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Amelia Winger-Bearskin: Sky/World Death/World

Dec 15, 2022–


Amelia Winger-Bearskin’s Sky/World Death/World combines animations and poetic text connecting sunrise and sunset to Indigenous creation myths. The Sky/World of sunrise references the Haudenosaunee origin story of Sky Woman who belonged to the sky people, a tribe rooted in the celestial heavens before the world was created. After falling through a hole created by an uprooted tree, Sky Woman creates a home on earth out of the oceans and mud with the help of animals. Winger-Bearskin pairs abstract animations of dawn created in a game engine with the question “Who benefits from your burnout?,” using it as a prompt for reflecting on the sharing of life. The Death/World of sunset asks the question “What is made bright by the loss of your light?” and hints at the thin veil between sleep and death while evoking renewal. The accompanying animation mixes abstract visuals with a video clip of the artist herself that once was part of one of her artworks. The work had disappeared, and the footage was recovered from the Internet archive, a testament to both the ephemerality of digital work and the potential of recovery. The questions raised in Sky/World Death/World were originally written by Winger-Bearskin for a series of billboards by the artist collective For Freedoms of which she is a member.


Amelia Winger-Bearskin (b. 1979) is an artist who uses artificial intelligence to make a positive impact on communities and the environment. She is the founder of the AI Climate Justice Lab and the Talk to Me About Water collective. Winger-Bearskin’s award-winning podcast Wampum.Codes explores an ethical framework for software development based on Indigenous values of co-creation. In 2022 she was awarded a MacArthur Foundation Award as part of the Sundance AOP Fellowship cohort for her project CLOUD WORLD / SKYWORLD. In 2018 she served as a delegate at the summit “Fostering Universal Ethics and Compassion through Museums” hosted by the Dalai Lama in Dharamsala, India. Winger-Bearskin is a Banks Family Preeminence Chair of Artificial Intelligence and the Arts at the Digital Worlds Institute at the University of Florida. She is Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) and an enrolled member of the Seneca-Cayuga Nation of Oklahoma, Deer Clan, on her mother’s side and Jewish/Baháa’í on her late father’s side.


Sunrise/Sunset is a series of Internet art projects that mark sunset and sunrise in New York City every day. All are commissioned by the Whitney specifically for whitney.org, each project unfolding over a timeframe of ten to thirty seconds.

Using whitney.org as their habitat, Sunrise/Sunset projects disrupt, replace, or engage with the museum website as an information environment. This form of engagement captures the core of artistic practice on the Internet, the intervention in existing online spaces. The series is organized by Christiane Paul, adjunct curator of digital art at the Whitney Museum.

To see the current project, be anywhere on this website during sunrise or sunset.


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Sunrise

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A 30-second online art project:
Amelia Winger-Bearskin, Sky/World Death/World

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