Video compilation created by Bart Trotman of Invisible
Video compilation created by Bart Trotman of Invisible
A short documentary of SoundLAB by artist Paula Damesceno
A culminating SoundLAB performance at Festival Park in downtown Greensboro, October 5, 2012
Final SoundLAB Composition documented at Elsewhere - October 8, 2012.
To quote Weaver Academy art teacher Ms. Woods, “It all came together in the end,” in spite of challenges like new forms of collaboration, process-based practice, and media-based storytelling. The project culminated with a performative score John Cage would be proud of, integrating sculpture, performance, and media in a downtown excursion that enlivened the streets of Greensboro. The idea: bring together eight disparate yet similar sculptures that broadcast in public spaces a chorus of sounds, sights, and voices created by students through a month-long media experiment with Invisible artists Bart Trotman and Mark Dixon.
On Friday, October 5 the score launched from Weaver Academy on Spring Street down Washington Street, and onto Elm Street. It was a sunny autumn day: perfect weather for marching mobile sculptures made from obsolete technology down bustling Greensboro streets. Project participants came together for the journey, and it truly was a fabulously collaborative grand finale for all! We were met with many curious gazes as we proceeded along our journey to Weaver Fest, but all the more opportunity to share with spectators what Soundlab is and has done in only one fast paced month!
When Weaver Academy and Guilford College students arrived at Festival Park, sculptures were arranged in a row for the screening debut of their films, which were played twice during the event. It really was something to see all of the students’ VHS tapes running at once. The row of television screens nestled within each sculpture let viewers look in on a group of young people peering out into the world, making meaning of their own experiences through performance, and sharing themselves and their creativity as they prepare to transition from high school to the next adventures. Crowds gathered around the screens and even though video performance was new for many, all were able to experience both a new and an obsolete way to artfully and expressively communicate. Best of all, the artists themselves were there to engage in conversations and create a live performance with their audiences—a real happening, for sure.
After the festival, sculptures made their way back down Elm Street to Elsewhere, where they provided a most curious exhibit for several days before being returned to Weaver Academy. This was a remarkable journey, particularly considering dynamic changes, negotiations among collaborators, and the considerations of space and mobility. After Guilford College students finished welding the sculptures, they made their way to Weaver Academy where students worked on final touches throughout the week. Covered wagons received covers, sculptures were painted, decorated with bells and beads, and enlivened by Weaver students. On Friday morning, hearts raced as we all wondered, “Are we going to finish all of this in time? Can it be done???” But, as the curtain closes, Ms. Wood’s reflection reminds us that it all came together in the end! We hope students take with them many lessons and insights about working collaboratively, the understanding that the give and take of creative process is truly worth some of the frustrations; the patience and persistence of process, and the continuation of curiosity to engage in these sorts of creative experiments!
Tech support on the line, we are ready and willing to debut videos, sculptures and performances.
Weaver Academy students have been grappling with and working through process for several weeks now. This week, however, we saw how little pieces come together to tell a larger story. Although some students struggled with VHS camcorders, most were putting together the final touches on the video portions of their projects. Over the past few days, student groups of two made a series of video clips responding to a playful exercise in ad-libbing and self-portraiture developed by artist group, INVISIBLE.
To launch each video, students gazed into the camera for 30 seconds (a much longer time to stare than one may think!). We are used to VHS homemade films being windows for looking in on both the remarkable and the quotidian moments of each other’s lives: first steps taken, birthdays celebrated, soccer games won or lost, etc. However, students reversed the gaze; it is you, the viewer, who is being watched, the viewer whose life is on display. This was followed by personal insertion and response, filling in the blank to sentences such as, “I cannot focus on___.” There were responses one might expect from teenagers in high school: “I cannot focus on homework,” for example. Then there was, of course, the flip side to this first query: “I can focus on ___.” Student responses included: television, trains, and growing. If your interest is piqued by the videos in development, and it very well should be, stay tuned for the premiere screening at Weaver Fest!
Another way the pieces came together this week was during a much-needed fieldtrip to Guilford College on Friday. First, students saw Stephen Hayes’s haunting sculptural project “Cash Crop,” which is currently being exhibited in Guilford College’s art gallery. For more information, see: http://www.burnaway.org/2010/08/stephen-hayes-appears-on-cnn-and-makes-mothers-cry/. Just as Hayes uses art as a way to reach back to silent/silenced narratives, Weaver students’ projects have been dealing with connecting art, narrative, and memory. After this, students made their way over to Guilford’s art building, which houses rooms for sculpting, print-making, and painting. Here, students saw how all of their hard work thus far—planning, narrating, building—was coming together in the form of nearly completed sculptures. Covered wagons, bookshelves, greenhouses, etc. are starting to look like the real deal. They met and talked with their Guilford College collaborators before getting some lunch and heading back to Weaver Academy. In the up-coming week, students will tie up the loose ends in preparation for a parade of these mobile obsolete technology sculptures through downtown Greensboro.
Sculptures are coming together for this week’s performance in downtown Greensboro
606 News Team Chris Kennedy and Elizabeth Thompson report live from Weaver Academy as SoundLAB’s debut nears…Tune in and listen up.
Weaver students find the identity of their projects at Guilford College | September 28 , 2012
Field Trip to Guilford College’s sculpture studio to see the progress of our mobile tech carts.
Video production begins!
Bart Trotman of INVISIBLE gives Weaver students a video production tutorial