Unceded: Voices of the Land / Canada at the 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale

Unceded: Voices of the Land is Canada’s official entry to the 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale. The exhibition features 18 indigenous architects and designers. The show is led by architect Douglas J. Cardinal, best known for his designs of the Canadian Museum of History (Gatineau, Quebec) and the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian (Washington, D.C.), along with exhibition curators Gerald McMaster, Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Visual Culture and Curatorial Practice (OCAD University, Toronto, Ontario) and David Fortin, architect and Director of McEwen School of Architecture (Laurentian University, Sudbury, Ontario). They are joined by 16 contemporary Indigenous architects and designers from across Turtle Island (Canada/USA). Unceded showcases the tools, methods and world-views of of these architects. In this video, David Fortin talks about the concept of the exhibition and about what makes indigenous architecture unique.

The Turtle Island architects and designers in the exhibition are Tamarah Begay, Harriet Burdett-Moulton, K. Jake Chakasim, Chris Cornelius, Wanda Dalla Costa, Tammy Eagle Bull, Daniel J. Glenn, Ryan Gorrie, Raymond Charles Gosselin, Matthew Hickey, Brian Porter, Ouri Scott, Eladia Smoke, Patrick Stewart, David Thomas, and Alfred Waugh.

David Fortin was raised in the Canadian prairies. He is a Métis architect and academic with special interests in the relationship between design culture and Indigenous peoples, as well as speculative architecture, including Indigenous and non-Indigenous science fiction and the projected impacts of climate change. He has worked for a number of leading design firms in Calgary, gaining experience on projects of various scales. Since 2005, he has taught architecture in the UK, USA, and Canada, leading undergraduate and graduate courses in architectural design, and theory, and is currently completing a SSHRC funded research project exploring prairie Métis contributions to architectural thinking in Canada. He has taught design studios and courses working with various First Nations communities in Canada, the Northern Cheyenne in the USA, as well as Indigenous communities in rural Kenya. In all of these cases, design is explored in terms of its cultural relevance and long-term benefit to the community and how contemporary technologies and systems can further support this. David is a member of the Métis Nation of Ontario, the RAIC Indigenous Task Force and is the first Indigenous architect to become a director of a Canadian school of architecture.

Unceded: Voices of the Land / Canada at the 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale. Interview with curator David Fortin. Venice (Italy), May 24, 2018.

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