In this video, Hopinka draws from Bob Dylan’s song Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues (originally recorded in 1965) layering experiences that circle loss and longing between images of landscapes and movement. In the song by Dylan, the singer finds himself in a nightmarish vision: remorse, memory and exhaustion are woven through and around a journey through Juarez, Mexico. So too in this video are these stories woven around colonial discontent and uncertainty, as they move through an uneasy negotiation with the strangeness of the American pioneer spirit.
Sky Hopinka (Ho-Chunk Nation/Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians) was born and raised in Ferndale, Washington and spent a number of years in Palm Springs and Riverside, CA, Portland, OR, and Milwaukee, WI. In Portland, he studied and taught chinuk wawa, a language indigenous to the Lower Columbia River Basin. Through videos, photography and text, Hopinka’s work centres around the personal positions of Indigenous homeland, landscape and designs of language as containers of culture expressed through personal documentary and non-fictional forms of media. His work has been presented internationally at festivals including ImagineNATIVE Media + Arts Festival, Images, Wavelengths, Ann Arbor Film Festival, Sundance and Projections. He has participated in the 2016 Wisconsin Triennial, the 2017 Whitney Biennial and the 2018 FRONT Triennial. He was a guest curator at the 2019 Whitney Biennial and was a part of Cosmopolis #2 at the Centre Pompidou.