Against Getting It

April 2021

IN AN INTERVIEW with the Sundance Institute’s Adam Piron this past November, filmmaker and video artist Sky Hopinka discussed the freedom he has found in making work for Indigenous viewers: “It’s empowering to realize that you don’t have to make films for a white audience and consider whether or not they understand the cultural references.” Hopinka’s experimental narratives are nonlinear collages of Native imagery, language, and experiences that are, he knows, not legible to all—even most—of his viewers. It is not surprising that the artist, a member of the Ho-Chunk nation, might choose to center nonwhite subjectivity. But it is notable that this choice has not prevented Hopinka, who last year received a prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship, from achieving mainstream success. Of course, non-Native viewers—a category that surely includes the majority of the Guggenheim Foundation’s

— Julia Pelta Feldman

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