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Kinetographer Mola Dudad I

Kinetographer Mola Dudad I
Robert Gill Theatre
Time: May 2nd, 7:00 pm End: May 2nd, 9:00 pm
Interest Categories: Women & Gender Studies (FAS), United States Studies, Linguistics (FAS), Language Studies (UTM), Indigenous, English and Drama (UTM), English (UTSC), English (FAS), Education, Drama, Theatre, Performance Studies (FAS), Comparative Literature (FAS), Communication, Culture, Information and Technology (UTM), Cinema, Canada, Anthropology (UTM), Anthropology (FAS), 2000-
Lecture by Brenda Farnell

The Jackman Humanities Institute Program for the Arts is pleased to present:

Kinetographer Mola Dudad: From Page to Stage and Back Again

Event I: Public Lecture

Writing the Indigenous Body, Space, and Landscape in North America

Abstract:  Academia frequently classifies Indigenous ways of knowing and recording as 'prehistoric' and 'non-literate' (or illiterate) because they fall outside of Western definitions of what counts as 'writing'.  This effectively de-legitimizes Indigenous knowledge systems as primitive and their histories as unworthy of serious consideration because they are without written documentary evidence.  Using her ethnographic research on Plains Indian Sign Language and pictographic writing among the Nakota, Crow, and Kiowa peoples of the Plains region in the US, Dr. Farnell argues that, on the contrary, such knowledge has frequently been recorded, but in ways that elude Western epistomologies.  Investigators have failed to recognize that crucial to understanding is knowledge of Indigenous concepts of the moving body in space, and their intimate connections to landscape.

Chocolate Woman Dreams the Milky Way is one of the  most important contemporary Native theatre projects to emerge in recent years.  Its creation rests upon a decade of investigation into Native performance culture out of which its creators have established a solid framework of decolonizing methodologies, which can be realized in a repeatable series of practical steps to create efficacious and affective works that are informed by the traditions and aesthetic principles of the communities for which they have been created.

Dr. Brenda Farnell (Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of Illinois) specializes in Native languages, the anthropology of movement, Laban and Laban notation.  In 2009 she published Do You See What I Mean?: Plains Indian Sign Talk and the Embodiment of Action, for which she has adapted the system of Laban notation to document the storytelling performanes of the Nakota people.  As fluent sign-talkers are becoming increasingly rare in Plains communities, this book has become an invaluable community resource.  Building on this work, Dr. Farnell has become Chocolate Woman's official "Kinetographer Mola Dudad": she records the movement of the living mola.

This lecture will be a public demonstration on Laban notation, Farnell's adaptation of it to record Plains Indian sign talk, and the application of this work to the tasks of acquiring and preserving Native languages.

There will also be a workshop on Tuesday 3 May at the Robert Gill Theatre at 7 p.m., and a Moving Lab on Monday 9 May from 5-8 p.m.

All events are free; registration is required for the workshops but not for the lecture.

These events are sponsored by:

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Download description [pdf]

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