evolving art experience that is the essence of this performance. For Artist Tour Guide, I created a set of objects that I wear, carry, and activate throughout the performance. In this image, I stand on a bench in front of a print by Carl Beam, A Self Portrait of the Artist in His Christian Dior Underwear, to assume the pose of the artist, look him in the eye, and walk up to read the handwritten text.