Seeds of a Future World: Science and Technology in the Digital Art of Elizabeth LaPensée

Kristina Baudemann

Abstract


This article examines how the decolonial practice of digital artist Elizabeth LaPensée deals with colonial representations of science and technology. In colonial images, the ideological prejudice that Indigenous people belong in the past and are incapable of a future of higher sciences manifests itself in a pervasive visual language. The colonial imagery that pitches developed versus primitive technology is frequently reproduced in contemporary representations. Creating art that takes into account her Anishinaabe and Métis worldviews, LaPensée challenges these racist notions and dismantles the colonial structures at their roots. This article reads LaPensée’s digital works alongside the artist’s own comments as depictions of Indigenous scientific literacies that do not rely on colonial symbolism. By telling stories about sustainable futures with a recurrent imagery, LaPensée offers viewers a representational, anti-colonial language with which these futures can be imagined.

Keywords


science; technology; biskaabiiyang; Indigenous futurisms; science fiction; visual art; Native American art; sovereignty; decolonization; future

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