The Butterfly Effect #4 Candice Hopkins

Nordnorsk Kunstmuseum has invited Candice Hopkins to present the fourth iteration of The Butterfly Effect. Can Small Shifts in Museum Practice Generate Seismic Change Across our Societies? with a talk titled New Models: Non-Colonial Institutions.  

Date: 19 March, 2024, 3–4 pm 
Location: Nordnorsk Kunstmuseum, Romsa/Tromsø 
The talk will take place in English 

Video recording here

Candice Hopkins is Executive Director and Chief Curator of Forge Project, a Native-led institution dedicated to cultivating Indigenous leadership in arts and culture based in Taghkanic, New York. She will speak about the genesis of the organization and how they create models of Native cultural self-determination and through enacting these, demonstrate not only their feasibility but their viability to other institutions by challenging colonial norms. Forge Project is not a museum, and it is therefore not constrained by the colonial legacy and the institutional hurdles faced by museums. Hopkins will also speak about the ways in which they have adopted Indigenous protocols for practices such as land remediation, relational programming, and their lending collection, incorporating artists’ perspectives into these agreements.  

The profound relationship Forge Project has cultivated with the land on which they operate will also be addressed by Hopkins. Forge Project is situated on Moh-He-Con-Nuck territory and the institution engages directly with what it means to operate in an area with such a troubling history (and continued) of displacement of Indigenous people. Her talk will speak about Forge’s obligation to the original custodians of the land and how they have built relationships that are formalized and accountable.  

The foundation and operation of the organization is a model for Indigenous-led practices. In this presentation, she will share how Forge puts alternative models into practice, and how institutions can function to share knowledge, redistribute wealth, and act as an agent of justice.  

Candice Hopkins is a citizen of Carcross/Tagish First Nation and lives in Red Hook, New York. Her writing and curatorial practice explore the intersections of history, contemporary art, and Indigeneity. She is Executive Director and Chief Curator of Forge Project, Taghkanic, NY. She is curator of the exhibitions, Indian Theater: Native Performance, Art, and Self-Determination Since 1969, currently on view at the Hessel Museum; Impossible Music, co-curated with Raven Chacon and Stavia Grimani at the Miller ICA, and the touring exhibitions, Soundings; An Exhibition in Five Parts co-curated with Dylan Robinson, and ᑕᑯᒃᓴᐅᔪᒻᒪᕆᒃ, Double Vision, featuring textiles, prints and drawings by Jessie Oonark, Janet Kigusiuq, and Victoria Mamnguqsualuk. She was the Senior Curator for the inaugural 2019 and 2022 editions of the Toronto Biennial of Art and part of the curatorial team for the Canadian Pavilion at the 58th Venice Biennale, featuring the work of the media collective Isuma; documenta 14, Athens and Kassel; and Sakahàn: International Indigenous Art, National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa. Her notable essays include “The Gilded Gaze: Wealth and Economies on the Colonial Frontier,” in the documenta 14 Reader; “Outlawed Social Life,” in South as a State of Mind; and “The Appropriation Debates (or The Gallows of History),” in Saturation: Race, Art, and the Circulation of Value (New Museum/MIT Press, 2020). 

Photo: Candice Hopkins, photographer: Thatcher Keats


Candice Hopkins’s participation in The Butterfly Effect is made possible with generous support from the Norwegian General Consulate in New York.

The Butterfly Effect: Can Small Shifts in Museum Practice Generate Seismic Change Across our Societies? 
The series asks a simple question: Can small shifts in museum practice generate seismic change across our societies? That museums of today face profound challenges is without question; they are a symptom of the urgent and interconnected impact on our societies of the climate emergency, racial and sexual exploitation, wealth inequality, and technological innovation outpacing human comprehension. Yet museums have a role to play in activating solutions to these challenges. 

In NNKM we recognize that museums are sites of ideology and thus repositories of vested interests; we acknowledge their foundations upon extractive and racialised mechanisms. And yet, we believe those armatures can be countered by positioning ourselves as parts of mutable structures in constant flux, that foster polyphonic voices and challenge received histories. We endeavour to work through situated practices, that understand their local-beingness as an indisputable part of the many interconnected worldviews that exist. Furthermore, we advocate for museums of intervention and criticality, museums that inform state policy rather than be harnessed by it.  

Consisting of conversations and keynote lectures, performances and workshops, as well as food-sharing and storytelling, the series upholds the collective nature of this communal endeavour. As a museum undergoing a process of regional decentralisation, some of our events will take place in NNKM Tromsø/Romssa, some in NNKM Bodø/Bådåddjo/Buvdda, some in the Svalbard Archipelago and some in co-creation with partners in Finnmark/Finnmárku 

The Butterfly Effect convenes curators, artists, museum professionals, lawyers and activists whose thinking we admire, to consider radical museum and institutional models from the past, present and a speculative future. With this we hope to strengthen and celebrate a general understanding of the museum’s responsibility and potential in society. We also hope to nourish and accelerate our own internal commitment to, and implementation of, the repurposing of our resources to generate processes of transformation that are urgent and crucial to our planetary longevity. 

Previous speakers: Laura Raicovich, Rafiki og Ánde Somby. Video recordings from these events can be found here: 

Future speakers: Ama Josephine Budge, Léuli Eshrāghi, Anawana Haloba, Stefanie Hessler, Melanie Keen, Kimberley Moulton, Manuela Moscoso, and more to be announced soon 

Design: Blank Blank Studio 

Friday 15. March 2024