The Island Weights

Sky Hopinka

2021 | 00:10:00 | United States | English | Color | Stereo | 16:9 | 16mm film

Collection: New Releases, Single Titles

Tags: Environment, History, Indigenous, Landscape, Myth, Nature

The Island Weights is a two-channel synchronized video installation. A composite of the two channels presented side by side in one video is available from Video Data Bank for educational use only.

"Sky Hopinka’s two-channel film is a cycle centered on the narrative of the Island Weights—one of the Ho-Chunk creation stories about four individual water spirits sent to the cardinal points of the Earth to keep it from spinning out chaotically. Originating in what is now Wisconsin, the Ho-Chunk nation—which translates to “People of the Big Voice”—spans from Red Banks to Trempealeau and across the pines and the waterways from Minneapolis to Milwaukee. Broken into five parts—wijirawaséwe (the Island Weights), yoiréreginarere (the west one), rek’úhuhíra (the south one), hą́boguominàgara (the eastern one), siniwagúreginągere (the north one)—the film accompanies an individual narrating their journey along these boundaries of Ho-Chunk homelands in search of the worn and weary Weights. Images take viewers from the churning waters of the Mississippi River into serene forests, over still lakes, through vast shopping malls, along earthen effigy mounds, and the platformed remnants of Cahokian society. The narrator is attempting not simply to meet the Weights, but to restore the tired beings who have kept this world in place."

       - Lucia Momoh for Prospect.5


The Island Weights is available for educational use as a two-channel composite. Please contact VDB for exhibition requests.

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Exhibitions + Festivals

Prospect.5, Contemporary Arts Center, New Orleans, LA, 2022.