New History Colorado Exhibition Reimagines Time Through Indigenous Futurism
Augmented reality pairs with millennium old pottery and creates a dynamic conversation that spans the centuries
DENVER — April 13, 2023— History Colorado announces a collaboration with Virgil Ortiz, an award winning artist and visionary hailing from Cochiti Pueblo, whose works have been displayed at museums around the globe. This partnership will result in the one of a kind exhibition: Revolt 1680/2180: Runners + Gliders which brings Indigenous Futurism to the Mile High City when it opens May 13, 2023, at the History Colorado Center.
Luke Perkins, Manager of Communications and Public Relations
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Using projection mapping and augmented reality alongside centuries-old Cochiti sculptures and Ancestral Puebloan pottery that dates back a millennium, Revolt 1680/2180: Runners + Gliders bring Ortiz's stunning visions of the future to life. The result is a dynamic conversation between Ortiz and his artistic ancestors that spans the centuries—and leaves you with new perspectives on what lies ahead.
“Runners + Gliders is the most artistically adventurous thing we have ever done at History Colorado,” said Jeremy Morton, Public Engagement Manager at History Colorado. "It provides us an opportunity to think about time and history differently, to look back into the past, and forward into the future, in a way few history museums have ever tried."
Drawing inspiration from historical accounts of the most successful Indigenous uprising against a colonizing power in North America, the 1680 Pueblo Revolt, Revolt 1680/2180: Runners + Gliders spotlights themes of justice and resistance to oppression. Additionally, it reimagines Puebloan time through Indigenous Futurism, science fiction, and fantasy blending the past, present and future into an immersive artistic experience.
Revolt 1680/2180: Runners + Gliders transports viewers to the year 2180 and introduces Ortiz's newest characters in the artist's long-developing “Revolt” storyline: Runners + Gliders. These characters are inspired by the historic figures Omtua and Catua who were integral in the success of the 1680 uprising.
Serving as messengers during the 1680 rebellion, Omtua and Catua delivered knotted cords made of deer hide which served as coded messages to the Pueblos of what is now New Mexico. The leaders of each Pueblo were instructed to untie one knot on the cord every morning and when the final knot was undone the Pueblos were to revolt simultaneously.
Although Ortiz works in many mediums, he is best known as a ceramicist from a long line of Puebloan potters and this is on full display in Revolt 1680/2180: Runners + Gliders.
“Clay is the core of all my creations,” Ortiz said. “My work centers on preserving traditional Cochiti culture and art forms. It’s important to recognize that Pueblo communities are very much alive and have a level of vitality that speaks to generations of strength, persistence, brilliance, and thriving energy.”
In celebration of this exhibition’s opening, the History Colorado Center is hosting an opening reception on May 18 from 6 – 8 p.m. This reception includes light refreshments, a cash bar, and remarks from Ortiz and Dawn DiPrince, executive director of History Colorado. While this event is free and open to the public, RSVP is required.
About Indigenous Futurism
Indigenous Futurism is an artform, genre, and practice which confronts colonialism, centers Indigenous knowledge, and envisions ways to confront generational trauma while creating a better future. By embracing themes such as contact, scientific literacy, sustainability, apocalypses and revolutions, Indigenous Futurism gives tribal nations another way to exercise and celebrate their sovereignty while also engaging with their past and traditional ways of life.
About Virgil Ortiz
Virgil Ortiz moves into a new era by combining art, décor, fashion, video, and film. One of the most innovative potters of his time, Ortiz’s exquisite works have been exhibited in museum collections around the world including the Stedelijk Museum- Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands; Paris’s Foundation Cartier pour I’art Contemporain; the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian; the Virginia Museum of Fine Art; and the Denver Art Museum and now at the History Colorado Center.
Ortiz, the youngest of six children, grew up in a creative environment in which storytelling, collecting clay, gathering wild plants, and producing figurative pottery was part of everyday life. His grandmother Laurencita Herrera and his mother, Seferina Ortiz, were both renowned Pueblo potters and part of an ongoing matrilineal heritage. “I didn’t even know it was art that was being produced while I was growing up,” he remembers. Ortiz keeps Cochiti pottery traditions alive but transforms them into a contemporary vision that embraces his Pueblo history and culture and merges it with apocalyptic themes, science fiction, and his own storytelling.
About History Colorado
History Colorado is a division of the Colorado Department of Higher Education and a 501(c)3 non-profit that has served more than 75,000 students and 500,000 people in Colorado each year. It is a 143-year-old institution that operates eleven museums and historic sites, a free public research center, the Office of Archaeology and Historic Preservation which provides technical assistance, educational opportunities, and other access to archaeology and historic preservation, and the History Colorado State Historical Fund (SHF), which is one of the nation’s largest state funded preservation programs of its kind. More than 70% of SHF grants are allocated in rural areas of the state. Additionally, the offices of the State Archaeologist and the State Historic Preservation Officer are part of History Colorado.
History Colorado’s mission is to create a better future for Colorado by inspiring wonder in our past. We serve as the state’s memory, preserving and sharing the places, stories, and material culture of Colorado through educational programs, historic preservation grants, collecting, outreach to Colorado communities, the History Colorado Center and Stephen H. Hart Research Center in Denver, and 10 other museums and historic attractions statewide. History Colorado is one of only six Smithsonian Affiliates in Colorado. Visit HistoryColorado.org, or call 303-HISTORY, for more information. #HistoryColorado