I See No Ships 

An ongoing exploration of the theory of perceptual blindness

2018

Appropriation art collage piece

work-in-progress

A story has long circulated that as Christopher Columbus approached the coast of the “New World,” Native Americans staring out at the water—straight at his ships—could not see them.[i] The theory is that when Columbus’s ships were approaching the Caribbean islands the Native people could not see them because they had no knowledge that such technology existed, and the idea of such a thing was too much for their primitive brains to process so they were blind to the ships.

 

The ownership of cultural narratives and objects through colonial privilege has historically placed the colonizers rather than the indigenous creators in a position to assign identity, authenticity and cultural value; to interpret meanings for the narratives, and to assign objects a place in art or museum archives. It is therefore through the gaze of this institutionally supported mistreatment and exploitation that these people are evaluated. This process is not simply about racial disharmony but rather authorship and authority.

I See No Ships is a multimedia series of works that began in 2002. It is my attempt at transcendence as there seems to be a malevolent inclination to maintain an implicit dichotomy or opposition between ideas of white purity and black or brown primitivism. Within this series, I am interested in addressing the cultural imbalance that stems from a denial of self-authored representations and techniques used to form our understanding of what “ethnic” culture is in relation to the norm. Developing my own narratives for what the subjective minds of colonial plunder might have witnessed I attempt to add a counter perspective to the celebrated depictions of a romantic American experience.

The Prestige,  2018
I See No Ship Trilogy pt. 1 of 3

Appropriation art collage piece

work-in-progress

Runtime: 07:21

I See No Ships,  2018
I See No Ship Trilogy pt. 2 of 3

Appropriation art collage piece

work-in-progress

Runtime: 08:31

Migration/Creation,  2018
I See No Ship Trilogy pt. 3 of 3

Appropriation art collage piece

work-in-progress

Runtime: 04:49

© Chris Christion, Artist/Curator