ikiaqqivik: Travelling Through Layers

When the time came a few years ago to find an Inuktitut term for the word “Internet,” Nunavut’s former Official Languages Commissioner, Eva Aariak, chose ikiaqqivik, or “traveling through layers”. The word comes from the concept describing what a shaman does when asked to find out about living or deceased relatives or where animals have disappeared to: travel across time and space to find answers. According to the elders, shamans used to travel all over the world: to the bottom of the ocean, to the stratosphere, and even to the moon. In fact, the 1969 moon landing did not impress Inuit elders. They simply said, “We’ve already been there!” (Minogue, 2005, n.p.). The word is also an example of how Inuit are mapping traditional concepts, values, and metaphors to make sense of contemporary realities and technologies. – Katarina Soukup in The Canadian Journal of Communication

I came across this article while looking up “Live from the Tundra”, which I’d remembered seeing from my desk at the New Media Department of Vancouver Film School, way back in 2001. It was amazing, but I can’t find any visual record of it now. Soukup described it here:

…produced by the Arnait Women’s Video Workshop of Igloolik in August 2001. A group of Inuit and non-Inuit artists took a two-hour boat trip from Igloolik to a traditional Inuit outpost camp called Najuktuktujuk, far from phone and power lines. The camp was presided over by elders Enuki and Vivi Kunuk (the parents of filmmaker Zacharias Kunuk). Over five days the group uploaded daily audio, video, photo, and text dispatches to the Web from what was dubbed the Nunatinnit Mobile Media Lab employing a high-speed data satellite phone (which at that time meant 64 kbps).

I remember seeing them making bannock outside the tent. Another episode featured visitors who were about to arrive. It was a remarkable marriage of the timeless past and the communicative future.

I was happy to see, in this same Journal of Communication article,  this video of “high fashion in the high arctic”. My impulse was to post it to YouTube but I wondered about rights – so just link, download and enjoy!

3 Comments Add yours

  1. Raul says:

    Very interesting!

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