Unable to attend in person? Watch the streamed event here.
On Halloween night in 2020, Lou Cornum, a writer and member of the Navajo Nation, arrived at Sovereignty Camp near Southampton, New York. Members of the Shinnecock Nation had constructed the encampment in protest after the New York State attorney general, along with local civic and beautification associations, tried to stop the tribe from erecting monumental, revenue-raising billboards on their own land. In an essay for Triple Canopy, “Who Belongs to the Land?,” Cornum reflects on the billboards as assertions of sovereignty and on the month-long camp as an expression of Indigenous models of life, art, and activism that seek to remake the world. “These alternative political formations have the power to restructure the relationship between human life and the land, and the efforts of Indigenous peoples to denaturalize—and diminish the influence of—the American nation-state represents a major front against climate change,” Cornum writes.
For Stopping Time, Cornum will speak with Raven Chacon, an artist and composer, and Audra Simpson, a political anthropologist, about how Indigenous people are restructuring the relationship between people and the planet. They’ll discuss how the relationship between Indigenous people and nature is often romanticized, reflecting a desire for authenticity that manifests in progressive protests against pipelines as well as in the claims of libertarian ranchers to “ancestral rights” over the land. But the camps and blockades built by Indigenous land defenders are not only symbolic; they are means of “breaking from the premises of civilizational advancement,” in Cornum’s words, and of abolishing the liberal nation-state, which has always been a myth sustained by violence. Drawing on experiences of art as well as activism, Cornum, Chacon, and Simpson will ask how to imagine alternative forms of governance, whether through the speculative narratives of Indigenous Futurism or the protests that halt the world in order to enable the construction of a different one.
Stopping Time is free and will be livestreamed. RSVPing is not mandatory, but we encourage you to register in advance in order to receive updates on the event and the link to the live stream. The event is part of a series that concludes Unknown States, an issue devoted to the fictions that make up nations and nationalities. The series also includes First World Order, with Ilana Harris-Babou and Yasmina Price, organized with Electronic Arts Intermix (EAI); Empires in the Sky, with Atossa Araxia Abrahamian and Rana Dasgupta; and Executive Fiction, with Richard Beck, Ari Brostoff, and Sean McCann.
COVID-19 Protocols, Seating, and Accessibility
All attendees are required to present proof of full vaccination against COVID-19 and to wear masks unless otherwise indicated. Seating is on a first-come, first-served basis (even for those who have RSVP’d). The doors will open thirty minutes prior to the event and attendance will be limited, given safety concerns and the capacity of our venue.
Triple Canopy’s venue is located at 264 Canal Street, 3W, near several Canal Street subway stations. Our floor is accessible by elevator (63" × 60" car, 31" door) and stairway. Due to the age and other characteristics of the building, our bathrooms are not ADA-accessible, though several such bathrooms are located nearby. If you have questions about access, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org in advance of the event.
This public program was made possible through generous support from Jane Hait, a founding member of Triple Canopy Director’s Circle; the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts; the National Endowment for the Arts; the New York State Council on the Arts; and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council. Research for Unknown States, Triple Canopy’s twenty-seventh issue, was made possible through a Craft Research Fund grant from the Center for Craft.
- Lou Cornum is a writer, scholar, editor, and amateur mycologist living in New York and Connecticut. Currently, they are the Andrew W. Mellon postdoctoral fellow in Native American Studies at Wesleyan University. Their writing on Indigenous art, literature, and cultural politics has appeared in the New Inquiry, Real Life, Canadian Art, Frieze, and Pinko: A Magazine of Gay Communism, among other publications. Born in Arizona, they are an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation and come from a family of Diné and white settler backgrounds.
- Raven Chacon is a composer, performer, and artist from Fort Defiance, Navajo Nation. As a solo artist, Chacon has exhibited, performed, or had works performed at the Whitney Museum of American Art’s 2022 Biennial (New York City), Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Renaissance Society (Chicago), REDCAT (Los Angeles), Vancouver Art Gallery, Haus der Kulturen der Welt (Berlin), SITE Santa Fe, Ende Tymes Festival, and the Kennedy Center (Washington, D.C.). As a member of the group Postcommodity from 2009 to 2018, he co-created artworks that were presented at the Whitney Biennial, documenta 14, Carnegie International 57, and, in the case of the two-mile-long installation Repellent Fence (2015), on the border of the United States and Mexico. Since 2004, he has mentored over three hundred Native high school composers in the writing of new string quartets for the Native American Composer Apprenticeship Project (NACAP). Chacon won the Pulitzer Prize for music in 2022 and is the recipient of awards and fellowships from United States Artists, Creative Capital, the Native Arts and Cultures Foundation, the American Academy Berlin, the Bemis Center, and the Pew Center for Arts and Heritage.
- Audra Simpson is a political anthropologist who focuses on contextualizing the force and consequences of governance through time, space, and bodies. She is a Kahnawà:ke Mohawk. Her work is rooted in Indigenous polities in the United States and Canada, and her recent research is a genealogy of affective governance and extraction across those countries. Simpson is the author of Mohawk Interruptus: Political Life Across the Borders of Settler States (2014), which garnered multiple prizes and awards. She teaches at Columbia University.