Monnet accesses the archive in the interest of distorting its semblance of order and undermining the mythologies that keep it in tact. Disorder, here, means a reversal of hierarchies and reinstituting narratives of Indigenous persons as self-possessed, proficient subjects. Monnet splices and transfigures segments of films taken from the National Film Board of Canada’s archive, such as César’s Bark Canoe (1971), Cree Hunters of Mistassini (1974), and High Steel (1965), shifting the perspective from white marvel to collective affirmation.
The video weaves through scenes of labor in industrial and so-called natural settings, from snowshoe building to the construction of New York’s cityscape. In both landscapes, Indigenous subjects are posited as builders, people who are in sync with their environment and navigate their surroundings with ease. Giving equal weight to what has traditionally been thought of as craft and industry, Mobilize underscores how labor’s integrity is relative to who benefits from its exertion. These images inherently call into question how other classes have accumulated wealth through projects once belonging to Indigenous communities while enforcing these communities’ demands of self-governance.
Tanya Tagaq’s song “Uja” serves as the soundscape for Mobilize, with the acclaimed Inuk throat singer’s breath functioning as a rhythmic pulse to fervent scenes. As the title encourages, Mobilize is a call to action— a communal forward thrust unyielding to Colonialist notions of progress.
Caroline Monnet is a multidisciplinary artist from Outaouais, Quebec. She studied in both Sociology and Communication at the University of Ottawa (Canada) and the University of Granada (Spain) before pursuing a career in visual arts and films. She is based in Montréal. Monnet is an alumnus of the Berlinale Talent Campu and the TIFF Talent Lab 2016. Her award-winning work has appeared in exhibitions and festivals internationally, including the Palais de Tokyo (Paris) and Haus der Kulturen der Welt (Berlin), as part of the Rencontres Internationales, TIFF (CA), Sundance (US), Aesthetica (UK), Palm Springs (US), Axenéo7, Plug-In ICA, Museum of Contemporary Art, Montréal, Arsenal Contemporary Art, Montreal and the National Art Gallery (CA) among others. Monnet is currently working on numerous projects, including the development of her first feature film, selected for the Cinéfondation residency in Paris and a solo exhibition for the Walter Phillips Gallery at the Banff Centre for the Arts.