Chatter Marks
EP 027 How mapping affects our perspective and understanding of land and our place in the world

EP 027 How mapping affects our perspective and understanding of land and our place in the world

November 29, 2021

Joining this conversation are artists Stuart Hyatt, Dan Mills and Christina Seely. Stuart uses sound to understand our relationship with the natural world. Dan uses maps in paintings and collages as a way to explore ideas of historic and current events, including issues like colonialism. Christina uses photography to address the complexities of both built and natural global systems. All of their work—Stuart, Dan and Christina—is featured in the Anchorage Museum’s exhibition “Counter Cartographies: Living the Land,” which challenges our traditional understanding of what a map is.

Often, maps are viewed as objective and above reproach, but maps—just like any piece of art—come with the bias of their makers. They can be made with the intent of acquiring land and resources, as has historically been the case. So, it’s important to consider how they affect our perspective and understanding of land and our place in the world. It’s also important to consider ways we can re-imagine the traditional idea of mapping because an image can’t always document or express the reality of a place.

Artwork by Dan Mills

EP 026 How Alaska is contributing to the global conversation surrounding climate change with Brian Brettschneider

EP 026 How Alaska is contributing to the global conversation surrounding climate change with Brian Brettschneider

November 26, 2021

Brian Brettschneider is a climatologist and a research scientist. He collects data and analyzes it. And within that mountain of data, he believes many of the secrets of the world exist. But extracting meaning from all that information is a big challenge. It takes time, education and technology. 

With its many research institutions located in arctic environments—including universities and weather stations—Alaska is important in the global conversation surrounding climate change. Brian says that, in a lot of ways, the state is a research laboratory with a collection of intellectual firepower located in close proximity to locations that are experiencing quick and dramatic changes. Changes that affect our ways of life, societal infrastructure, transportation and cultural identity.

EP 25 The Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act shapes Alaska’s Past and Future with Aaron Leggett

EP 25 The Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act shapes Alaska’s Past and Future with Aaron Leggett

November 2, 2021

Aaron Leggett explains the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act, or ANCSA. ANCSA was established on December 18, 1971, and is a landmark policy for many reasons. As a result of the act, Alaska Natives retained 44 million acres of land and about 1 billion dollars to settle Indigenous land claims in Alaska. It also divided the state into 12 regional corporations and almost 200 village corporations that split the money and the land. Before ANCSA, ​the traditional way the United States ​had negotiated land settlements and compensation with Native tribes ​was in the form of reservations ​and treaties​. ANCSA changed the fundamental existence of Alaska as a state as well as the way we think about ​Indigenous land settlements, and this December marks its 50th Anniversary. 

Aaron is the president of the Native Village of Eklutna and the Anchorage Museum’s ​Senior Curator. He’s a shareholder in Cook Inlet Region, Incorporated, or CIRI, one of the​ regional Alaska Native corporations set up by ANCSA​. ​He’s also a shareholder and has served on the board of Eklutna, Inc., one of the village corporations set up by ANCSA.

Photo courtesy of CIRI

EP 024 What food tells us about love, identity and culture with Julia O’Malley

EP 024 What food tells us about love, identity and culture with Julia O’Malley

October 18, 2021

Journalism has been part of Julia O’Malley’s life since elementary school, where she remembers carrying around a notebook to keep track of what her classmates were doing. Then, in high school, she wrote for her school newspaper. But her love for cooking goes back even further. In fact, one of her first memories is of being 2 or 3 years old and mixing blueberries and milk in her toy kitchen.

The dinner table was a sacred place in Julia’s household. Sitting down and sharing a meal was important and everyone had a role, be it cooking the meal, setting the table or clearing the table. That affection for food also extended outside of home cooked meals. Growing up in Anchorage in the 1980s, there wasn’t a big variety of restaurants and what was cooked in homes. Ingredients were scarce then. So, when they were available, new meals were an experience that Julia cherished. When she thinks about food today, she says that it’s more than just sustenance, it expresses love, culture, care, identity and nostalgia.

