The Electric Indian

February 2014
Invisible Dog Art Center, Brooklyn, NY

The Electric Indian is the first installation of JJ Lind’s three-part examination of the former Indian Territory and its descendant, the present day state of Oklahoma. The Electric Indian reimagines the events following Cherokee relocation to Indian Territory as an historically accurate, all-white fantasia of Indianness. Its central character is the controversial Cherokee figure Elias C. Boudinot, a half-Cherokee Confederate colonel and founder of the small railroad town of Vinita, Oklahoma. Boudinot, the son of a prominent chief, advocated passionately on Indian affairs, but was vilified by his own people for helping open the door to white settlement in Indian Territory and for his father’s role in the Trail of Tears. The piece draws upon Boudinot’s well-known lectures of the day—which were fuel for much 19th century mythology about native people—and remixes them with traditional Cherokee storytelling techniques, 21st century technologies, and found historical, anthropological, and mass market Indian “artifacts.” Through ritual, dance, projection and song, The Electric Indian envisions Boudinot as a charismatic evangelical magician. As he extols the wonders of the Great American Civilization, he is glorified, amplified and fetishized by its technologies. He is transformed into a magical, mythical and rarely-seen being—a modern day unicorn, The Indian.

Photos by Maria Baranova.

JJ Lind

James Allerdyce
Max Dana
Brady Jenkins
Jillian Sweeney
Julie Stainer
Siobhan Towey

Jillian Sweeney

Production Design
Maki Takenouchi

Media Design
Rob Ramirez

Lighting Design
Robert Bloom

Sound Design
Blake Carrington

JJ Lind and Gabrielle Demeestere

Mike Smart

Max Dana