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Envisioning a Different World with TJ Cuthand

Envisioning a Different World

with TJ Cuthand

Envisioning a Different World

"Art envisions a different world."

TJ shares how art can help us open our minds, see things differently, and work to effect change in our world.

Envisioning a Different World

Indigenous History Month with

TJ Cuthand

Cree-Métis artist and filmmaker TJ Cuthand, has been making short videos and films about sexuality, madness, Queer identity and love, and Indigeneity since 1995. He has also written screenplays, created a 2D video game, and currently has a feature film in development. TJ's work has exhibited at galleries and screened in festivals internationally.

Envisioning a Different World

Celebrate with us!

Indigenous History Month 2022

We're celebrating Indigenous scientists, researchers, educators and artists, and sharing the wondrous moments that inspired them to follow their dreams. Today, their contributions to STEAM help build thriving, sustainable communities rooted in science, innovation and a deep connection to nature. Listen to their stories.

Follow TJ Cuthand.

TJ Cuthand (TJC): I think maybe (laughs) maybe even like as far back as when I was a kid and I saw ET and there was just like, all of the special effects they did, and when ET got sick I got really scared, and I don't know, I think it was just like growing awareness of how film can sort of manipulate someone's emotions to make them understand something that they didn't understand before. I think that's kind of what I was understanding when I first started seeing movies at cinemas and drive-throughs and stuff like that.

Science World (SW): That’s artist and filmmaker TJ Cuthand. His work has been screened in festivals internationally, and shown at galleries across North America.

TJC: Part of my drive to create work has always been to represent the people who don't get represented for capitalist reasons—people with money want to fund work that has cis straight white men in it and Indigenous queer people not so much.

SW: For over two decades, TJ has been making short videos and films about sexuality, madness, Indigeneity, Queer identity and love.

TJC: There's always this feeling I feel where it's like, ‘How do I talk about trauma without retraumatizing the audience?’ And you know, and ‘How do you.. how do you talk about things that we kind of collectively experience as Indigenous people without you know, I guess telling the secrets?” or I don't know, there's something... there's a very protective feeling I do have towards my community. So, I think there's definitely things I've edited out of videos—that I haven't, you know, presented in the end.

SW: Many of TJ’s films address serious issues so he tries to present them with humour. His film, Two-Spirit Dream Catcher Dot Com, uses the style of a lavalife commercial to sell a dating website for Two-Spirit people.

TJC: I really wanted that piece to be about Indigenous joy and Two-Spirit joy because I noticed so many... I don't know, I mean, I was a programmer for a Queer Film Festival for a while and I noticed there were so many videos that were either, kind of like, you know, “Two-Spirit 101” or else like “Two-Spirit trauma” and I just, I don't want to be, you know, I don't want younger Two-Spirit people to think that their life is always going to be about trauma because it's not. There's good things about being Two-Spirit.

SW: When creating films, TJ considers how members of his community will feel when watching them. He hopes they find joy at the centre of his films.

TJC: I always want that community to know that they're loved and desired and that they're important. I mean, I think... I think what I think about a lot, when I think about community is, I always wonder what's this gonna mean to the, you know, the Two-Spirit kid who's on an isolated reserve. And, you know, maybe has really slow internet or maybe no internet at all. And, you know, is seeing this in, you know, the band hall or something. You know, how is that kid gonna relate to this art?

SW: It’s one of TJ's hopes that his films can be a place where people from his community go to find belonging and to feel the infinitude of Indigenous and Two-Spirit joy.

TJC: I think art sort of envisions a different world. You know how people say they want to change the world with their art? I think I still kind of take that as part of my practice—that I want people to think of issues differently after they see a piece of mine. Yeah, I want to open minds and you know (laughs) and make a better world and I think that's still something I really try to aspire to, I guess, with my filmmaking.

About the sticker

Survivors

Artist: Jeff Kulak

Jeff is a senior graphic designer at Science World. His illustration work has been published in the Walrus, The National Post, Reader’s Digest and Chickadee Magazine. He loves to make music, ride bikes, and spend time in the forest.

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Egg BB

Artist: Jeff Kulak

Jeff is a senior graphic designer at Science World. His illustration work has been published in the Walrus, The National Post, Reader’s Digest and Chickadee Magazine. He loves to make music, ride bikes, and spend time in the forest.

About the sticker

Comet Crisp

Artist: Jeff Kulak

Jeff is a senior graphic designer at Science World. His illustration work has been published in the Walrus, The National Post, Reader’s Digest and Chickadee Magazine. He loves to make music, ride bikes, and spend time in the forest.

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Artist: Michelle Yong

Michelle is a designer with a focus on creating joyful digital experiences! She enjoys exploring the potential forms that an idea can express itself in and helping then take shape.

About the sticker

Buddy the T-Rex

Artist: Michelle Yong

Michelle is a designer with a focus on creating joyful digital experiences! She enjoys exploring the potential forms that an idea can express itself in and helping then take shape.

About the sticker

Geodessy

Artist: Michelle Yong

Michelle is a designer with a focus on creating joyful digital experiences! She enjoys exploring the potential forms that an idea can express itself in and helping then take shape.

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Artist: Ty Dale

From Canada, Ty was born in Vancouver, British Columbia in 1993. From his chaotic workspace he draws in several different illustrative styles with thick outlines, bold colours and quirky-child like drawings. Ty distils the world around him into its basic geometry, prompting us to look at the mundane in a different way.

About the sticker

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Artist: Ty Dale

From Canada, Ty was born in Vancouver, British Columbia in 1993. From his chaotic workspace he draws in several different illustrative styles with thick outlines, bold colours and quirky-child like drawings. Ty distils the world around him into its basic geometry, prompting us to look at the mundane in a different way.

About the sticker

Time-Travel T-Rex

Artist: Ty Dale

From Canada, Ty was born in Vancouver, British Columbia in 1993. From his chaotic workspace he draws in several different illustrative styles with thick outlines, bold colours and quirky-child like drawings. Ty distils the world around him into its basic geometry, prompting us to look at the mundane in a different way.