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. 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.: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: