Itówapi Čík’ala (Little Picture), developed by Suzanne Kite (Oglála Lakȟóta) and Devin Ronneberg (Native Hawaiian descent), interrogates the relationships between human and non-human entities and intelligences. Through Oglála Lakȟóta ontologies, even materials such as metals, rocks, and minerals can be capable of volition. By considering the ‘hearing’ and ‘listening’ capabilities of nonhuman entities, a method of engagement reliant upon mutual respect and responsibility becomes possible. As Itówapi Čík’ala (Little Picture) speaks, listeners may respond to it by bending and moving its braids, affecting the sounds.
Kite aka Suzanne Kite is an Oglála Lakȟóta performance artist, visual artist, and composer raised in Southern California, with a BFA from CalArts in music composition, an MFA from Bard College’s Milton Avery Graduate School, and is a PhD candidate at Concordia University. Kite’s scholarship and practice highlights contemporary Lakota epistemologies through research-creation, computational media, and performance. Recently, Kite has been developing a body interface for movement performances, carbon fibre sculptures, immersive video and sound installations, as well as co-running the experimental electronic imprint, Unheard Records. For the inaugural 2019 Toronto Art Biennial, Kite, with Althea Thauberger, produced an installation, Call to Arms, which features audio and video recordings of their rehearsals with Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship (HMCS) York, which also consisted of a live performance with the conch shell sextet, who played the four musical scores composed by Kite. Kite has also published extensively in several journals and magazines, including in The Journal of Design and Science (MIT Press), where the award winning article, “Making Kin with Machines,” co-authored with Jason Lewis, Noelani Arista, and Archer Pechawis, was featured. Currently, she is a 2019 Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation Scholar.