Concert reviews: Tanya Tagaq presenting ‘Nanook of the North’ @ David Pecaut Square for Luminato Festival | June 10, 2014

Tanya Tagaq presenting 'Nanook of the North' live @ David Pecaut for Luminato 2014. Photo: Tom Beedham
Tanya Tagaq presenting 'Nanook of the North' live @ David Pecaut for Luminato 2014. Photo: Tom Beedham Tanya Tagaq presenting 'Nanook of the North' live @ David Pecaut for Luminato 2014. Photo: Tom Beedham Tanya Tagaq presenting 'Nanook of the North' live @ David Pecaut for Luminato 2014. Photo: Tom Beedham Tanya Tagaq presenting 'Nanook of the North' live @ David Pecaut for Luminato 2014. Photo: Tom Beedham Tanya Tagaq presenting 'Nanook of the North' live @ David Pecaut for Luminato 2014. Photo: Tom Beedham Tanya Tagaq presenting 'Nanook of the North' live @ David Pecaut for Luminato 2014. Photo: Tom Beedham Tanya Tagaq presenting 'Nanook of the North' live @ David Pecaut for Luminato 2014. Photo: Tom Beedham Tanya Tagaq presenting 'Nanook of the North' live @ David Pecaut for Luminato 2014. Photo: Tom Beedham

“I studied this in film history class,” reflected someone in the crowd before throat singer Tanya Tagaq took the stage at Toronto’s Luminato Festival to perform in front of a background projection of Nanook of the North.

But not like this.

Tagaq’s presentation of the historic documentary highlighted the colonialist tendencies of the night’s muse, vocally juxtaposing deep, triumphant, and aggressive growls and chanting “Colonizer, colonizer, colonizer” to images of Inuk people being infantilized onscreen and pictured examining relics of their colonizers’ “progress” with wonder and confusion. It was hardly committed to honouring the “aesthetically significant” stamp Robert J Flaherty’s editorial dramatization has typically been decorated with.

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About Tom Beedham

Tom Beedham is a Canadian writer and photographer whose work focuses on independent culture, experimental art, DIY communities, and their relationship to the mainstream. He has reported on a spectrum of creatives ranging from emerging acts to the definitive voices of cultural movements. He lives in Toronto, Ontario. He has contributed features to Exclaim!, NOW, A.Side (formerly AUX), Chart Attack, and VICE publications Noisey and THUMP, and has appeared as a correspondent on Daily VICE. Tom is also a co-organizer and curator of the inter-arts series Long Winter, for which he has overseen the publication of an online blog and print newspaper-style community publication, and, in collaboration with Lucy Satzewich, implemented harm reduction strategies for safer event spaces. From 2006-2012, he was Editor-in-Chief of Halton, ON -based youth magazine The Undercroft and served as an outreach worker for parent organization Peer Outreach Support Services and Education (POSSE) Project. He was also a DIY concert organizer in his hometown Georgetown, ON in the mid-2000s.

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