Interstitial Creative Arts Journal Vol 1 - Special Issue Winter 2017

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INTERSTITIAL creative arts journal volume 1: special issue

Winter 2017 Concordia university’s department of communication studies

The opinions expressed by the contributors do not necessarily reflect those of Concordia University’s Department of Communication Studies, our finanical sponsors or the COMS Guild editorial team. Funding for the journal has been generously supplied by Concordia University’s Arts and Science Federation of Associations (ASFA). Printed and bound in Montreal, Quebec by Rubiks Printing.

INTERSTITIAL Concordia University’s Communication and Cultural Studies Undergraduate Creative Arts Journal

VOL. 1 WINTER 2017

Coms Guild Editorial collective

Cover Photo

Kelann Currie-Williams

(Editorial Designer)

Amanda Macri Catherine Dubé Steffi Matheos Christopher Czich Marisa Sollazzo Estelle Beauchemin-Daoust


New York Spleen by Samuel Gauvreau Des Aulniers 14

The Commute by Harris Frost

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Shadows by Kirubel Mehari

Nicaragua by Estelle Beauchemin-Daost

ARTxFITNESS by Jesse Ostroff & Milton Sanderson


Fear by Clarisa Mendoza

48 At the Altar by Shari Morales Ramos 52

The Toilet by Audrey Nilssen

54 Melanin by Katharine Dickins 62 Minorities by Elijah Lee 64 Long Exposure by Jessica Johnston & Tyler Gillis

New York Spleen Samuel Gauvreau Des Aulniers

I decided to shoot this series when I was visiting New York last winter. I wanted to express the contrast between the energy and excitement of the city to how its vast, immense urban environment can make a human feel lonely. This emptiness evoked a melancholic and gloomy state of mind that moved me. This feeling was particularly present in the large metropolitan city of New York, where nothing seems to be static. The series showcases ten digital photographs, capturing both street portraits and urban landscapes.


new york spleen




new york spleen

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new york spleen

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The Commute

by Harris Frost


nica stepped out of her home and breathed in the over-perfumed air of Jamesson XII. They always made it little too sweet on spring mornings. She proceeded down her quiet, Ancient Britishinspired street and glared disapprovingly at her neighbor’s tacky cactus garden. Looking up at the sky, she realized that she had still not gotten used the purplish hue that the clouds had on this planet. She couldn’t help being nostalgic for her childhood home of Philos, hastily developed as it was, where the clouds were always a bit too white and too opaque according to most


the commute

visitors. Cloud nostalgia aside, beginning to enjoy the more temperate climate of her current home. Reaching Main Street, the spire-like antenna that many in the neighborhood had taken to calling simply the “Eyesore” became mostly visible; its base still obscured the curvature of the planet. Anica internally grumbled upon seeing it, anticipating the nightmarishly long line that was sure to be inside. She picked up her pace and began walking towards it, half-annoyed by the sounds of various vehicles whizzing by her left ear. A little down the sidewalk, she spotted Mr. Dalik intently looking through

the window of a restaurant that had not yet opened for the day. Hoping that he wouldn’t notice her and force her into a seemingly endless conversation about his various skin problems and gene splicing complications that would only make her even later than she was, she sped up even more. Once at a safe distance, she slowed down again and glanced back subtly to reassure herself that he had not seen her. She got the sense that he did, but only noticed her when they were too far away from each other to organically begin a conversation. Inside the Eyesore Anica joined the rather disorganized line of people in front of a wide spherical dome. She watched as the doors to it slowly closed and tightened her stomach muscles in preparation for the slight sting of nausea that always accompanied the muted flashes and

muffled sounds inside the dome. To her surprise the nausea faded quite quickly this time, but she estimated that she would have to endure another five or six bouts of it before it would be her turn to board. An announcement was made that the first 40 travelers in line for the dome bound for MendelVista were now clear to board. She watched again as the heavy, spherical doors closed to reveal an advertisement for living quarters on a newly opened moon. This reminded Anica of how much her team had fallen behind on development which only fed her frustration at being so late. She overheard two older women behind her talking about the terraforming process. One of the women had some very strong, very misinformed opinions on the matter and the other was mostly just agreeing. Anica

