Fallon Simard

Lindsay Nixon
  • Fallon Simard, Calm, 2017. Photo: courtesy of the artist
  • Fallon Simard, Self Destructive Behaviours, 2017. Photo: courtesy of the artist
  • Fallon Simard, Disassociated, 2017. Photo: courtesy of the artist
  • Fallon Simard, my ptsd hurts, 2017. Photo: courtesy of the artist

Monetized, But Agential, Bodies in Ghost Worlds

Sad Boi extraordinaire, reproductive justice fighter and unabashed tenderqueer — Fallon Simard is a rare voice within Indigenous art. Picking up on the quick wit and viral culture of Generations Y and Z, Simard’s memes light-heartedly consider the complex effects of colonialism on the Indigenous body as if to say, yes, we are hurting and our embodiments can be painful but we are still here — alive, laughing, coping, and loving, despite it all.

Simard’s work should not be relegated to the realm of web-art because of its presumed digital inspirations. Their memes disrupt the assumed disconnection between digital worlds and real life by asking, aren’t Indigenous bodies commodities just like web-based productions: monetized, objectified, and their parts deconstructed for settler consumption?

Settler colonialism and resource extraction result in what Achille Mbembe has called “death-worlds,” which Indigenous bodies resist through articulating practices of haunting, ghosting, and gendered resentment. Simard argues that Indigenous bodies are animated corpses, ghosts even, extinct, dying and of the past — incapable of enacting and embodying the modernity of settlers, and thereby encroached upon by settler colonialism.

But Simard’s depictions of Indigenous ghostings resist representations of the “imaginary Indian” and its logics of disappearance — a literal death imaginary ascribed to Indigenous bodies — through the making of memes that portray Indigenous hauntings, or continuance, as a means of resistance. One meme displays a blur of colours representative of dissociative numbness and a sense of confusion, with a text that reads, “my ptsd hurts.” Simard confronts the viewer with a destigmatized representation of mental health issues that can become associated with Indigenous continuance. Another meme displays McDonald’s fast food, accompanied by the statement “just a little disassociated” — a visualization of coping mechanisms that are often deemed unhealthy or harmful, but actually help in the survival of colonial trauma.

Simard’s work considers the harms of colonialism — and resource extraction in particular — as played out on Indigenous bodies. Though Indigenous bodies are corpses, they too yearn to love themselves back to life. Indigenous bodies are ghosts haunting settler communities, subverting the death imaginary ascribed on them through concerted acts of resistance and refusal.

Captions
Image 1: Fallon Simard, Calm, from the series meme, 2017. Photo: courtesy of the artist
Image 2: Fallon Simard, Self Destructive Behaviours, from the series meme, 2017. Photo: courtesy of the artist
Image 3: Fallon Simard, Disassociated, from the series meme, 2017. Photo: courtesy of the artist
Image 4: Fallon Simard, my ptsd hurts, from the series meme, 2017. Photo: courtesy of the artist

Number: 
91

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