Kateryna Barnes | photo by Olav Rokne (olav.ca)

When I’m not wrangling the digital and print communications at the Faculty of Education at the University of Alberta, I’m exploring the theoretical potentials of decolonizing digital space, particularly videogame ecology, settler-colonial horror media/culture and trauma, Northern identity and representation, border studies, post-structuralist & Indigenized semiotics, and qualitative research methodologies.


Tanya Tagaq

Climate Apocalypse + Tanya Tagaq // Soundtrack to Settler-Colonialism

This post on NiCHE is an introduction to Kateryna Barnes’ recently published Gothic Nature II article, “Soundtrack to Settler-Colonialism: Tanya Tagaq’s Music as Creative Nonfiction Horror.”

“Our world isn’t ending. It already ended. It ended when the Zhaagnaash1 came into our original home down south on that bay and took it from us…Yes, apocalypse. We’ve had that over and over.“

W. Rice, Moon of the Crusted Snow, p. 157

Read more at NiCHE

Soundtrack to Settler-Colonialism: Tanya Tagaq’s Music as Creative Nonfiction Horror,

Throughout her discography, avant-garde musician Tanya Tagaq modifies traditional Inuit throat singing with graphic and haunting imagery familiar to horror culture. In Tagaq’s music, the seemingly supernatural is natural (as in the natural world). Evoking the grotesque and uncanny of the genre through nonverbal vocalisations like growls, gasps and shrieks or the few lyrics she does use, she gives voice to the nonhuman natural world. Mother Earth is sentient and she has a voice through Tagaq, and she is exacting revenge for the violence on her body and her children by reacting to climate change violently or by raising the alarm of the harms done by ‘speaking’ out. Tagaq brings ecohorror to her music, articulating clearly that the monstrous is not Nature-in-itself, but settler-colonial humanity.

Read at Gothic Nature Journal


The main theme of Kisima Inŋitchuŋa is made clear through its English name, which is based on a direct translation from Iñupiat: never alone, or “I am never alone”. Nuna may be the only human actant in the vast majority of the game, but she’s never solo. She has her steady and dependable companion, Fox. Fox’s dependability continues after their death and they are reimagined as a spirit that can continue to connect Nuna with both the natural and spiritual world, which are considered one-and-the-same in Iñupiaq culture. Spirits, the Aurora Borealis, and other animals are constant presences throughout the game, and engaging with these beings in respectful relations brings game play success.

Read at First Person Scholar

Unsettling Colonial Mapping: Sonic-Spatial Representations of ᐊᒥᐢᑲᐧᒋᐋᐧᐢᑲᐦᐃᑲᐣ (by K.Barnes & K.Cowley)

This map is a sonic engagement of Treaty Six on the North Campus of the University of Alberta. Campus has a long history as Native Land, be it as a traditional meeting place for diverse Indigenous peoples (Cree, Blackfoot, Métis, Nakota Sioux, Dene, Saulteaux/Anishinaabe, Inuit, Haudenosaunee, and others) on the banks of the kisiskāciwani-sīpiy (North Saskatchewan River), as the homestead of Laurent and Eleanor Garneau, or as a Papaschase Cree settlement – forcibly disbanded by the government only 20 years prior to the university’s founding.

Read more & listen to the map

Presenting our Presence – Episode 4: Environmental Racism & Videogames, with Kateryna Barnes

Videogames have often been about conquering lands and animals as opposed to living in relation with them. Join Kateryna Barnes as the guest for the fourth POP episode, where she discusses the inspiration for her thesis, her role on the Indigenous advisory committee, and the relationships she’s fostered along the way at the University of Alberta.

Watch on YouTube