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considered joining the conversation but couldn’t come up with a polite way of correcting the woman’s various misunderstandings, so she continued to stand in silence awaiting the next bout of nausea. After many minutes, Anica’s destination is called and she, along with a handful of her co-workers with whom she did not work closely, entered the dome. The interior is very minimalistic, the curved walls are an extremely inoffensive color of dark grey and the floor, the only light source inside, glowed with an orange that was probably designed to be soothing. As the doors close, there is a palpable sense of dread in the dome. The air feels hotter, the floor feels softer and the ceiling has grown darker. Anica does not consciously notice any of these things, but they all feel familiar to her. She does, however, consciously


the commute

notice the vibrations of an unseen engine all around them and the extremely brief bouts of blindness that accompany them. At this point, time begins to feel slower. Anica no longer finds the situation familiar. She feels a growing tingle in her fingertips and ears. The tingling is not painful but it feels aggressive and invasive. She looks around, trying to see if anyoneelse is having a similar experience, only to realize that her vision has gone. She feels a presence, presences, six presences including her own: an older man overcome with fear, a young woman caught up in her own thoughts, someone who loves too much, someone who questions too little, someone who skipped rocks on a lake as a child, someone whose birthday is today. One of them is her, she couldn’t remember which anymore. They all seemed so familiar, like she’d lived every life. She

tries to touch her body to get a clue, she doesn’t have one. Of course she doesn’t have a body, why did she think she did? She wasn’t scared anymore, none of them were. They were all quite happy. They couldn’t tell for how long. They all skipped stones, ate cake, sat on the grass under the golden clouds of dusk, sang at a wedding ceremony and kissed their newborn child all at the same time. After a second, or a day, or a lifetime, the tingles came back for all them as a sort of reminder of corporeal existence. Whatever had tethered them together was now ripping them apart, and this time it was painful. Anica was the first to let go, at least she thinks she was. Thoughts of work, cactus, skies and Mr.Dalik come rushing back to her and the thoughts of the other lives leave her. She smells sterile air with a hint of coffee. She feels the slowing rumble

of the massive engine. She hears muffled chatting. She looks around, she can see again, she’s in the dome and the doors are opening. She sees two men in ill-fitting outfits at a console who wave to her. She waves back passively. Her throat feels dry, as if she’d been crying. She hopes she’s not getting sick. Her and the five other people in the dome leave in silence. One of them brushes up against her momentarily, it feels familiar for a second, but just for a second. She momentarily looks out the window at the barren red craters outside, sighs deeply, and quickly walks to her office to get some work done.



Shadows Kirubel Mehari

‘Shadows’ is a photography series exploring



light and shadows

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Nicaragua Estelle beauchemin-daost

While traveling in Nicaragua this summer, I was blown away by all its vivid colors. The multicolor painted houses and shops gave the streets a cheerful look in the sunniest evenings, as well as in the rainiest days. I wanted to capture this essence by adding local activities into my pictures, portraying Nicaraguans in their everyday life.

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ARTxFITNESS Jesse Ostroff & Milton Sanderson

ARTxFITNESS is a project that utilizes lighting to highlight different parts of the human body. Our goal was to create three distinguished pieces raging from art portraits, conceptual composites and high intensity sports. We wanted to create work that was not only true to ourselves but also for others who share the same love and passion for photography, creativity and bodybuilding fitness.


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Fear. Clarisa Mendoza

A short story and photo series

That day my mom didn’t let me go. It was too dangerous. I was only 12 and I had already been to so many protests. But that one was different. The media said that there would be about two million people marching in protest against the government. My sister and my brothers went, but my parents decided to stay home with me. When you are older, it’s not as easy to run and hide if anything bad happens. At noon my dad decided to go to his office. Even if they were on strike, he used to go once in a while to check things. It was hard for him not to work. But it was a fair cause and he supported it. At some point in the afternoon, the people decided to go towards Miraflores, the president’s residence and workplace.



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I don’t remember the exact time, but we were following the events on TV, when reporters started talking about people being mortally wounded. Apparently, there were snipers all around, and people were running and panicking. Suddenly, all TV channels were forced to broadcast a government message that said that everything was normal; that nothing out of the ordinary was happening. By then, my siblings were back home, but we still didn’t know anything about my dad.







He didn’t have a cellphone, and he was all by himself. He said he would go to his office, but after more than four hours, we knew he was likely where the problems were. No one said anything. We sat in silence. We watched TV and waited. Even if all channels were forced to broadcast what the government told them to, one of them divided the screen and started showing the news at the same time: “More than 15 people killed; more than 30 people wounded.”

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When my dad walked in, I burst into tears.

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At The Altar Shari Morales Ramos


at the altar

This is a photo of the altar at Mary Queen of the World Cathedral in Montreal, a replica of the altar at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. For almost a year now, I have been working at a Catholic media company. This experience allowed me to witness the beauty of the Church: its architectural influence on the city and its dedication to cater to the faithful. Interstitial 51

52 Toilets


by Audrey Nilssen Amelia Kipp was plagued in the worst sense. It was an incurable disease. The kind of disease that caused her to write 50 Christmas cards but never send them. (Addressing envelopes is a drag). The kind of disease that led her to buy all of the ingredients for that fancy new kale dish, when she knew she would eat the burrito in her freezer. The kind of disease that drove her to set up her paints and canvases but get distracted by viral videos. Yep. Amelia had an incurable case of apathy. Follow through was non­existent. No matter the mental pep talk, things (all things; projects, chores, hobbies) remained half­assed.

