Skawennati is an artist who has been working in New Media since 1996, beginning with the pioneering on-line exhibition and chat space, CyberPowWow. Her artwork addresses history, the future, and change. Imagining Indians in the 25th Century; Thanksgiving Address: Greetings to the Technological World; and 80 Minutes, 80 Movies, 80s Music, have been widely exhibited. Her current production, TimeTraveller™, is a multi-platform project featuring a machinima series, website (www.TimeTravellerTM.com) and a few other fun spin-offs. Her awards include imagineNative’s 2010 Best New Media Award and a 2011 Eiteljorg Fellowship for Native American Fine Art. Skawennati currently co-directs, with Jason E. Lewis, Aboriginal Territories in Cyberspace (www.AbTeC.org) a research network of artists, academics and technologists who are exploring, creating and critiquing Aboriginal virtual environments.
Jason E. Lewis is Program Director and Associate Professor of Computation Arts at Concordia University. He is a digital media artist, writer and software designer. He founded Obx Laboratory for Experimental Media, where he directs research/creation projectsdevising new means of creating and reading digital texts, developing systems for creative use of mobile technology, designing alternative interfaces for live performance and using virtual environments to assist Aboriginal communities in preserving, interpreting and communicating cultural histories. He co-founded and co-directs the Aboriginal Territories in Cyberspace research network that is investigating how Aboriginal people can participate in the shaping of our digital media future, and co-directs Skins, a series of workshop on combining traditional stories from the Native community with video-game design. Otsi:!, the game created in the first Skins workshop, won the Best New Media Award at the imagineNative Film + Media Festival 2010. Lewis’ creative work has been featured at Ars Electronica, Mobilefest, Urban Screens, ISEA, SIGGRAPH, and FILE, among other venues, and his writing about new media has been presented in books, journals, conferences, festivals and exhibitions on four continents. Lewis is currently working on his third solo exhibition, to be held at Edward Day Gallery in Toronto in the fall of 2011. www.obxlabs.net
Owisokon P. Lahache
Having taught visual arts for 26 years at the Kahnawake Survival School and several art courses for McGill University’s Office of First Nations and Inuit Education, I have come to realize that our story must be created by us, no one can tell a story the way we can tell it ourselves. I create art that focuses on our stories and on our material culture using a wide variety of media. My art has exhibited worldwide; it is in several collections and in museums.
I am a deeply spiritual person and know the real power of my Haudenosaunee Heritage, of Ceremony, of our place within history; I believe my art is a window revealing who we are. “There is a sort of magic that happens when creativity, paint and culture meet. I paint to teach others about who we are, to tell our story, to create a path to follow, back toward the heart within the Tree of Peace.” It is important to tell our own story using new media and to open the window for others to see through; to keep our culture alive for our grandchildren and theirs too.
Scott Benesiinaabandan is an Anishinabe artist based in Winnipeg who works
in photography, printmaking and video, among other media. Scott recently
completed an international residency at Context Gallery in Derry, North of
Ireland (2010) and one in Oklahoma with photographer Rita Leistner (2009).
Benesiinaabandan has taken part in several group exhibitions across Canada
and in the United States, most notably in Subconscious City at the Winnipeg
Art Gallery in 2008, Harbourfont’s Flatter the Land/Bigger the Ruckus in 2006
and recently presented his first solo exhibition, unSacred, at Gallery 1C03 this past
Scott has extensive community development experience, working with Ndinawemaaganag
Safe Home for Youth, both as a long-standing board member and more recently as an arts instructor. Notably Scott worked with the Mamawi chi Itata Family Centre and National Aboriginal Healing Fund to create a national book on the 60’s Scoop entitled Book of Voices (2005). Scott has worked as a teaching assistant at both Children of the Earth High School and Niji Mukwa Elementary. Scott has also delivered pow wow dance instruction in the men’s traditional style and is active and knowledgeable in Anishinabe ceremonial/cultural
practices, including various traditional arts practices like beading and regalia making.
