Bently Spang wants to counter the idea that Bozeman, or any space in the U.S., was empty before colonizers arrived.
“We’re at a moment now where we’re reclaiming our story and telling that narrative,” he said.
That complex, layered narrative will be presented in Spang’s aptly named performance, “Strata,” to be held at the Tinworks Art popup at 8:30 p.m. on Saturday.
At 719 N. Ida Ave., Tinworks Art is a temporary art installation in an abandoned warehouse that’s slated to be demolished this coming spring to make way for a mixed-use development that will include affordable and market-rate apartments, artist studios, makerspaces, commercial and office space.
Tinworks opened on July 12, and Spang’s performance will be the last one held at the popup on the last day it’s open to the public. He said he didn’t want to give away too much, but it will incorporate movement, audio, natural elements and color.
Spang lives in Billings and is an enrolled member of Tsitsistas/Suhtai Nation, also called the Northern Cheyenne tribe. With an MFA from the University of Wisconsin, he creates art in various mediums, from sculpture to live performance.
He said he wants to remind people of the history of the Tinworks space and all the layers of experience that existed there long before there was a warehouse.
When he comes to Bozeman, he said, he often hears from people whose family members homesteaded in the area. As Bozeman grows and changes, he said it will be important for people to keep its history and the layer of indigenous experience in mind.
“There was this interaction between groups, a long interaction” he said. “So let’s never forget that, because if we do, it leads to all kinds of problems and issues.”
Spang is one of several artists to use the space. Local artist John Buck has a large, hand-carved wooden sculpture that uses pulleys, motors and belts. Titled “Cat’s Cradle,” it’s about the…