The IntraNation project is an ongoing endeavour to investigate how nations exist within nations, socially, politically, metaphorically, and creatively. Manifestions of IntraNation include a symposium in 2002 at the Emily Carr Institute in Vancouver; a summer-long residency bringing 60 artists and cultural critics together in Banff in 2004; and a book-length publication by West Coast Line in 2006.
[animated video produced by Emily Carr media students as a promotion for IntraNation.]


The IntraNation Project: struggles, negotiations, conflicts in the arts

What will happen during this project?

The IntraNation Project is a combination of research and arts events that will culminate with the bringing together of artists, writers, and public intellectuals for a thematic residency at the Banff Centre in the spring/summer of 2004 (April 12-July 2). Associated events include a conference entitled "IntraNaton: race, politics, and canadian art" at the Emily Carr Institute of Art + Design (Vancouver) from Nov. 21-24, 200; symposia in Banff and Calgary during the course of the residency; and other related activities that might include a curated exhibition and/or a collection of essays from work generated at the residency.

What's the basis of the project?

While relations between distinct nation-states are still at the forefront of political discussions as we enter the 21st century, of growing concern and importance are the multiple and fractured forms of national relationships occurring within supposedly unified nations. Discussions of self-government, sovereignty, and separatism are at once giving rise to a sense of independence for subjugated groups while bringing into crisis the entire notion of the nation-state as a political jurisdiction governing one people with one voice. What was once summarily dismissed or contained as internal civil dispute has now reached critical proportions in that questions of the intranational nations within nations are being played out on international stages.

Such interrelationships are played out on two apparently distinct, but closely interlinked, stages: 1) the nation-within-nation fracturing of subjugated segments of the population, and 2) the transnational formation of oppositional communities, such as those who formed around recent international business gatherings in Seattle and Quebec City. Indeed, these contestations are visible through a transborder flow of not only economic and cultural capital, but socio-political tension, historical inequity, and, as has been so graphically demonstrated so recently, violence. The Intra-Nation Project will bring together a diverse group of intellectuals and artists to investigate how new ways of thinking and taking action are bringing fundamental changes to our society. Specifically, the project will address how: a) culture-based uses of new media at once reflect and are the catalyst of such changes; and, b) cultural research models such as ethnography and anthropology are grappling to take account of these processes and find its place in relation to them.

Who is involved?

While the individuals and organizations participating in this project will grow in a variety of directions, the initial research team consists of Ashok Mathur (Emily Carr Institute of Art + Design), Roy Miki (Simon Fraser University), Sara Diamond (Banff Centre), Brian Rusted (University of Calgary), and Tseen Khoo (University of Queensland). During the lead-up to the November, 2002 conference at ECIAD, several groups of art history and animation students at the institute will engage the issues as part of their term work. Student researchers will also be hired (through a Social Sciences for the Humanities Research Council research grant) to develop the models of the conference and the project. A senior level art history class at ECIAD will also work on the November conference.

IntraNation: race, politics, and canadian art

(conference at Emily Carr Institute of Art + Design, Nov. 21-24, 2002)
This gathering of artists from across Canada performed the dual purpose of showcasing/highlighting the artists' work and contextualizing contemporary arts practices in Canada in terms of race and politics. The emphasis on this gathering was on an exchange of ideas through formal presentations, informal discussions, and various book launches, performances, and screenings. A senior ECIAD art history class — Race and Identity Movements in Canadian Art — worked on projects leading up to and developing from the conference.

Participating artists:

Shirley Bear Multi-media artist, storyteller, feminist and political activist Shirley Bear was born on the Negootkook First Nation Community. Her work has been widely exhibited across North America. The many honours she has received include the Excellence in the Arts Award in 2002 from the New Brunswick Arts Board, the 1997 Lansdowne Fellowship from the University of Victoria, and a Ford Foundation fellowship in 1969. Bear was one of a small group of women on the Tobique Reserve who led the struggle to amend sexual discrimination in the Indian Act.

