questions about blueberries, and how things are pluralized
The Omaskêko Cree word for berries is minisa. This is the plural form of the word, so it is more than one. A very specific and interesting characteristic of the Cree language is how things are pluralized. It reveals each word’s animacy or inanimacy—a dubious and interesting categorization—and it reveals its relationship to the speaker of the word. Minisa is considered a pluralized inanimate noun, but that does not necessarily mean that they (or it) are not alive.
In the specific case of blueberries, the word is shâpomina, which is considered both an inanimate and an animate noun. In its animate, pluralized form, it would be shâpominak (like a person or a sock). It is an interesting ambiguity that this particular berry can be simultaneously animate and inanimate: shâpominakinhabits both categories uneasily. And in doing so, they reveal themselves as active agents of Omaskêko language and ideas, coming from the lands of Omaskêkowak people and Anishinâbêk peoples and the social system in which they are embedded.
Field Station is an annual cycle of projects that features work by artists at different moments in their careers. With a particular focus on new terrain, whether new work or a new direction in an artist’s practice, the series emphasizes the importance of research by offering a space for artists to develop ideas that may be in the early stages of conception or articulation. Field Station approaches art as a complex language that involves many forms and draws upon different disciplines, from engineering, physics, and agriculture to literature, history, and technology. The notion of a field station specifically points to the importance of experimentation and the idea of the museum as software—a flexible structure that is constantly expanding beyond its walls (the hardware), wherein artists are encouraged to collaborate across disciplines at Michigan State University. The exhibitions change every two months, allowing six artists to participate in each year’s program. At the end of each cycle, a publication will be produced to report the “findings” from the Field Station. The series is curated by Carla Acevedo-Yates and Steven L. Bridges, Assistant Curators.
Field Station: Duane Linklater is organized by the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University and curated by Carla Acevedo-Yates, Assistant Curator. Support for this series is provided by the MSU Federal Credit Union.