As a child of the diaspora, no formal institution ever introduced the idea that our history and identity might extend beyond being a descendent of slavery. Ghost Island, seeks to build an epistemological framework and metaphor with which to document and process the dynamic and unseen influences of Caribbean identity; the Black imagination. By visually deconstructing New World-imagination, Ghost Island seeks to uncouple the Black and/or Caribbean narrative from the colonial sphere.
Ghost Island also stands for Suriel's own insular background in Saint Martin, and connotes the New World-condition of complex overlapping histories and immateriality. Suriel proposes that the imaginative lens is arguably the best with which to view how folkloric figures act as an agent in history and animate cultural memory. As a documentary of imagination, Ghost Island posits the Black subconscious as a device for reconfiguring collective memory and reclaiming histories.
Importantly, Suriel’s process also includes interviews with people as a means of visual and empirical research. For Ghost Island, it is crucial that Suriel meets people and gets involved with the community on a more personal level.
This is executed by means of audio-visual recording. Thus oral story telling will always be the point of departure of his research/project. The objective of this research is to understand how the local populations visualize their ancestors, deities, and folkloric figures. With Ghost Island, Suriel tries to answer the three fundamental questions that underlie both his artistic research practice and his own ontology: What constitutes a Caribbean and/or Black identity? How can we imagine this identity? What cognitive tools can be developed to engage with Caribbean/Black identity?