Sky Hopinka (b. 1984)
Visions of an Island (2016)
Hopinka’s video is a meaningful introduction to the series, not least because of its poetic treatment of the relationship between geography, language, and culture. In the work, an Unangam Tunuu elder describes cliffs and summits, drifting birds, and deserted shores in the traditional language of his Aleutian ancestors. Intermixed throughout, a group of students and teachers play and invent games in efforts to revitalize their language, while a visitor wanders the landscape and chronicles both its earthly and its celestial qualities. Woven together to form a tapestry of different visions, these loosely constructed narratives offer glimpses of an island in the center of the Bering Sea, and of evolving relationships between the people, land, and sea.