historical accounts from a Native
viewpoint and for tracing lines forward from the actual present into
a fantastical future. In other words,
rather than remediating existing
mythology as we are doing with
Skins, Fragnito is creating a new
mythology, a new set of stories to
illustrate the values of an imagined
future Native culture.
Creating anew gives rise to a set
of design responsibilities different
than those of remediation. Whereas
in Skins we needed to be careful
about telling tales that community
members might consider unsuitable
those kinds of calls... Modern-day
storytellers, not specifically traditional storytellers, can adapt the
stories in such a way that while
they retain their underlying meanings, they are dressed in modified
clothing” [ 6].
Our work at Ab TeC attempts
to find a balance between
Delisle’s desire to see his stories
told through video games and
Benesiinaabandan’s caution about
the perils of simply treating those
stories as content, a resource to
be plundered when other inspiration fails. By moving along twin
paths—the careful partnering with
local communities to reimagine our
stories in the Skins workshops, and
the use of modern media technology to envision a new future for our
communities in the Time Traveller™
series—we hope that each will reinforce, inspire, and enrich the other.
And perhaps, five, 10, or 20 years
down the road, this approach will
have changed the world… at least a
for disseminating outside the com-
munity, or in remediating stories
in a way that some might consider
inappropriate, the Time Traveller™
series paints a picture that con-
sciously seeks to perturb accepted
history and disturb settler culture
notions of the modern Native. The
community for which Fragnito is
designing her stories is the entire
Aboriginal population of Turtle
Island, whose distinct nations,
despite vast differences in particu-
lar cultural details, all had a similar
experience of violent colonization
and are still looking for ways to
ameliorate the cultural disjunctions
and disruptions that followed.
1. Machinima = machine cinema, or the use of
virtual environments to “film” movies.
2. Montreal has four major universities, and there is
substantial grant money to be had if one is working
with Aboriginal communities.
3. Post-hoc it looks like a strategy; at the time, it
was simply trying to find any local optimal.
4. Turtle Island = a term for North America used by
the Haudenosaunee and other indigenous cultures.
5. Skins 1.0 interview, June 6, 2009.
6. Skins 2.0 interview, July 23, 2011.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jason Edward Lewis is a digital-
media poet, artist, and software
designer. He founded Obx
Laboratory for Experimental
Media ( www.obxlabs.net), where
he directs projects devising new
forms of digital text, developing systems for cre-
ative use of mobile technology, and using virtual
environments to assist Aboriginal communities in
communicating cultural histories. He is currently an
associate professor of computation arts at
Concordia University, Montreal.
March + April 2012
© 2012 ACM 1072-5220/12/03 $10.00