Elletson Road: A performance by Charles Campbell

Tomas Jonsson

charles campbell
As we sat gathered in the white walled gallery, Charles Campbell entered the space, his head obscured a light blue and brown patterned geodesic assemblage. Removing this and placing it on a plinth, he obtained a phone, headphones and papers. and sat at a small table, an empty chair across from him.  He engaged in a conversation with someone on the other end of the phone. We were only privy to his side of the conversation as he spoke and listened in calm, but intent concentration.  Over the course of this interview, the subject was gradually revealed.  A retired police officer recounting an incident in a neighbourhood in Jamaica where he had shot and killed a person.  Charles pulled out the story through a compassionate interrogation, attempting to divine the residual effects of this moment on the officer. “How did you feel after that?” “Was anyone in your squad injured?” The call is a recording, an echo of an earlier encounter Charles had with the individual. A person he came to know through work that eventually developed into a friendship.  The conversation takes place on complicated terrain, details of the incident are carefully teased out. There is no antagonism or pressing of guilt.
 The exchange ends without resolution. There is no remorse or redemption for the crimes that have been committed. Charles removes the headphones, places the mask on his head and walks away.

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