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Shanawdithit 360/VR



This interdisciplinary project, Shanawdithit 360°, extends from the academic environment at York University to form a small ‘ecosystem’ with Tapestry Opera and a group of Indigenous artists. Together, we will produce a five-minute remix of Shanawdithit, a Canadian-Indigenous opera which premiered in May 2019. Created by the acclaimed Algonquin playwright Yvette Nolan and the celebrated composer Dean Burry, it is based on the drawings and writings by Shanawdithit, the last surviving member of the Beothuk. This project deals with injustices in our collective history. As an opportunity to meditate on the resilience of the Indigenous voice, this research-creation will investigate the potentiality of 360° media in experiencing presence. I believe that such spatiotemporal immersions can facilitate personal reflections on marginalized spaces and peoples on a deeper level, offering a sensorial way of experiencing and learning Indigenous history. Shanawdithit 360° will feature mezzo-soprano Marion Newman (Kwaiulth and Stó: lo) singing the chorus of one of her arias: “How can I sing to descendants I will never have?” In a way, this film is a response to her anguish-laden cry – our generation’s acknowledgement of the painful, forgotten history of the original caretakers of our land – that we do hear her song, today. In this way, the film will not only offer a new visceral way to experience opera and dance but also reach a wider audience who may not already be familiar with Shanawdithit’s story. 


VR Opera Film

YEAR - 2019-2020

SIZE - 360



ISEA2020 Artist Talk 

Montreal, Canada

Oct 13 - 18, 2020

Director/Producer:  Sarah Choi
Director of Photography: Nikolay Michaylov
Sound Designer: Michael Trommer
VFX/Animator: Racelar Ho
Production Crew: Salar Pashtoonyar, Cihan “G” Sahin, Kat Zoumbolakis

Spirit - Aria Evan (Mi’kmaq/Black/settler)
Shanawdithit - Marion Newman (Kwagiulth and Stó:lo)  

Producer at Tapestry Opera:  Jaime Martino, Executive Director



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