INDEPENDENT CURATORS INTERNATIONAL
EN MAS’

Charles Campbell

  • Charles Campbell, Actor Boy: Fractal Engagement, performance, April 21, 2014, Kingston, Jamaica. Photograph: Marvin Bartley.
  • Charles Campbell, Actor Boy: Fractal Engagement, performance, April 21, 2014, Kingston, Jamaica. Photograph: Marvin Bartley.
  • Charles Campbell, Actor Boy: Fractal Engagement, performance, April 21, 2014, Kingston, Jamaica. Photograph: Marvin Bartley.
  • Charles Campbell, Actor Boy: Fractal Engagement, performance, April 21, 2014, Kingston, Jamaica. Photograph: Marvin Bartley.
  • Charles Campbell, Actor Boy: Fractal Engagement, performance, April 21, 2014, Kingston, Jamaica. Photograph: Marvin Bartley.
  • Charles Campbell, Actor Boy: Fractal Engagement, performance, April 21, 2014, Kingston, Jamaica. Photograph: Marvin Bartley.
  • Charles Campbell, Actor Boy: Fractal Engagement, performance, April 21, 2014, Kingston, Jamaica. Photograph: Marvin Bartley.
  • Charles Campbell, Actor Boy: Fractal Engagement, performance, April 21, 2014, Kingston, Jamaica. Photograph: Marvin Bartley.

Actor Boy: Fractal Engagement, April 21, 2014, Kingston, Jamaica

Actor Boy: Fractal Engagement takes the form of a de facto but unexpected procession though the narrow lanes and bustling markets of downtown Kingston. Twenty-five participants are led along a pre-arranged route, ostensibly to see a piece of performance art. On the way, they encounter both staged and unstaged spectacles and interactions, bringing everyday occurrences into the realm of performance. The real spectacle, however, is the audience itself, as it transgresses geographic class boundaries and enters the temporary space made possible by the performance.

Fractal Engagement stems from a number of interactions with artists I met while researching an exhibition of Kingston murals and street art for the National Gallery of Jamaica. The artists involved had a unique relationship to the complex social environment of Downtown Kingston and were able to move freely across the political and gang boundaries of the areas where they worked. I was granted similar privileges while in their company, traveling through many of Kingston’s supposed no-go areas under the wing of my artist guides. Fractal Engagement attempts to open up a liminal space, one of uncertainty, transgression, and therefore possibility. Set in the context of the city's entrenched social divides and its reputation for violence the performance blurred the boundaries between performer and spectator and examined the suspension, inversion and reassertion of social hierarchies.

Elements from the performance and its documentation were reworked and reinterpreted as the piece moved from a set of highly individualized experiences on the streets of Kingston to an exhibition to be presented at various venues in North America and the Caribbean. The white John Crow, a reoccurring motif during the performance, takes the form of a geodesic sphere evoking both Jamaica's entrenched racial and social divides and Buckminster Fuller's notions of a rational utopia. Photography and video animation participate in a fanciful retelling of the event, giving visual and visceral cues as to the nature of the performance but resisting a notion of straight documentation. The audience is again left to wonder where the performance is.

Updates

Re-Making Fractal Engagement: 6 Perspectives

The Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics recently published a conversation between EN MAS’ artist Charles Campbell and EN MAS’ curators Claire Tancons and Krista Thompson.

Read more »

FRACTAL ENGAGEMENT ON NLS

The Kingston, Jamaica-based arts organization NLS (New Local Space) recently hosted an online discussion with EN MAS’ curators Krista Thompson and Claire Tancons, participating artist Charles Campbell, collaborating artist Kemar Black, and public participant Natasha Levy.

Read more »

About the Artist

Charles Campbell

Charles Campbell is a Jamaican born multidisciplinary artist, writer and curator. He has exhibited throughout North America, the Caribbean and Europe, representing Jamaica and Canada in events such as the Havana Biennial; Infinite Islands: Contemporary Caribbean Art, held at the Brooklyn Museum; Wrestling With the Image: Caribbean Interventions, held at the Art Museum of the Americas and Contemporary Jamaican Art, circa1962 | circa2012, held at the Art Gallery of Mississauga. Campbell has written for Frieze Magazine and is also a regular contributor to ARC Magazine, a Caribbean arts journal.


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