Land Is Body is a performance art video that explores identity, cultural erasure, the colonized body and the impacts of urban development. In Mi’kmaq worldview, Msit No’kmaq translates to all my relations, which acknowledges our connection to all things around us. Thus, the distinction between how we care for the land is interrelated with how our bodies are cared for. As resource extraction, land dispossession, and environmental racism continue to impose upon the sovereignty of First Peoples at exacerbating rates, Land Is Body contends with the feelings of violence on the land as though it were happening to the self.
The displacement and dislocation of FNMI people from their traditional lands is in direct violation of the treaties that uphold the state of Canada. Urban expansion further catalyzes the experiences of structural oppression within capitalist government systems. This video is a digital composite of found footage, an original digital animation and a video of myself performing the act of “erasing myself from the landscape” using green screen key effects in an editing program. As the video progresses, my body disappears into a time lapse of a high rise development being built in downtown Toronto, Ontario, juxtaposed over opaque pink tetrahedron forms.
Using invisibility as a method of personal protection against experiences of cultural and social assimilation as an urban-indigenous person, blending into ambiguity becomes a survival strategy to eliminate structural inequities and racial targeting. This work tackles issues regarding my identity, gender and the discrimination faced on a regular basis in a society that excludes such voices.
Consent is given and not taken. Existing outside of the landscape via ritual is a way that I reclaim agency over my body, resisting systems of power whose aim is to erase me.