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David Jhave Johnston, Give Me Your Light


One day in 2008 in Malaysia, by chance, I videotaped two starkly ordinary events: a dying kitten and a chained monkey.  Give me Your Light explores the archetypal capacity of these creatures. The archetypes are death and enslavement. The dying abandoned kitten in a parking lot stands-in for the fatally ill, homeless runaways and abandoned children. The chained monkey suggests slaves, prisoners, abductees, captives, convicts, detainees and internees. Give me Your Light is about the limits of empathy and ubiquitous complicity. The display of Give me Your Light is not a linear video, it is a set of video-clips, sounds, music and words reassembled every two minutes into a new sequence by an algorithm. Events repeat but never in the same order. Clips appear in both monochrome and colour, with music and without, with sound and silent. Contextual structure and affective content collide.


Jhave is a digital-poet who teaches in the School of Creative Media at the City University of Hong Kong. His work focuses on combinatorial poetics, and multimedia poetry. He exhibits and performs kinetic multimedia spoken-screen lecture-poems internationally. He is currently writing a book for MIT Press on digital poetics. Since 1999, he has published language-art online (not paper) at

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