Living Trees and Networks: An Exploration of Fractal Ontology and Digital Archiving of Indigenous Knowledge




Reid, CA
Bourget, Chelsea

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University of Guelph


Fractal ontology is a holistic philosophy by which interconnectedness can be described and visualized as the repetition of a naturally occurring complex pattern. Using mtig bemaadzid (the living tree) as a primary example of a fractal, this thesis analyzes the digital network as a fractal form of establishing connections. In this way, I suggest that fractal ontology is an extension of Akinoomaagewin (physical philosophy) that describes Indigenous arts and culture archives in the digital age that crosses the humanities and sciences, and foregrounds systems theory. Working with film and photographic processes in three case-studies, I reflect on archival film and hypermedia databases as strengths within the digital network, emphasizing the importance of reciprocal and collaborative practices. This thesis also highlights global information politics, as well as information sovereignty in relation to digital media and online platforms, as fundamental components of digital archiving for arts and culture.



fractal, ontology, living, trees, network, networks, theory, indigenous, archiving, archives, digital, knowledge, knowledges, reid, traditional, philosophy, interconnectedness, rhizome, roots, branches, branching, models, holistic, holism, art, history, historiography, mtig, bemaadzid, infomation, sovereignty, reciprocal, akinoomaagewin, global, politics, social, informatics