Rebecca Belmore's multi-disciplinary practice includes performances, installations, and objects. Two common strands throughout much of her work are her belief in the critical importance of the political struggle over aboriginal land, and her inclusion of other people's voices, perspectives, and experiences in her work.

Chris Creighton-Kelly is an interdisciplinary artist and writer whose work has been shown across Canada, in India, Europe and the U.S. He was born in the U.K. of South Asian-British heritage and is currently based on Vancouver Island. He appreciates his audiences a lot.

Kirsten Forkert is an artist working in installation, performance and text. She has presented her work across Canada. Upcoming projects include a series of spontaneous performances in public spaces. She currently teaches at ECIAD.

Richard Fung is a Toronto-based video artist and writer whose tapes have been widely screened and collected internationally, and whose essays have been published in many journals and anthologies. He is the co-author (with Monika Kin Gagnon) of 13: Conversations about Art and Cultural Race Politics. Among other awards, he received the 2000 Bell Canada Award for outstanding achievement in video art. He coordinates the Centre for Media and Culture at OISE/UT.

Hiromi Goto's first novel, Chorus of Mushrooms, received the Commonwealth Writer's Prize for Best First Book in the Canada and Caribbean Region and was co-winner of the Canada Japan Book Award. She is also the author of The Kappa Child and The Water of Possibility. She is a mother and has recently moved from Calgary to Burnaby.

Sylvia Hamilton is a Nova Scotian filmmaker and writer. Her first film, Black Mother Black Daughter, has been seen in over forty film festivals throughout North America and Europe and has been widely televised in Canada. Her first film, Black Mother Black Daughter, has been seen in over forty film festivals throughout North America and Europe. Speak It! From the Heart of Black Nova Scotia received both the 1994 Maeda Prize awarded by the NHK-Japan Broadcasting Corporation, and a 1994 Gemini Award. Her writing has appeared in a number of Canadian anthologies.Her most recent film is Portia White: Think On Me. She currently holds Nancy's Chair in Women's Studies at Mount Saint Vincent University in Halifax.

Marwan Hassan is a novelist, a critic, and an intellectual. Cormorant Books has published his two novels, The Confusion of Stones: Two Novellas (1989) and The Memory Garden of Miguel Carranza.

Larissa Lai is the author of two novels, Salt Fish Girl and When Fox Is a Thousand. She was born in La Jolla, California, grew up in Newfoundland, and lived for many years in Vancouver. She is currently working on a PhD at the University of Calgary.

Laiwan was founder of the Or Gallery in 1983, and is a writer and interdisciplinary artist who has been researching the epistemological shift found in digital technologies and the disappearance of older cultures. Laiwan was born in Zimbabwe of Chinese parents.

Karin Lee is a fourth-generation Canadian whose stories are about the effects of global displacement and the Chinese Diaspora in North America. Her films include My Sweet Peony, Songs of the Phoenix, Canadian Steel Chinese Grit, and Made in China - the Story of Adopted Chinese Children in Canada (2000). Currently, Ms. Lee is completing Sunflower Children and writing two feature-length film scripts, Diamond Grill, based on the book by Fred Wah, and Mah Bing Kee, a courtroom drama based on the life of her great-grandfather.

Scott Toguri McFarlane is a Montreal-based writer, editor, and manager of the Pomelo Project, a production house for the arts dedicated to cultural politics. He is currently working on a book manuscript entitled, On and On: The Exciting Promises and Phenomenal Boredom of Biotechnology.

Roy Miki is a poet, critic, teacher, and editor. His books include Broken Entries: Race Subjectivity Writing, Random Access File, Saving Face: Poems Selected 1976-1988, and Justice in Our Time: The Japanese Canadian Redress Settlement (with Cassandra Kobayashi). His recent book of poems, Surrender, won the 2002 Governor General's Award for poetry.

Cindy Mochizuki was born and raised in Vancouver, B.C. She is a visual artist working with ideas of language, history, the body and social spaces within the mediums of video, installation, and performance. She is currently working on a piece that involves ideas of kanashibari and haunted language.

