Multimedia artist, Sky Hopinka, explores themes of culture and homeland as he reflects on the complexity of Indigenous identity. As a member of the Ho-Chunk Nation of Wisconsin and the Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians, Hopinka layers memory, language, myth, and longing in two experimental films – When you're lost in the rain and Fainting Spells.
Fainting Spells is an imagined myth for the Xąwįska (or Indian Pipe), a medicinal plant used by the Ho-Chunk to revive those who have fainted. In this film, Hopinka interweaves recollections of youth, learning, lore, and departure. Drawing from Bob Dylan's 1965 song "Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues," the artist’s film, When you're lost in the rain, conveys experiences of loss and yearning overlaid by fleeting impressions of the landscape. Both short films include the nearly extinct Indigenous language, Chinuk Wawa, which when combined with Hopinka’s dreamlike imagery results in a poetic, meditation on the uncertainty and strangeness of American colonialism from an Indigenous perspective.
images 1, 3: Sky Hopinka, Fainting Spells, 2018, film still
image 2: Sky Hopinka, When you're lost in the rain, film still
When you're lost in the rain was commissioned by Brianna Matzke for The Response Project, 2018. When you're lost in the rain and Fainting Spells are Courtesy of Video Data Bank, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Artist.
Image copyright of the Artist, courtesy of Video Data Bank, School of the Art Institute of Chicago
Sky Hopinka: Fainting Spells is sponsored in part by The Maslow Family Foundation and Leunig's Bistro & Café. Hospitality sponsors, Lake Champlain Chocolates, Farrell Distributing, and Prophecy Wines.
Burlington City Arts is supported in part by the New England Foundation for the Arts through the New England Arts Resilience Fund, part of the United States Regional Arts Resilience Fund, an initiative of the U.S. Regional Arts Organizations and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, with major funding from the federal CARES Act and the American Rescue Plan Act from the National Endowment for the Arts, and by The Vermont Arts Council & the National Endowment for the Arts.