Christopher Johnstone is a Montreal based video and visual artist who work is broadly concerned with socio-political concepts and themes found in contemporary media. His work centers on dismantling and reinterpreting these ideas through the photographic image - intersecting performance, satire and non-linear forms. He is currently an MFA candidate in Film Production at Concordia University where he is researching his thesis film Five Acres. His project aims to use his great-grandfather’s experience as an indentured labourer from India working in Trinidad in the early twentieth century to speak about race, Canadian identity and its relationship to land.
Rendez-Vous is a reinterpretation of visual artist Stan Douglas’ “Monodrama,” I’m not Gary. In this work a white man seemingly mistakes a black man for Gary while they pass each other in the street. I am intrigued how this work from 1992 subtly addresses the problem of race through misrecognition - a micro investigation of a moment and the various subversions and dislocation within this time.
In this reconstruction however, and in the context of our heightened awareness of each other’s presence in these same public spaces, the subject of the work has shifted to examine the formal qualities and our new relationships to space. The well-being of the individual predominates and outweighs those of the group. While this could give a sense of liberty in our densely populated urban lives, it is more distressing or limiting because of its imposition. How do we come to terms with these new situations? More aware of each other’s physical presence than our biological makeup, the dynamics between strangers is thrown off balance. How do we reconcile these new emotions, and how do we stimulate communication between ourselves in our public spaces?
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