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Prototype Test Documentation

The “I am a settler” prototype of an experimental short film piece is meant to hang in a gallery on loop, where each person sits alone in a room with the camera and says “I am a settler.” Inspired by Andy Warhol’s Screen Tests.

The Screen Tests are a series of short, silent, black-and-white film portraits by Andy Warhol, made between 1964 and 1966, generally showing their subjects from the neck up against plain backdrops. The Screen Tests, of which 472 survive, depict a wide range of figures, many of them part of the mid-1960s downtown New York cultural scene. Under Warhol’s direction, subjects of the Screen Tests attempted to sit motionless for around three minutes while being filmed, with the resulting movies projected in slow motion. The films represent a new kind of portraiture—a slowly moving, nearly still image of a person.[1] Warhol’s Screen Tests connect on one hand with the artist’s other work in film, which emphasized stillness and duration (for example, Sleep (1963) and Empire (1964)), and on the other hand with his focus after the mid-1960s on documenting his celebrity milieu in paintings and other works.[2]:12–13 - Wikipedia



I have never really thought about being a settler. Even when people ask me where I am from because of my name, I just say that I am Canadian (even when my last name is Ukrainian) because my immediate family is from Canada. It made me nervous to say however, because at the same time I am not 100% sure if I am.. or am not. And I don’t want to place an assumption on something that I might not be. This testing period has made me think about my family and ancestry however!

C: It was a good exercise. I have done something similar in a group, but not in front of a camera. There’s a difference between knowing it and saying it. I also wondered how the perception of this term might change over time - if for example in more decolonized future it will seem like I was
defending being here.

R:I would say it made me nervous because I didn’t want to mess up saying it because I am aware of my complicity in the nature of the issues, I was uncomfortable in that how would I be perceived in the future by those watching - I had a bit of pressure for performativity too!  In having the camera pointed at me and being aware of my image being recorded and wanting to have it imprinted in a respectable and “right” way

I Am A Settler test:

Week 1 thesis prototyping documentation

Original Prototyping thoughts:

Interested in creating a series of art pieces/multimedia objects that engage people on issues primarily around colonialism and white privilege using the concept of the reverse gaze and attempting to subvert colonialist/bigoted points of view and encourage critical thought and reflection. One of my research questions is how to engage these issues in a non-appropriative way.
In terms of content, I hope to use humour in some instances as an entry point, on these issues with my process being informed by historical and statistical data and narrative interviews. Also interested in   theatre verbatim
For medium, I was originally working on a documentary film minus the humour angle on issues in my hometown of Thunder Bay. I will still be working on that project but on a longer timeline separate from thesis.
For my current iteration, I have ideas for and plan on exploring vr, ar, data viz, sculpture, film, ai,  and photography, long-term, for this class I’m open to suggestions, but will most likely work in data visualization(maybe mapbox) given the time the other medias take to work in, though I am currently building a sculpture prototype I could bring in but couldn’t really work on. Alternatively, I could also sketch out some of the works on paper./do mood boards. Mostly because I have ideas for several different technologies, I’m currently focussing on building up skillsets in as many areas of interest as possible.  

Advice given by Anna at CFC: Interview your cohort during prototyping time at CFC as research to then respond to with your critical making.

I decided to do video interviews for accuracy and so I could review things like body language at a later time.

Rough draft of questions:

Do you identify as a Settler? Yes/no?


What does being a settler mean?

Do you see yourself as a colonizer

Ethnic/racial/cultural identity

What kind of privileges do you enjoy?

Do you think other people or groups are more privileged than you?

If Canadian - When were women given the vote in Canada? Did you know that was for white women only? Insert stats on POC vote, Indigenous was later than all others = 60’s

In what ways are you racist?

What do white people need to know about race?

Savaya took notes for me when I did Dave’s interview:

 Notes for Kristy’s Interviews on Prototype #1:

Dave Answers (general):

·     No to settler because of my ancestry

·     Descendant: yes

·     Consider Canada a colonized land:  yes / but a difficult question based on my opinion on other people / attitude I don’t care of your race – only care if human

·     Ethnic identity: Irish – but identify as Canadian

·     Identify as white: no, as human

·     Privilege: Being able to say I don’t care because I get handed things easily because of my skin tone. White privilege: Yes

·     Financial factors – trust fund babies for privilege

·      Race – the observation of cultures – like Asians and concept of space

Group Feedback on Kristy’s interview:

·     How concerned are you with survey accuracy? The answers people will respond with based on being in an interview?

·     Avoid surveys based on the challenges you will find – leave it broad and open.

·     Don’t record it yourself, just have the interviews with two cameras (filming face) and body language and take your personal notes to see what surprises you

·     Have IMP questions and with the set of profiles for the people you will need for a range of responses

·     Get body language because it says a lot

·     The details in people’s answers based on the questions are impacting and will give interesting ideas on what to create

CFC Feedback:

  • Joseph and Nadia liked my idea of starting with the “do you identify as a settler” question as a way of knocking the interviewee a bit of kilter.
  • They also really liked the idea of using game play as part of my thesis and suggested I look into role playing board games like those old VHS murder mystery games or the game “Werewolf
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