Colonial Encounters of the Pandemic Kind

Programmed by Clayton Windatt

“Colonial Encounters of the Pandemic Kind” is a series of short films publicly available online programmed by Clayton Windatt as an offering to both the Wawasayg Film and Media Arts Festival and the Fabulous Festival of Fringe Film in response to our current climate. This self-guided “film festival” follows Windatt’s recent programming explorations, making minimalist offerings and building on previous programming as both an expansion and recontextualization of ideas in pandemic times. As the world continues to change and shift, the context of viewing repositions the viewer to consider new conditions and reconsider previously viewed works, allowing ideas to be reignited into current space.

Colonial actions have taken place over many generations and within many land masses including the one called “Canada”. In a world where we have begun to use the term “decolonization” as a buzzword that can mean almost anything, “Colonial Encounters of the Pandemic Kind” is an offering specifically intended to explore the connecting points between people within a pandemic mindset. The promotional design references the horror genre not to define each of the included works as horror, but instead to add a context of terror and trauma to the subject of colonization in general. There are obvious horror-based or triggering images within several of these works, but this does not mean that the filmmakers necessarily identify their work as part of the horror movie genre.

Viewing works online replaces the gathering of peoples and can add to isolation behaviour which works against exchange and sharing. As a curator, Windatt seeks opportunities that include “self”, often taking on artistic roles within the projects they produce as an act of collaborating and sharing. This decision addresses attempts at a holistic view of engagement where including self is an offering of adding artistic and/or “curatorial” voice. This is more a community-relational context of inclusion to the subject matter explored and less about major organizational behaviour or structural considerations. Concepts such as “conflict of interest” are rejected in this scenario, as Windatt never compensates themself for artist fees when participating in their own projects yet stands with artists in sharing statements.

This program is a self-guided online journey as a series of contemporary arts films, documentary, shorts, and performative works all created by Indigenous artists sometimes with non-Indigenous artists as collaborators. This program is designed to provoke as an act of education regarding Indigenous relationships, as well as invoke emotions of humour, care, joy, pain, loss, sadness, and an optimism in collective futures as relationships could, can, will be better someday. Included works create contrasts between many people, art forms, statements while referencing both current and historical relationship dynamics, encouraging the viewer to position “self” in relation to the world we all live within. When watching please consider health, relationships, and power dynamics that are playing out on a daily basis within our collective “shared society”. All people have intersecting points between each other across distances both ideological and geographic. Some distances are greater than others, yet we can always make an effort to reach out and share.