Baco Ohama still considers herself a prairie farm kid although she now lives on the west coast. Her grounding comes not only from the prairies and her family but also from the years she lived in Quebec … from pondering over the relationships between language and location, history and memory, partial tellings and tastes that linger. She is a visual artist, writer, and educator who works on installations, page and bookworks, collaborations and community based projects often simultaneously. One who seems indelibly linked to water and the colour red.

Sharron Proulx-Turner is a Métis writer who holds a Masters in English, Feminist Bio-theory, from the University of Calgary. She has taught writing and literature at Old Sun College and Mount Royal College in Alberta. Her previously published memoir of ritual abuse, written under a pseudonym, was short-listed for the Edna Staebler Award for Creative Non-Fiction. what the auntys say is her first book of poetry, and the culmination of years of rumination on her roots and on the power of language.

Jayce Salloum has been working in installation, photography, mixed and new media and video since 1975, as well as curating exhibitions, conducting workshops and coordinating cultural events. After 22 years living and working in San Francisco, Banff, Toronto, San Diego, Beirut, and New York, he now lives/works out of Vancouver.

tjsnow is a First Nations poet, intellectual and installation/performance artist. He has curated exhibitions with the Royal Ontario Museum, conducted workshops on cultural awareness, worked as a professor and coordinated community cultural events. A former federal government communications manager, he is completing a historical review governance tactics and political insurgency in First Nations-Canadian relations. He lives/works out of Calgary.

Adrian Stimson is now a painting major at the Alberta College of Art and Design, after serving eight years as Tribal Councilor for the Siksika Nation. He has served as President for the Ottawa-based First Nations Confederacy of Cultural Education Centers, and is on the board of the Alberta Human Rights, Citizenship, and Multiculturalism Education Fund Advisory Committee, AIDS Calgary, and the Calgary Aboriginal Arts Awareness Society. He is currently the featured artist in the Nitsitapiisinni: Our Way of Life exhibit at the Glenbow Museum as well as part of a group show called 5 degrees at the Art Gallery of Calgary.

Loretta Todd, a Cree/Metis active in developing Aboriginal media through her company Eagle Eye Films, is on a mission to de-colonize and reclaim the screen for Native stories. Her films include Forgotten Warriors, Hands of History, The Learning Path and Today is a Good Day: Remembering Chief Dan George. She has received the Mountain Award at the Taos Talking Pictures Festival, two Best Documentary Awards at the American Indian Film Festival in San Francisco, and a Rockefeller Fellowship to New York University, among her many honours. She was recently in Paris developing her feature film, WarSong.

Henry Tsang is an artist and occasional curator who works in installation, video, performance, and photo-based installation; he participated in On Location: Public Art for the New Millenium at the Vancouver Art Gallery, and The Mount Pleasant Golf and Country Club, organized by the group Collective Echoes. He has curated projects such as SELF NOT WHOLE: Cultural Identity and Chinese-Canadian Artists in Vancouver, RACY SEXY, and CITY AT THE END OF TIME: Hong Kong 1997. In 1997, he completed a permanent public artwork, "Welcome to the Land of Light," in downtown Vancouver.

Fred Wah is a Governor General's Award recipient (poetry) and author of many published works including the award-winning biofiction Diamond Grill. Involved in publishing and teaching internationally in poetry and poetics since the early 1960's, he is currently professor of English and Creative Writing at the University of Calgary.

Paul Wong is a founding director of Video In Studio and On Edge Productions, and an interdisciplinary and multimedia artist well known for his video projects dealing with issues of race, sexuality, and identity.

Jim Wong-Chu has worked as a comunity organizer, historian, and radio broadcaster. He is a founding member of the Asian Canadian Writers' Workshop, as well as being a full-time letter carrier for Canada Post. His book of poetry Chinatown Ghosts was published in 1986, and he has coedited the anthologies, Many-Mouthed Birds and Swallowing Clouds.

Kira Wu is a visual artist and videographer who works in both visual arts, and film and video communities in Vancouver. Wu teaches at Kwantlen University College, Surrey, BC.

Jin-me Yoon is a video and photo-based artist whose work critically and ironically questions the sytems of representation which reflect, conflict with and affect identity. She teaches at Simon Fraser University.