Since he was a wee lad, Scott has had a long-running fixation with technology/computer/gaming culture. Half-LIfe/Counterstrike// Tribe/Everquest/WOW/etc,etc have all been games that have been thoroughly explored, including some modding for some of them. An advanced user of Photoshop, he is equally comfortable with many other software including video/audio editing suites like Vegas Pro. He is a recent begun to learn programming.
Mathew McNeill belongs to the Canim Lake Band, and is of Secwepemc and English decent. He started a career in 3D animation by enrolling at Vancouver Film School for the Animation and Visual Effects Program in the year 2000. At VFS, class 25, he became their first student to complete a 30 to 45 second animated short entirely as one cut titled “Monkey Magic.” He then worked as an animator at Mainframe Entertainment producing footage for the TV series Heavygear. And after Mainframe he found work at Electronic Arts in the motion capture department working on such titles as Lord of the Rings and NHL 2004. After EA he studied video game engines and gained some experience modding video games in the unreal engine, with a focus on character modelling and animation. In 2007 he enrolled at UBC for their Multimedia Intensive Program and after graduation he found himself working at a small independent animation studio on the sunshine coast called Dreamberry. At Dreamberry Mathew had the great opportunity to learn production techniques that have enabled him to independently manage an animation pipeline between 3D software programs like Maya or Blender, and composting or video editing programs like Adobe After Effects and Final Cut Studio. After Dreamberry Mathew met Gary Oker and has been continuing his animation work and activities through Gary’s company Symbols Design. Producing a three minute animated short “Hero’s Journey” and developing a workshop series that teach fundamental production techniques that are practiced in the 3D animation industry. Mathew is also managing a personal side project with family where he is hosting a Voice over Internet Protocol Web Application that is intended to help people to practice speaking Indigenous languages online. Mathew hopes to produce some great and high quality animation throughout this year and into the next.
Darwin Frost grew up in New York City at the time Hip Hop music usurped mainstream music as the dominant sound in worldwide urban centers. At present he calls Vancouver his home as an Master’s candidate at Simon Fraser University’s School of Interactive Arts and Technology program located in Surrey BC. Drawing on a wide palette of influences ranging from Toru Takemitsu to John Zorn, he has been active in the arts as a composer for a multitude of award-winning films that have been featured at events such as the Sundance Film Festival. His evolution as a musician has led him to branch out and release his own music set aside from his work as a film composer, and a string of releases have followed since his 2010 debut album, Bananas.
Teyowisonte Thomas Deer
After graduating from the Illustration & Design Program at Dawson College in 2000, Thomas began working as a graphic artist at the Mohawk Language Curriculum Center in Kahnawake. During that time, Thomas underwent training as a comic book colorist and illustrator Dreamwave Productions in Toronto. In 2005, Thomas moved over to the Kanien’kehá:ka Onkwawén:na Raotitióhkwa Language and Cultural Center, once again working as a graphic artist in the development of culturally-based language curriculum. Since 2006, Thomas has been freelancing as a comic book colorist and illustrator for companies such as Fun Publications, Mega Bloks, and IDW Publishing – primarily working on Hasbro’s Transformers and G.I.Joe titles.
Beth Aileen Lameman is an Irish, Anishinaabe, and Métis writer whose work addresses Indigenous determination in media such as games, films, animation, and web comics. She is Ph.D. (ABD) in Interactive Arts and Technology at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, British Columbia. She is the writer of the alternate reality game for Skawennati Fragnito’s TimeTraveller™, which won Best New Media at imagineNATIVE 2009. Her web comic The West Was Lost (2008) was shown at imagineNATIVE 2010. She contributed writing and consultation for the transmedia property Animism (2011). She is also a member of the Aboriginal Territories in Cyberspace research network. Most recently, she is focusing on her dissertation, which looks at traditional Indigenous oral storytelling to inform the design of digital games.
Amanda is an interaction designer harboring a not-so-secret love for
qualitative data gathering and hardware hacking. Her interests lie in
tangible interaction, embodiment, DIY and craft, and mobile computing.
