Oct 10, 2023

imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival returns

The festival is hosting a tour of Indigenous art, featuring a performance by TechnoTihuacan at the AGO

An image of a purple hand, the reflection of the hand ripples below it

Photo © Jesse King, imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival

Creating this year’s festival around the theme “homecoming,” the imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival returns to Toronto this month with a line-up of films spanning 74 Indigenous Nations and 40 Indigenous languages – making it the world's largest Indigenous festival of its kind.  

Taking place from October 17 to 22 in Toronto and from October 23 to 29 online, imagineNATIVE is showing 14 feature films and 70 short films grouped thematically into 11 short-film programs, opening the festival with Fancy Dance by director Erica Tremblay. 

Highlighting Indigenous artists of all mediums, imagineNATIVE is also hosting its annual Art Crawl, which began unofficially in the early 2000s and became an official festival staple in 2012. Taking place on October 18 from 4 pm to 10 pm and free to attend, imagineNATIVE’s Art Crawl will travel across Toronto as they collaborate with various venues and gallery spaces to present exhibitions featuring Indigenous artists continuing to push the boundaries of what Indigenous storytelling looks like.  

The Art Crawl includes an exhibition featuring the works of Tarralik Duffy and Caroline Monnet; the exhibition Celestial Bodies which invites viewers to question colonial influence on identity, gender, and sexuality; Alteration, a mixed-media, archival exhibition centring queer Indigenous storytelling by FAFSWAG Arts Collective; and viewings of video work by Indigenous filmmakers Alanis Obomsawin, Dana Claxton, and Theo Jean Cuthand. See the full exhibition list and descriptions here. 

An image of a purple human with white markings and lines flowing around them

 Atua. Co-presented with Trinty Square video. Photo © FAFSWAG ARTS COLLECTIVE

The title of the exhibition "Celestial Bodies" with the block font filled with blue and purple swirls, some of the letters sparkle

Celestial Bodies. Co-presented with A Space  Photo © Jesse King (Digital Illustration) 


an image of the exhibition poster for on Americanity & Other Experiences of Belonging

On Americanity & Other Experiences of Belonging. Co-presented with Onsite Gallery. Photo © Patricio Dávila  + Immony Mèn, Passing Through The Heart, 2021 - 2023 (Digital Illustration) 



an image of a prison in Saskatchewan

Processing Racism Table: Theo Jean Cuthand. Co-presented with YYZ Artists Outlet. Photo © Theo Jean Cuthand

an image of filmmaker Alanis Obomsawin outside by railway track, filming with a camera

​​The Children Have to Hear Another Story. Co-presented with Art Museum at the University of Toronto. Photo © Alanis Obomsawin filming Richard Cardinal: Cry from a Diary of a Métis Child, 1986 - Courtesy of the National Film Board of Canada and the Artist



An image of Dana Claxton on set posing in a chair, which a person posing behind her

The Dreaming: Dana Claxton’s video art. Co-presented with Vtape. Photo © The Patient Storm, by Dana Claxton (2006)


To wrap up their 2023 Art Crawl, imagineNATIVE is hosting a closing party at the AGO, featuring guided tours of works by Indigenous artists and a performance from the duo TechnoTihuacan. Composed of filmmaker and storyteller Roberto Fatal and DJ Bianca Oblivion, TechnoTihuacan combines live DJing with feature-length experimental film to perform what Fatal describes as a live mural.  

“I was raised as a mixed Indigenous Chicana [Mexican American] in California and Chicana muralism is a medium of art I have always been obsessed with,” Fatal explained. “TechnoTihuacan at its core is an attempt at creating moving image murals of Chicana and Latinx Indigenous life. These visuals are married together and guided by the sound of the drum that we hear in the music that accompanies the visuals: techno, banda, vogue, and Indigenous drums. I want TechnoTihuacan to be a kinetic/sonic Chicana Indigenous mural the community can gather and dance around.” 

Both Oblivion and Fatal remix live on stage, Oblivion covering the music while Fatal uses his battle DJ experience to remix video footage live in response to Oblivion, making each TechnoTihuacan performance “unpredictable, kinetic, and alive.” 

An image of performers TechnoTihuacan on stage during a performance

Image courtesy of TechnoTihuacan

An image of performers TechnoTihuacan on stage during a performance .

Image courtesy of TechnoTihuacan

The videography Fatal remixes came from collaborations with different Latinx and Indigenous creatives. Granted a small stipend in 2019, Fatal gathered submissions from artists, working with them to produce and film their ideas. 

“I wanted to curate a team of artists who represent various gender, race and social experiences of Latinx / Latinx Indigenous life,” Fatal explained. “Because of the diversity of personnel from the video artists to the DJs, TechnoTihuacan covers a lot of ground thematically, from border politics, de-colonialism, queer sex, Afro-Latinx visibility, pop culture, trans identity, and Indigenous spirituality.” 

With the October 18 performance at the AGO marking their first performance since the pandemic, Fatal is excited to bring a new version of TechnoTihuacan to the AGO, working with staff to create special projection mapping and responsive designs for Walker Court. Accompanying these visuals, TechnoTihuacan will also be debuting their own musical compositions for the first time.  

“Bianca and I have been working on mixing 150 bpm, 4x4 base-heavy drum machine beats with a fast-paced, dance style of music called Quebradita. This is something we’ve been dreaming of for years,” Fatal said. “This version of TechnoTihuacan is going to move at a faster bpm and relies on hard low-end bass clashing with more traditional 90s Quebradita banda music, all backed by large-scale space responsive video projections we are designing just for the AGO’s [Walker Court].” 

Enjoy the work of Indigenous visual artists, filmmakers and musicians as part of imagineNATIVE’s 2023 Art Crawl, taking place on October 18 from 4 pm to 10 pm. Catch TechnoTihuacan’s closing party performance at the AGO as part of AGO Free Wednesday Nights.  

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