New Media

  • Ikiaqqijjut [Travelling through Layers]: A Field Guide to Infrastructural Literacy and Northern Connection
    Mark Bennett, Geronimo Inutiq & Rafico Ruiz

Michel Bussièrres, “Community in the Northwest Territories (Nunavut),” precise location unknown, ca. 1970s. Polaroid. Courtesy Geronimo Inutiq collection

Despite the 2019 launch of Telesat’s Telstar 19 satellite intended to expand broadband internet access, as well as the emergence of Starlink’s low-Earth orbiting satellite network, connection speeds across the Canadian territory of Nunavut continue to lag behind other communities, both in Canada and abroad. Nunavummiut (residents of Nunavut) experience amongst the lowest connection speeds in the circumpolar world. They inhabit the high cost, high latency side of the digital divide, and have made calls to remedy the unequal access they face in relation to southern digital realities due to this lack of infrastructural capacity. The field guide is a digital companion, created following a series of youth-focused workshops in Iqaluktuuttiaq, Nunavut, and with the intent of collaboratively telling infrastructural stories that document experiences of both digital delay and community connection in Iqaluktuuttiaq. Created in partnership with the workshop’s artist in residence,  the field guide forecasts alternative experiences of digital connection that look toward the decolonial futures suggested by community-defined initiatives and the potential of highspeed broadband access. This field guide redirects notions of “connection” through the eyes of youth in Iqaluktuuttiaq by drawing on sound recordings, photography, and other media created during the workshops.

Mark Bennett is a mixed-identity Inuk designer based in Toronto, originally from western Ktaqmkuk (Newfoundland), and a beneficiary of Nunatsiavut. Bennett considers his primary area of focus to be in graphic design collaborating with artists, galleries, and cultural organizations. His personal work is an exploratory process of architecture and graphic design in Indigenous futurism. Design projects include work with the Rhode Island School of Design Museum; National Gallery of Canada; Art Gallery of York University; Winnipeg Art Gallery/Qaumajuq; Gallery 44, Toronto; and the Inuit Art Foundation, Toronto.

With experience in electronic music production, performance, film, video, digital images, and multimedia installation, Geronimo Inutiq has performed and exhibited his music and artwork across the country in multiple installations and in prestigious venues. As a cultural worker he has participated in important social dialogues. Known notably amongst other things for his innovative work in remixing Inuktitut music, and for seminal film archive video remixes, Inutiq continues to offer a unique perspective through his creative pursuits. During a residency at SAW Nordic Lab (Ottawa) in 2020, Inutiq developed a project around the idea of a virtual radio station broadcasting a community radio show in three languages (English, French, and Inuktitut) to be presented as a multimedia installation. The concept of recreating the interior of a house in the North, with one or more “virtual windows” showing an Arctic scene and a radio station playing in the background, was developed with the support of an artistic exploration grant from the Canada Council for the Arts in 2021.

Rafico Ruiz is a settler (Northwestern Ontario/Ecuador) researcher and curator. His work addresses infrastructure building in the Arctic, post-global warming ice, and practices of settler accountability. Ruiz is the author of Slow Disturbance: Infrastructural Mediation on the Settler Colonial Resource Frontier, and the coeditor (with Melody Jue) of Saturation: An Elemental Politics, both published by Duke University Press (both 2021). He is also the associate director of research at the Canadian Centre for Architecture, where he cocurated with Joar Nango, Taqralik Partridge and Jocelyn Piirainen, ᐊᖏᕐᕋᒧᑦ / Ruovttu Guvlui / Towards Home (2022), an exhibition and publication project that sought to center a land-based architecture by and for Inuit and Sámi communities.