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two people laying inside concrete water pipes against a graffiti wall

Future Ancestral Technologies

Cannupa Hanska Luger
August–September, 2021

Cannupa Hanska Luger, Ginger Dunhill, and their two children 'Io Kahoku and Tsesa will produce a newly-commissioned moving image work in various public locations around Troy, NY. This footage will subsequently be combined with footage recently shot in collaboration with Gabe Fermin in the White Sands desert to make a new video work. 

Part of Cannupa Hanska Luger’s ongoing series Future Ancestral Technologies, this project incorporates artist-made regalia, props, videos, and performance, and explores alternative possible futures for sites of post-industrial extraction, reimaging them anew through speculative oral histories for the future. 

The project is curated by Paulina Ascencio Fuentes, Yihsuan Chiu, Christine Nyce, and Gee Wesley, recent graduates from the Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College, and will premiere in Fall 2021.

Future Ancestral Technologies

Cannupa Hanska Luger’s Future Ancestral Technologies is a science fiction. Science fiction has the power to shape collective thinking and help to imagine the future on a global scale. Future Ancestral Technologies does this from an Indigenous lens; it articulates a future narrative in which migration of humans is essential for survival on and with the land and water and people of color are the primary characters. As the future of our planet is threatened by capitalism’s continued devastation, new strategies of survivance are needed. With global instability, widespread financial crisis and unaffordable housing, our lifestyles must change. Future Ancestral Technologies is an ongoing investigation of our past in order to move forward, advancing new materials and new modes of thinking. This work prepares us for a highly adaptable lifestyle that lives with the land, not off the land. Future Ancestral Technologies prototypes designs for objects and their use, tests ritual and conducts ceremony. Future Ancestral Technologies is a deep time space of futuristic vision in which societies live true reverence and acknowledgement of land, beyond the trappings of cultural production, to dream and test a culture of fundamental coexistence.

Future Ancestral Technologies is an approach to making art objects, videos, and performance with the intent to influence global consciousness. This Indigenous-centered science fiction uses creative storytelling to radically reimagine the future. Moving sci-fi theory into practice, this methodology conjures innovative life-based solutions that promote a thriving Indigeneity. 

This Indigenous science fiction is characterized by unique objects, futuristic narratives, ancient myths, new paradigms and symbiotic landscapes. The ongoing narrative developed by installation and land based work articulates a future in which Indigenous people harness technology to live nomadically in hyper-attunement to land and water. Luger’s Future Ancestral Technologies is a methodology, a practice, a way of futurism, that suggests a radical approach to materials and their use. 

Using art practice to adopt science fiction, Future Ancestral Technologies is a context for imagining the distant future and dreaming sustainable approaches to the lived experiences of the generations to come. Using traditional craft and skill sets to create futuristic potential, the process imagines, enacts and prototypes experiences and technologies that promote Indigenous cultures to thrive into the future. Future Ancestral Technologies is disseminated through art and internet venues to influence global collective consciousness. Future Ancestral Technologies challenges and empowers humans—from individuals to industries—to visualize an Indigenous future and to practice empathy, ritual, and resourcefulness in epochs to come.

Main Image: Future Ancestral Technologies: Intergenerational, VR site work, Cannupa Hanska Luger, 2020. Photo credit: Jade Begay, Image courtesy of Cannupa Hanska Luger.