Interstitial concerns change, things that are in-between. A dead cat in the shallows of the Saint Lawrence river in Montreal, tidal pools near Stanley Park in Vancouver, and a dragonfly nymph that joins a communal picnic and chooses to metamorph on a loaf of bread. Over the course of the film, the cat corpse loses its flesh, the intertidal creatures are washed away, and the dragonfly finishes its morph after the sun has set and flies away.

This is all found footage: as in no planning or concept originated prior to filming.
Circumstances arose; I filmed; then simple made a container to carry what I had witnessed.
Audio recorded during the period of its creation was re-titled whimsically as the dark visual thematic spontaneously emerged.

Technically: a custom Flash interface loads 3 videos, 3 audio files and a phrase. The titles of the audio files become the text of a fluctuating poem under the videos. Phrases change over the videos. Fonts randomly change based on a list retrieved from the user's computer. On the ending of each audio file, the code reaches into the audio archive (100 mp3s), and gets another audio file, displays its title for a minute then fades it out. The film loops around never exactly repeating; all the segments combinatorially shifting like sand in the mouths of barnacles.

Tools: Optio WP, Edirol audio recorder, Flash interface with custom action-script.
Duration: Variable, but approx 30mins. The documentation records one loop (offset) of the cat and cricket and tidal pools. But there is no exact length to the tryptch. The audio-text mutates. Each iteration modulates. Viewer attention is determined by interest and comfort. It is a meditative confrontation with eternal change.


Interstitial was exhibited at Oboro April 24 – May 29, 2010 as an installation with a custom-made stuffed viewing-chair covered in fake fur designed to induce a creepy comforting visceral contact with the reality of overlapping simultaneous mortality and emergence. Tactile transitionings.


Oboro's website described the exhibit as follows:

"With Interstitial, David (Jhave) Johnston offers a poetic exploration of technology leading to a meditation on transformation and on the cycles of birth, life and death. Constructed with code in real-time, this video triptych continuously regenerates and recombines a series of video and audio files as well as shuffled poetic phrases.

In the first video, a dead cat decomposes in the Saint Lawrence River over a period of 10 days. The second video shows micro-landscapes from inter-tidal pools in the vicinity of Vancouver while focusing on the viscid, swirling oscillations caused by tides. The third video presents a black cricket nymph metamorphosing into a newborn dragonfly on a loaf of bread at an urban picnic.
The audio was recorded en route to or at the scene of the filming. Each audio or video clip is named with a phrase evoked by its contents. Ephemeral poems are then constructed from the titles of the files as they are remixed.

Originally conceived for online viewing, Interstitial will be remastered and reconfigured for its installation at OBORO. The generative video will utilize a new engine while the installation includes a custom viewing-chair conceived by (Jhave) and re-skinned by Louise Dubreuil, Sophie Jodoin and Pascaline Knight.

Performance: Within the Interstitial *
The artist David (Jhave) Johnston will read the screen as it evolves in real-time, interspersing code-chosen text and observations on vigils, obsolescence, unity, cats, tides and time."

Try the work yourself : Flash version (dead)

Projects   |   About


Digital Poetry