New Red Order, Give it Back. Installation documentation, Audain Gallery, 2021. Photos: Rachel Topham Photography.
New Red Order: Give it Back
January 14 – March 6, 2021
Audain Gallery, Hastings Street Windows
New Red Order (NRO) is a public secret society of rotating membership that works to re-channel settler desires for Indigeneity into supports for Indigenous futures. Formed in contradistinction to the Improved Order of the Red Men and The Degree of Pocahontas — North American organizations founded in the late nineteenth century exclusively for white men and women to “play Indian” — NRO imagines that the appropriative impulses at the heart of these societies might be redirected. Using strategies as diverse as calling out and calling in, recruitment, and cumulative interrogation, the work of NRO aims to shift potential obstructions to Indigenous growth.
In Give it Back, a street-facing window exhibition, New Red Order engages with moves toward Land Back, which involve calls to restore stolen Indigenous territories to Indigenous people. Occuring on unceded land of the Musqueam (xʷməθkʷəy̓əm), Squamish (Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw), and Tsleil-Waututh (səl̓ilw̓ətaʔɬ) Nations, in the Downtown Eastside neighbourhood of so-called Vancouver, the project reveals instances where the repatriation of land, from settlers to Indigenous individuals or groups, has been promised or perhaps enacted. Beyond the necessary disruption of settler colonialism with the need to take back land, Give it Back investigates, presents, and promotes another mode of return: through actualized gestures of land being "voluntarily" released to Indigenous people. Employing videos and a real-estate ethos, Give it Back unfolds to chart moments in a speculative future history of the movement.
Linking with NRO’s persistent deconstruction of the idea of an Indigenous informant — a term that describes a person who reveals too much of their own communities, in either legal or anthropological contexts — which involves acknowledging NRO members’ own complicity as informants, Give it Back speculates on the recuperative possibility of calling in others, settlers included, to inform with them. In foregrounding voluntary practices and promises of land’s return, the work offers a potential — if partial — attempt to undo settler colonialism by those who stand to benefit most from its upholding.
For this exhibition, New Red Order core contributors Adam Khalil, Zack Khalil, and Jackson Polys are joined by Virgil B/G Taylor. Working in filmmaking, performance and installation art, New Red Order have presented their work internationally, expanding the public secret society network across numerous institutional platforms.
Virgil B/G Taylor makes fag tips, an online speculative zine. He is one half of sssssssssSsss, a study-friendship with Ashkan Sepahvand, and a member of What Would An HIV Doula Do?, a collective of artists, writers, caretakers, activists and more gathered in response to the ongoing HIV/AIDS pandemic. His work explores histories of care and crisis, magic, and toxicity.
Curated by cheyanne turions
Pyro-concept accomplice: Kate August
Performing arm accomplice: Ashley Byler
Wardrobe accomplice: Enver Chakartash
Labour force accomplice: Christopher Lacroix
Performing arm accomplice: Jeremy Pheiffer
Image descriptions: Cheryl Green
Presented in partnership with Cineworks, DOXA, and the School for Contemporary Arts at SFU.
February 8 – 14, 2021
Presented online. Please register to receive a virtual ticket to access the program.
This described tour of New Red Order's Give it Back is offered as a point of access for people who are blind, people who live with vision loss or sighted folks who are interested in how meaning is made from looking.
This tour is designed and delivered by Stephanie Bokenfohr, an independent producer focused on performance and access. Opening music and sound editing by Jean Brazeau.
Below the Radar
Below the Radar is a weekly podcast hosted by Am Johal and produced by SFU's Vancity Office of Community Engagement. In this episode, Johal speaks to some of the artists behind New Red Order, a public secret society that invites people to transform their complicity in Indigenous appropriation and performing Indigeneity into support for Indigenous futures and land sovereignty. The artists discuss the formation of, and impetus behind, New Red Order — and how they use humour, recruitment and interrogation to call out and call in. They also speak about their Give it Back exhibition at Audain Gallery, which is on display in the gallery’s front windows.