I Taste the Future

Pia Arke & Anders Jørgensen

The conceptual practice of Danish-Greenlandic artist Pia Arke addresses the cultural legacies and
impacts of colonization on the Inuit of Greenland. Arke was born in Ittoqqortoormiit, Greenland, a town established by the Danish government for the purpose of declaring rights over the land in a claims dispute with Norway. Arke grew up speaking Danish with an acute awareness of the nuances of history and identity. In Tupilakosaurus (1999), Arke and her collaborator Anders Jøgersen intertwine fictional documentary footage of a Danish paleontologist who examines the skeleton of a tupilakosaurus in a museum in Copenhagen with recordings of the artist reciting the legend of the tupilaq. In Greenlandic Inuit tradition, the tupilaq is a shamanistic avenging monster created to destroy an enemy. It can, however, also destroy its original maker if the enemy it intends to kill possesses greater magical powers than its creator. Arke emphasizes the violence that is part of any
colonial takeover and treats the colonial gaze with humor and wit, emphasizing how history and scientific facts are constructed, distorted and transposed through time.


Pia Arke & Anders Jørgensen, Tupilakosaurus, 1999. Video, black and white, sound (shown in NO / ENG language versions) 9 min. 18 sec. Photo: Kjell Ove Storvik/LIAF