*** And that, my friends, is my pathetic first attempt at a novel. I have been a ghost writer since grad school. I’ve had this incredible veil of invisibility. My words and I shared zero connection. I had the profound privilege of hiding behind other people’s names. Honesty was a distant cousin no one intended to meet. I’ve written everything from romance to thriller. No matter the genre, the novel was nothing to be proud of. It’s the first time I have to take responsibility for my characters... my stories. And frankly

I don’t want to. That’s one mirror I’m not ready to face. So, here I sit, head in hand, on my publishers toilet, unable to turn in this piece of shit novel. Think of how many bare asses have graced this porcelain today. I wonder which one was the hairiest...if I ever write a movie script, the opening sequence will be a series of diverse butts plopping down on a public toilet. Hell, the whole movie might be from the perspective of the bowl! Maybe I’ll just turn Amelia Kipp into a toilet seat. Maybe I’ll try to leave this stall today. Maybe all I can do is write about shit...



Melanin Katharine Dickins



I’ve always been interested in people; I cherish the diversity among us. I created my first solid set of portraits in 2015 and I have been adding to them since. My intention originally was to create a series of uniquely black people - I called it “Melanin”.

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58 melanin

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The goal was to portray how beautiful people of color are, with particular focus on the Caribbean and African Diaspora.



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by Elijah Lee

If they were alive they’d be nameless But they died so they’re famous You can’t just take it, it’s a life I’m sure they’d rather be alive It’s a struggle we’re still trying to make it Our fire they can never take it Of course it won’t be painless Like being fucked in the anus Oldin has it worse than me ‘Cus Syria’s no place to be The outside is she but he is a man And his parents don’t know trans And you don’t want to play. You just want to win. Life doesn’t work that way And they say you live a sin So you struggle on To the next day And you can’t fast forward Your life is stuck on play



The cops don’t hear what we say But I hear of a new death every single day They don’t see a person they just see a color Shoot first ask later don’t think about their mothers If we die because we’re different Then I don’t want to live The music is who I am, It’s everything I can give White America! We spit into the mic It’ll change nothing. We do it ‘cus it might Kids are dying and they do nothing to stop the hate But they allow guns in school in the lone star state And yet I’m the hypocrite Sitting hidden writing what I should be spittin’ Yeah I’m half white I never worry about my shoes being too tight I got into college using discrimination Wrote an essay on the suffering of the nation The tragedy afflicting over half the population I sit on my throne and they can’t get an education The people who should be erased by natural selection Instead stand tall and win the election While the weak have nowhere to seek protection Instead they cower, trying to avoid detection So as long as minorities drop As long as we’re still afraid of the cops As long as the guns still pop My words won’t stop

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long exposure


The short documentary portrait LONG EXPOSURE is a special invitation into exploring the Montreal metro system through the eyes of brilliant photographer Chris Forsyth. His attention to detail and patience in an otherwise busy environment allows him to capture a simple transport system in a majestic way. This specific metro system is unique in its architecture due a historic competition that led to each station having its own personal designer. As a photographer, Forsyth saw this as an opportunity to capture the life underground and share it with a population that may have otherwise passed by unknowingly with the hustle of the day to day. LONG EXPOSURE captures Chris’ project, to shine light underground, by following his step-by-step independent process. The piece retells Forsyth’s first days with the idea and develops a concise picture of how far he and the MTL Metro Project have come, and what future plans and endeavors may look like. The colors and structures of the metro system compliment Chris’ discipline and consistency, as well as frame the progression of the piece itself. The combination of Forsyth’s very honest recounting of his adventures and artistic experience with the project so far, as well as the raw talent and beauty that is immediately present in his photography, are the elements that hold this piece together. Chris’ charm opens and closes the film, and the only validation needed for his work is immediately found as his photography is revealed on the screen at the climax of the portrait piece. The film’s footage is inspired and makes subtle references to the techniques Forsyth uses when taking his photographs and his interview is also colorfully lit to mirror the vibrancy he brings out of the underground’s tones. Though the piece does focus on the photography of a unique metro system, it is truly about the curiosity and the work ethic and the man behind the camera, Chris Forsyth.

This synopsis was provided by the producers of Long Exposure.


long exposure

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long exposure

Available at: Interstitial 69