This online event features historian and Stockbridge-Munsee Community Director of Cultural Affairs Heather Bruegl in conversation with Kanaka Maoli (Native Hawaiian) composer and EMPAC curator Anne Leilehua Lanzilotti.
EMPAC is located on the ancestral homelands of the Mohican people who are the Indigenous peoples of this land. Despite tremendous hardship in being forced from here, today their community resides in Wisconsin and is known as the Stockbridge-Munsee Community. This conversation traces cultural strategies for the revitalization of Indigenous languages and frames the ways in which language shapes both our perception and environment.
Bruegl and Lanzilotti will discuss how “first voices” are central to their respective cultural work by introducing their intersecting approaches to decolonizing language, as well as the potential of such practices to reveal long-suppressed ecological, social, and artistic perspectives. Starting with an introduction by Bruegl of her cultural advocacy for, and historical inquiry into, the Stockbridge-Munsee Community, Lanzilotti will present examples of how she seeks to challenge inherited notions of the hierarchy of language in her work as both a curator and a composer.
Lanzilotti’s recent composition hānau ka ua, for example, explores the hundreds of words for rain in ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi. This astonishingly complex vocabulary is able to reflect the time of day, color, intensity and sound of a rainfall. Through taking the instruments, sounds, and language of her own kanaka maoli heritage as a starting point, she reveals the perceptual role language has in Native Hawaiian culture in its relationship with the natural world.
Dates + Tickets
EMPAC Spring 2021
EMPAC Spring 2021 presentations, residencies, and commissions are made possible by Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, with additional support from the Jaffe Fund for Experimental Media and Performing Arts; National Endowment for the Arts; New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature; the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts; and Vlaamse Gemeenschap, department of Culture, Youth, and Media. Additional project support by the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts; New Music USA; CCS Bard; National Performance Network (NPN) Creation & Development Fund; Creative Capital; the Graham Foundation; and the National Culture and Arts Foundation, Taiwan; Music on Main and PuSh Festival (with support from the Canada Council for the Arts, British Columbia Arts Council, Lēna, Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, Action at a Distance, SFU Woodwards, The Scotiabank Dance Centre, and CCOV, as well as the Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association, Jim and Lisa Peers and an anonymous sponsor.)