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I See No Ships 
An ongoing exploration of the theory of perceptual blindness
Appropriation art collage piece

“When you can express and articulate what’s happening to you, you have a measure of transcendence over it. It’ gives you speech it gives you self-definition and when you have self-definition and not defined by the world then you transcend.”

James H. Cone

What is the I See No Ships Series: 

Drawing from techniques of collage and found poetry I See No Ships explores the relationship of cultural perception, cultural commodification, and trade. Taking words, phrases, even whole passages from popular and material culture and reframing them.  Imparting new meaning through the cutting, splicing, and reinterpreting of elements.


Within this work, Christion addresses inequity and the techniques used to form our understanding of what “ethnic” culture is in relation to the norm. This process is not simply about highlighting racial disharmony but rather addressing the cultural imbalance that stems from a denial of self-authorship and authority.

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Ima ge from I See No Ships Series

The Myth of the Invisible Ships

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The title I See No Ships is derived from a story that 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. 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.   I See No Ships explores how individual and/or institutional predispositions to patriarchy affect notions of religion, race, class, gender, sexuality, and nation.

Image Credit: from article Rethink Beyond Your Own Reality by Chris Gagnon Posted January 22, 2015 

The Making of I See No Ships Series

Listen to Chris Christion discuss his process of video collage and the creation of this video art series

"The series consist of three separate videos “The Prestige” which draws comparison to systematic racism and the third act of a magician’s sleight of hand routine." 

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 suggest that it is perceptual blindness is not a condition of indigenous population but rather a fabricated dissonance allowing white people to believe that colonial privilege has no historically significance."

I See No Ships,  2018, I See No Ship Trilogy pt. 2 of 3, Appropriation art collage piece work-in-progress, Runtime: 08:31

"The final video of the series explores English and Africana Studies professor Dr. Valorie Thomas’ Diasporic Vertigo. “Migration/Creation” examines what it means to be constantly dislocated, disoriented, and traumatized through different phases of life and what does “self” mean if it requires constant reinvention."

Migration/Creation,  2018, I See No Ship Trilogy pt. 3 of 3, Appropriation art collage piece work-in-progress, Runtime: 04:49
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