© Matt Macintosh et Keesic Douglas

Pitching Tents in Terra Nullius


Matt Macintosh (Kamloops, BC) + Keesic Douglas (Rama First Nation, Ontario)


April 7 – May 14, 2016




Taking the form of a social science fiction, in the exhibition Pitching Tents in Terra Nullius, Matt Macintosh and Keesic Douglas imagine the fall of civilization and the near extinction of the planet – thirty years or so into a not-too-distant future.

The works in Pitching Tents in Terra Nullius look to raw materials and basic conditions—of stories; of survival—to consider opportunities for meaningful exchange amid territorial disputes.

Pitching Tents…, is a guarded, questioning reference to terra nullius: free of the sovereignty of any nation, and empty of most signs of life.
A relearning and survival process begins for the artists. One identifies with his cultural identity and so grounds his sense of self in a notion of individuality and difference; the other seeks detachment from legible notions of a self in search of a pre-linguistic substrate of experiencing, a fundamental form of rediscovery. It is through this dialectic that their existence will develop and be redefined.

Terra Nullius is legal term expressed in Latin and taken from Roman law. It presupposes the concepts of land ownership and sovereign authority and approach to the acquisition and governance of territory.

It has been used to describe the course of European settlement in North America. Douglas and Macintosh offer an allegory made from the signs, symbols and practices of camping. Camping is a traditional rite of passage for white, middle class families and a cause for bewilderment in First Nation peoples. The artists present a switch in the camping storyline, pushing it into the future to a benign end of civilization, where codes of history and sovereignty exist as trace elements and cultural projections.

Matt Macintosh is a Kamloops–based artist working with found images and objects, painting, video and sound. His work explores the effects of erasure, systematization and repetition on cultural canon materials as they relate to fundamental human experiences like the longing for emancipation. Currently Curator at the Kamloops Museum and Archives, he has exhibited in Canada and the US.

Keesic Douglas is an Ojibway artist from the Rama First Nation in central Ontario. His practice utilizes photography, video and performance focusing on themes of exploring history, identity, representation, and the environment from an Indigenous perspective. His work has been exhibited in solo exhibitions in Winnipeg and Toronto as well as group exhibitions in Prague, Mexico, Vancouver, Montreal and New York City.

Pitching Tents in Terra Nullius is presented as part of RAOTIHÓN:TSA – Focus on First Nation’s contemporary creation. Initiated by La Chapelle, this series of events spans multiple artistic disciples. In partnership with Conseil des arts de Montréal, Monument National, LA CENTRALE galerie Powerhouse, Wapikoni Mobile, Centre Phi and MAI.

«The way Douglas’s work challenges viewer perceptions of self and other is in step with the other works in the show.» – CANADIAN ART



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