Ghosts is an experimental video that uses illustration and digitized 8mm film to explore concepts of childhood, sexuality, chrononormativity, indoctrination, and (metaphorical) death. The video disrupts the boundaries of past/present/future, birth/life/death, and humans/ghosts/monsters and encourages a dynamic engagement with such spaces.
Ghosts is based on the novel, The Chrysalids by John Wyndham, that many children in Canada read in school. The novel centres on a post-apocalyptic future where people, animals and other living forms that present physical differences are ousted to 'the fringes' by a strict Christian society. Within that society, a group of children develops a telepathic ability, a non-visible difference, that must be hidden from the dominant norm for fear of being ostracized. I was drawn to the non-visible difference as a metaphor for my queer Otherness in an immigrant Italian-Canadian, Roman Catholic upbringing.
Ghosts was edited according to the structure of the novel where the Otherness of the telepathic children becomes visible through their embodied actions, such as speech and movement. The novel is coded, each page equal to one second, and the video edited according to pages where Otherness is made visible. Still images, repetition, and non-linear narratives were techniques used to resist normative, structural time. Illustrations of child-monsters fuse with personal family footage to reveal relationships between embodied subjectivity and regulatory (religious, familial, temporal, institutional) culture.
This project is supported by the Canada Council for the Arts.