curated screening presented at LUX, 04.06.2017
‘I’ Statements are postulated somewhere between assertive and empathetic. Used in therapeutic as well as corporate lingo, they smooth requests—make them palatable—to anchor them in the personal so their user becomes relatable. Their attached demands, pills hard to swallow, are ushered through, coated with honey. That’s the idea. The inferred ‘you’ affected the speaking ‘I’ and something, a behaviour for example, needs to be acknowledged and likely modified.
‘I’ Statements are tools. Their tactical deployment provides a means for many ends. They can be coded in many ways. The works in this programme assert themselves: speaking, showing and complicating the relations of the ‘you’ and the ‘I’ on the spectrum the ‘I’ Statement operates on. Indigenous politics, identity, experience and sovereignty inform moving-image questions, requests and statements. Battling and breathing from the context of settler-colonialism in Canada, which includes macro and micro instances of racism, classism, sexism, and homophobia. There are many statements that need to be heard, ingested whether they are seasoned with pain and anger, or humour and hope, or a mix thereof. The works featured in ‘I’ Statements can come from the gut, and hit there too, but they also enact a simultaneous questioning of tropes, stereotypes, narrative and image-making conventions. They say things by saying them, but also by not saying them in highly coded and nuanced ways. Behaviours may be adjusted as a result.
Works by: Shelley Niro, Thirza Cuthand, Mike MacDonald, Wanda Nanibush, Rebecca Belmore and Paul Wong, Ehren Bear Witness Thomas, Danis Goulet, Dana Claxton, and Adam Garnet Jones.
The Shirt, Shelley Niro, 2003, 5:55.
Helpless Maiden Makes An “I” Statement, Thirza Cuthand, 1999, 6:00.
Rat Art, Mike MacDonald, 1990, 10:00.
Arrivals and Departures, Wanda Nanibush, 2012, 5:15.
VIGIL 5.4, Paul Wong, 2010, 8:29. Vigil performance by Rebecca Belmore, 2002.
Woodcarver, Ehren Bear Witness Thomas, 2011, 5:44.
Wakening, Danis Goulet, 2013, 8:51.
Hope, Dana Claxton, 2007, 9:51.
Secret Weapons, Adam Garnet Jones, 2008, 5:30.
This programme was invited in the context of Montreal artist Kim Kielhofner’s exhibition Reading Patterns at LUX. Discussion followed the screening with Kathryn Siegel and Carly Whitefield.