Rooftop Cinema kicks off its season with a richly varied exploration of indigenous identity. Info/tix
The 2019 season of MMOCA's Rooftop Cinema program kicks off with the experimental short films from Sky Hopinka. Each of the three selections at this screening deal explicitly with the political and cultural complexities of being an indigenous person in the United States. Hopinka, a member of the Ho-Chunk Nation and descendant of the Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians, fluidly pulls together a formidable array of visual and audio techniques, and a number of different approaches to storytelling and structure. I’ll Remember You as You Were, Not As What You’ll Become (2016) honors the late poet Diane Burns through radiant footage of a powwow, selections of text, and video of Burns performing her work. Dislocation Blues (2017) examines the protests at Standing Rock through interviews with two people who participated in them, exploring not just environmental and indigenous resistance, but also the ways in which the experience shaped people on a deeply personal level. The most recent of the three films, Fainting Spells, also uses some of the program's boldest imagery, as strands of handwritten text course across saturated, multi-layered landscapes.
The screening wraps up a busy evening at MMOCA. From 6 to 9 p.m., the museum will celebrate the opening of Choctaw-Cherokee artist Jeffrey Gibson's new exhibition, Like A Hammer. Like Hopinka, Gibson explores his indigenous heritage with a whole variety of media and with an ability to tamp into incredibly complex themes. In Gibson's case, the art on display will range from paintings to punching bags. He'll be at MMOCA in person for a talk about his art. The opening will also feature music and dance from Tribalized Entertainment and, later, a set from Madison power-pop outfit Bing Bong. —Scott Gordon