Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Eli Hirtle - March 2016 - Artist of the Month

I am a self-taught visual artist and storyteller of Cree and European ancestry, born and raised in Victoria on Lkwungen territory. My current interests are where art and activism intersect, and how communities and individuals can be transformed through creative acts of resistance, resurgence, and decolonization. Photography is my first passion, but I also work with documentary film, collage, and kinetic sculpture.

For years, using toy and antique cameras has been my way to explore the world around me, as a visual diary. Multiple exposures with film have helped me decipher and make sense of the many layers within myself and my environment. Whether it be the city or in natural settings, I see these overlapping images as representative of the various elements that simultaneously make up our contemporary landscapes, inner and outer. 


My curiosity surrounding consciousness has led me to make spinning sculptures called “dreamachines”, art objects designed to be viewed with the eyes closed, which trigger your alpha brain waves through a stroboscopic effect of flicker. Colors, patterns, and designs quickly appear to the viewer, unique to each person and completely interior, and a state of mind usually only accessible while in deep meditation is available at the flip of a switch.

More recently, my political and personal interests in Indigenous history, land-rights, and exploitation of lands by industry led me to make a documentary about the Unist'ot'en Camp on Wet'suwet'en territory in Northern BC titled Resist: The Unist'ot'en's Call to the Land. Films about the Burnaby Mountain protests of November 2014 and First Nations language revitalization on Vancouver Island are works in progress. 

In the future I plan on focusing my art practice on engaging the viewers and public in creative, interactive, and transformative ways wherever, whenever and however possible. Through different artistic mediums, I see endless possibilities of telling and creating stories.

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