Leah Decter                          

(official apology) 913 words: trade value unknown
2009

digital print on paper: trade value series
2’x38’


(official apology) 913 words: trade value unknown

This work considers the Canadian Government’s ‘Statement of Apology to former students of Indian Residential Schools’ delivered in June 2008. I engage with the apology as one of those Canadians on whose behalf it was explicitly delivered, and with an interest in the ways its value is contested. Rather than imposing my opinion of the apology’s worth, I considered both the manner in which it was variously received and what it might mean, as a white settler citizen, to have something so legitimately contested uttered on my behalf.  The work alludes to the equivocal nature of value through the use of the points of the Hudson Bay point blanket, which were originally designed as a system of measurement used to identify relative value of blankets for trading purposes. They still serve this function in the retail market with the eight-point blanket being the largest contemporary blanket. In this work the points are scanned and digitally excised from the blanket, then built into a single extended horizontal digital image made up of hundreds of points that is reminiscent of a fringe of trees in a prairie winter. Reconfigured as such, any precise predetermined value that the points were designed to denote is obscured.

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