Experience 13th Floor Ender Gallery
An artist residency and exhibition series in the video game Minecraft
About the program
Curated by Sarah Friend, Cat Bluemke & Jonathan Carroll
Ender Gallery is a project that explores the massively popular Minecraft platform as a tool for art creation and creative subversion. For its inagural year, it will host artists Cat Haines, Simon M. Benedict, Huidi Xiang, and Travess Smalley on its servers. Artists participate in a two-month residency, culminating in an exhibition of the work developed during their tenure.
Simon M. Benedict: Odanak – at the Village
July 10th– August 31st 2021
Odanak – at the Village is an installation and custom texture pack informed by Benedict’s ancestral community. Drawing from “Kinaw8la – She Takes Care of You,” an educational booklet co-authored by his sister Evelyne Benedict and Donna O’Bomsawin, Benedict’s exhibition remixes the default Minecraft environment to incorporate medicinal plants – both native and non-native – currently present on Odanak Abenaki territory. The exhibition features representations of both the natural and built environments of Odanak, reckoning with the ongoing colonial project as it pertains to the Abenaki people. In the wake of recent conversations regarding the Canadian residential school system, Benedict’s project addresses this history while creating virtual spaces for education and healing.
Content notice: This exhibition addresses the residential school system, genocide, and death.
About the artist:
Simon M. Benedict is an artist and translator of Franco-Québécois and Abenaki descent working with video, sound, still images, and text. He combines audiovisual material from various archives to examine how fictional and historical narratives inform and stem from our understanding of unmediated reality. In recent years, Simon’s video work has focused on the depiction of Indigenous people in media made by and intended for non-Indigenous people. After spending much time and energy researching these harmful portrayals, he was relieved and excited to be working on something more positive and potentially healing within the context of Ender Gallery. Simon lives and works in what is now known as Toronto, the traditional territory of the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishinaabe, the Haudenosaunee, and the Wendat. This residency project has allowed him to reflect on the spirit of the territory’s Dish with One Spoon treaty, which is based in the collective care and sharing of land and resources that extends to all people living here today.