Photo by Young Kim

EP 023 Cultural burning and Indigenous knowledge with Dr. Amy Christianson and Matthew Kristoff

EP 023 Cultural burning and Indigenous knowledge with Dr. Amy Christianson and Matthew Kristoff

September 20, 2021

Dr. Amy Christianson is the host of Good Fire, a podcast that explores the social, cultural and ecological importance of fires. For thousands of years, Indigenous people have used fire to improve their environment and their community. More recently, however, because of colonialism and the centralization of power, many of those traditional practices have been made illegal, forcing them to stop or suffer legal repercussions. Today, governmental agencies want to integrate cultural burning into their systems, but Indigenous people are only asking for the autonomy to continue doing what they’ve done for thousands of years.

Matthew Kristoff also joins the conversation. He works on Good Fire with Dr. Christianson. He’s also the host of YourForest, a podcast that explores the natural world through conversations about environmental issues.

EP 022 How language influences identity and culture with Kirk Gallardo

EP 022 How language influences identity and culture with Kirk Gallardo

August 27, 2021

Kirk Gallardo is the Education Interpretation Manager at the Anchorage Museum. His job has many aspects, including outreach, research and curriculum creation. His education is in linguistics, and that also comes into play. He says that understanding language is an ongoing endeavor that involves considering how it influences identity and culture. Being able to speak and communicate with one another... and convey our thoughts and desires is so embedded within our understanding of the human experience that it can sometimes be forgotten how much it affects. It shapes our entire world view. It’s a cyclical concept Kirk describes as one that influences our culture by the word choices we have and then our culture influences the language that we use to describe it.

EP 021 Destroying art, compassion for nature and the impermanence of us with John Grade

EP 021 Destroying art, compassion for nature and the impermanence of us with John Grade

August 12, 2021

Artist and sculptor John Grade's work exists in the intersection of art, education and advocacy. Influenced by the environment and human impact on it, there’s a specific attention paid to the idea of impermanence. He often destroys his art as part of its showing or exhibition because art, like life, is temporary. Both are a journey that rarely turns out how you’d expect. So, it’s important to embrace change. To achieve this vision, John believes in the power of collaboration—that the inclusion of different perspectives always benefits and improves a project. That more people involved means more minds thinking through complex issues and ideas. 

EP 020 Living intentionally with Jovell Rennie

EP 020 Living intentionally with Jovell Rennie

August 3, 2021

Photographer Jovell Rennie's ingenuity and talent continues to define both his personal and professional ambitions. His drive is influenced by his parents and his upbringing. When he was young, his mom passed away suddenly, leaving him and his dad to navigate life without their cornerstone. Jovell was a quiet, independent kid and his dad had a hands-off parenting approach—he was very present, but allowed his son to learn through experience. They both made it work and even thrived. 

Jovell holds many of his formative experiences close. He considers them often and applies them to his life and work. When taking photos, for instance, he believes in staying out of the way and not being a burden. His mom remains a constant presence in his life, and his dad is his biggest supporter. He says that, above all, his motivation is making them proud by always conducting himself with integrity.

EP 019 Protection and hope through illustration with Ted Kim

EP 019 Protection and hope through illustration with Ted Kim

July 1, 2021

Illustrator Ted Kim is known for his unique art style, which includes complex and imaginative scenarios. These scenes have a tendency to depict hope and optimism. He says that this happened naturally—motivated, in part, after he got in the habit of watching documentaries that explored traumatic social issues and events of catastrophic, global failure. His art became his safety net, his method of inspiring self-preservation and hope. 

Recently, Ted has become more introspective about his life and his art. He’s learned that life may not play out exactly how we want it to, but—and this is something that he’s been saying a lot lately—everything happens for a reason.

EP 018 Rethinking art in the Circumpolar North with Charis Gullickson

EP 018 Rethinking art in the Circumpolar North with Charis Gullickson

June 14, 2021

Charis Gullickson is the Curator and Public Sector PHD Student in Art History at the Arctic University of Norway. Charis has a mantra, and that is: museums are not neutral. They’re institutions of culture and agents of change. This is a relatively new concept because, historically, museums have been repositories of antiquities, often displaying artifacts with problematic pasts. This is an issue because without knowing its past, we may revere certain pieces of art and ignore their origins, which could result in perpetuating problematic ideas. So, a lot of Charis’ work is focused on contextualizing classic art so that it can be used as a tool for change.

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