A collaboration between the Post Cards Canada project and the Scarfe Digital Sandbox allowed participants in the BEd program in 2016-2017 to virtually place themselves inside a landscape, a work of art or any creative commons image using ‘GreenScreen technologies’ in order to create unique projects.
This unique digital-technology infused art project was developed as a collaboration between Scarfe Digital Sandbox (Yvonne Dawydiak) and Natalie Leblanc, an artist in residence in the Faculty of Education as part of StudiOCanada, an ongoing project funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. Natalie’s residency utilized art to provoke new ways of conceptualizing what it means to be Canadian as we approach Canada’s 150th anniversary of Confederation. Yvonne, in her capacity as digital technology integration mentor in the BEd program, worked with Natalie to consider how digital technologies might be integrated into art projects.
For me, the opportunity to collaborate with Natalie Leblanc, our Artist in Residence, was an exciting one. As with any collaboration, I was able to bring the possibilities of digital technologies and be inspired by the potential for integrating the selected technology within a particular academic context. Working with a practicing artist undertaking a research project added even more interest! (Yvonne Dawydiak)
The Post Cards Canada “Creation” was inspired by artist Basil AlZeri’s, The Post Card Project, and centers on the Canadian landscape through the use of national postcards. “The postcard, as a tourist and postal document, is often used as a reminder of what Canada is “supposed” to look like.” This activity might provoke individuals to disrupt the image in some way through their selection of images or message, to complement it or make a personal connection.
Prompt: Using a found (or made) postcard, recreate the Postcard Project photo by artist Basil AlZeri in a place of your choosing. Hint: You may want to play with the contrast between the postcard and the background/landscape. Images below from our Post Cards Canada pop up event in the Scarfe Foyer Feb. 1, 2017
Possibilities: This activity is highly adaptable and could form part of a study of a particular artist, technique or school of art. For example, students might explore the works of a Canadian Artist, investigate the techniques, materials and processes and then create their own inspired imagery. The ‘post card’ the students create could then be held up in front of the green screen backdrop and an image that contrasts or perhaps one that inspired the work could become the background. Note: From experience, I recommend that after exploring the individual artist, artworks or school of art, that you remove the images from view prior to students creating their own works. You might, in this way and through the discussion and emphasis on process, avoid derivative efforts that merely try to duplicate a particular work.
Visit the StudiOCanada website to view a post card project incorporating ‘Group of Seven’ artworks as background.
NOTE: From my perspective as a mentor of digital technology integration, it is important to be aware of copyright – especially in published work – and I am a strong proponent of appropriate attribution and using Creative Commons Images (cc). As a teacher, I believe it is important to help our students understand their responsibilities as digital citizens and would include developing an understanding of, and respect for, copyright in this category. Using Creative Commons images (as we did in our session) and helping your students develop appropriate citation practices is a great place to start.