North-South-East-West Catalogue Launch

North-South-East-West Catalogue presented with talk at Research in Art 2014

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The North-South-East-West Catalogue was presented with a talk at the Research in Art Salon 53 in Ottawa Canada on October 8, 2014

With the launch of the North-South-East-West project in 2003, medicine-wheel.co, Thompson received invitations to exhibit his work in North America, Asia and Europe. The new North-South-East-West Catalogue records the history of project and is available from Blurb Books of San Francisco.  The catalogue was launched with a 45 minute talk at Research in Art in 2014 which included a travelogue of shows in Canada, USA, the Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand, Australia, Croatia, Serbia, Montenegro, Russia and France. The talk also included a guided tour of the North-South-East-West interactive video, with an emphasis on the relevance of medicine wheel teachings to contemporary life styles by inter-relating the following 5 concepts:
– the 4 cardinal directions (East, South, West, North),
– the 4 stages of life (birth, youth, adulthood, old age),
– the 4 challenges of life (survival, vision, path, wisdom),
– the 4 positions of the sun (sun rise, noon, sunset, night) and
– the 4 seasons (spring, summer, fall, and winter).

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Graham Thompson’s Biography

Ottawa media artist Graham Thompson discovered midlife that he was a Cree Metis with Red River family connections to British explorer Samuel Hearn and Metis rebel leader Louis Riel. This genealogical research lead to the study of Aboriginal Traditional Knowledge. His work in Algonquin talking circles and sweat lodges triggered, with a generous grant from ED Video, the creation of the North-South-East-West Project, an interactive Web-based Medicine Wheel. Thompson has won awards for his media work from the European Film Festival MEFEST, the International Digital Art Awards of Melbourne Australia, Cool Site of the Day of New York and the Common Wealth Vision Awards of England.

Noirlac Abbey France, Medicine Wheel

North-South-East-West exhibited at 2006 Les Futurs de l’écrit Art Biennial at Abbey of Noirlac in Orléans France.

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The North-South-East-West DVD was exhibited at the 2006 Les Futurs de l’écrit Art Biennial at the Abbey of Noirlac in Orléans France.  The Future of Writing ( Les Futurs de l’écrit) is a biennial event that exhibits literature, theater, music, sound, image, visual arts and dance within a beautifully restored Cistercian abbey.

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Abbey of Noirlac in Orléans France

The construction of the Abbey of Noirlac was started in 1150 by a small group of monks who came from Clairvaux. The abbey expressed the monastic asceticism of the Cistercian order founded by Saint Robert and Saint Bernard.

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From the XVth century to the French Revolution, the few monks in residence dedicated their time to the management of the community estate as well as to the spiritual life. Visit the Abbey de Norlac with 360 degree views.

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North-South-East-West Overview

The North-South-East-West was inspired by the  ancient Medicine Wheel belief system of the Annishinabe Peoples of North America. The presentation has an introduction that illustrates Ontario’s past, its present day mass media culture, and its technological future.

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The main section of NSEW begins in the east where the earth gives birth to a new day, to a new life and to the feeling of deep peace and belongingness. As well the east represents the first challenge in life – the test of survival. The animation celebrates the tiny frail flowers that live another day and open to greet the sun.

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Birth, Sunrise, Spring and the Challenge of Survival

The eastern section is followed by illustrations of the earth’s southern personality. The south brings the heat of the summer, the bloom of adolescence and the quest for a vision. The south represents the time we are given to discover our meaning and the ability to hold the power of this vision as our secret.

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The southern section is followed by meditations on the west. The west represents adulthood, autumn and the path of the vision discovered in our youth. In autumn the cool winds of the west signal the end of summer and a time of preparation – an adult time. In this direction or season of life, we learn that the path of our vision is not easy. The difficulties come like thunder clouds, yet they bring rains that “wash away yesterday” and allow us to renew ourselves and continue our work as in adulthood we realize that the sun will set before our path is complete.

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The piece completes the cycle of directions, seasons and stages of life in the north. The north represents winter, old age and the wisdom of the path of the vision. It is at this stage that our view of life is simple and uncomplicated, like a landscape where blankets of snow hide the complexities of the terrain. This is the time to have courage to live and embrace the changes of the final stage of life.

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The North South East West new media series can be summarized by mapping the geographic and climatic themes onto a matrix as shown below

Childhood

Youth

Adulthood

Old Age

Survival

Vision

Path

Wisdom

East

South

West

North

Spring

Summer

Autumn

Winter

Sunrise

Noon

Sunset

Evening

Hope, Optimism and Belonging

Bloom and Identity

Westerly Winds Bring Clouds

Life Review Like a Snow Covered Forest