She received her Ph.D. in Information and Computer Science from UC
Irvine and holds a B.S. in Symbolic Systems from Stanford University.
Robert Brais was born and raised in Montreal where since the age of 4 he has known a love of drawing. The interest has taken him to Concordia University where he has completed his first year in the Computation Arts major. He dreams of art and technology which involve one in the world, rather than serve as a means of escape or distraction.
Nancy Elizabeth Townsend is, first and foremost, a geek. She loves playing and dissecting video games with the same careful and critical eye as a surgeon. Having graduated with as a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Computation Arts and an in-progress minor in Business Administration, she continues her work with the AbTeC team as a 3D artist and team coordinator.
Sahar Homami has been a research assistant at Obx Labs since May 2010. She received her B.F.A in Specialization in Computation Arts from Concordia University in June 2011. Prior to that, she was getting an Engineering degree in her hometown of Tehran, Iran, but she quit in the last year of her studies to pursue her wishes and desires. For several years, she has been specializing in 3D design and digital video creation. Her passion is everything about 3D, video games and animations. Currently, she is participating in a number of projects to create video games and digital videos, out of which one is the TimeTraveller™ machinima project at Obx labs.
Charlotte Fisher recently received a BFA from Concordia University, Specializing in Computation Arts and Minoring in Music. She comes from a traditional Fine Arts background, and has found her way onto a non-traditional path, leading her towards virtual worlds and video games. She is especially interested in closing the gap between the level at which we emotionally connect to film, and to games. In addition to the opportunity to teach at the Skins Summer Institute, working for Aboriginal Territories in Cyberspace has given her a taste of something entirely new to her, which involves a hybridization of those media: machinima.
Mohannad Al-Khatib [aka Psycho-Designs] is a passionate 3D and Digital Artist and a recent graduate of the Computation Arts program at Concordia University. Interested in complex character design and storytelling, he has worked at the Hexagram Concordia Research Institute as a 3D and VFX artist and teacher on various game related projects, such as: Skins, Fabulous, Otsi,TimeTraveller, and Victorianator. He is also an active member of Obx Labs, AbTeC, TAG, PlayPr, and CCGD.
Ramy Daghstani has completed his undergraduate degree in Computation Arts at Concordia University. He is currently working as a programmer for an internet solutions firm in Montreal and participates as an installation and games programmer for various artists and projects in montreal.
Chris Drogaris has completed a DEC in Computer Science and is currently studying in his third year at Concordia University in Computation Arts. His area of interests include web, programming, games, design, photography and video. Chris specializes in web development and is currently working for Obx Labs and freelancing under the company Diga Design.
www.chrisdrogaris.com | www.digadesign.com
Shawn Mullen is a musician, audio engineer and sound designer who grew up in rural Nova Scotia. Coming from musical roots, Shawn had his guitar in hand at an early age. In spring 2007, he received a Bachelor of Music degree from Halifax’s Dalhousie University; several months later he decided to move to Montreal in pursuit of further knowledge and a career in sound. After arriving in Montreal, Shawn poured his energy into building a loyal freelance clientele while completing the Audio Production program at Recording Arts Canada, from which he graduated at the top of the class. Shawn has provided audio solutions for film, music and video game production. On top of freelancing, Shawn currently heads the audio team at PSL Consulting and is a sound designer for AbTeC’s TimeTraveller™ series. For fun, he likes to record sounds for a personal sound bank, play guitar and be a giant nerd.
Tehoniehtathe Delisle graduated from Kahnawake Survival School and is currently a student at Champlain College St. Lambert, in the Film/Video/Communications program. He was involved in the first Skins workshop as Lead Designer, where the video game “Otsi: Rise of the Kanien’kehá:ka” was developed. He currently works at Obx Labs further developing “Otsi: Rise of the Kanien’kehá:ka”. Has experience with storytelling, video editing, many computer programs like Blender, UDK, Photoshop, Autodesk Maya, Unity, Final Cut, and iMovie.