New pop-up exhibit: Untitled TEṮÁĆES


by: Talia Greene, Young Canada Works intern

From January to July, UVic Libraries is hosting the haptic map Untitled ṮEṮÁĆES, an interactive art installation which is intended to teach Indigenous and non-Indigenous place names, or toponyms, through listening and interaction. For example, the Untitled ṮEṮÁĆES map has islands that, when moved, will speak their name aloud in both SENĆOŦEN and English. The Untitled ṮEṮÁĆES map features landscapes from W̱SÁNEĆ Territory on the lands also known as the Saanich Peninsula, without the typical Western Anglo cartographic marks like roads, signs, and borders.

The Untitled ṮEṮÁĆES map, the first produced haptic map prototype, was co-created by UVic student Kim Shortreed and W̱SÁNEĆ/Lekwungen artist TEMOSEṈ Chazz Elliott for Shortreed’s PhD project, "Contracolonial Practices in Salish Sea Namescapes."

TEMOSEṈ designed and carved the outside panels with help from his brother Matthew Parlby-Elliott (W̱SÁNEĆ/Songhees/Squamish); Shortreed built the interactive islands with support for the map's structure from TEMOSEṈ, Parlby-Elliott, and Ben Olsen; and Jesse Campbell (Métis) painted the seascape horizon.

The art piece encourages reflection on the colonial origins of many local placenames, and thematically fits into ongoing conversations around renaming landmarks to better acknowledge Indigenous Peoples’ relationships with the land. The installation invites audiences to engage physically and creatively with its artistic topography and to learn place names in unconventional ways.

Untitled ṮEṮÁĆES will be on the main floor of Mearns Centre for Learning – McPherson Library until July 8, 2024. Visitors are welcome to explore the piece any time the library is open.