York joint inititative sparks video screening of work by Grade 8 students

The Art Gallery of York University (AGYU) in partnership with Destination Arts, a joint initiative of York’s Faculties of Education and Fine Arts, is hosting a screening of new video works by 26 Grade 8 students from Brookview Middle School, called "Architecture of the Imagination", on Wednesday, June 11.

The screening takes place from 7 to 8pm at the Price Family Cinema, 102 Accolade East, on York’s Keele campus. "Architecture of the Imagination" marks the culmination of a four-month multidisciplinary arts program led by a team of Toronto-based artists and educators, including Allyson Adley, AGYU education assistant; Kathleen Gould Lundy, coordinator of Destination Arts; Carolyn Williams, a language arts teacher at Brookview Middle School; renowned dub poet Michael St. George; accomplished sculptor and installation artist Bruno Billio; emerging documentary filmmaker Sarah Sharkey Pearce; and acclaimed video artist and editor Aleesa Cohene.

Left: Idman Abdulkadir (left) and Corye Murray, two Brookview Middle School students, work on the set design for their video project

"Architecture of the Imagination" afforded Brookview Middle School students the unique opportunity of seeing a project through its various stages of development – from its narrative inception, through its visual manifestation in set design, to its dramatic articulation in voice-over recording – leading up to a final synthesis of all art forms in video production and editing.

Over a four-month period, the students took several field trips to York where they participated in tours of Saskia Olde Wolbers’ exhibition at the AGYU as well as storytelling and drama workshops in York’s Faculty of Fine Arts performance studios.

After introducing students to the art of storytelling and dub poetry, St. George guided students as they took on the challenge of writing their own stories, which were eventually transformed into scripts. During the story writing stage, students also worked with Lundy to strengthen their dramatic performances; rehearsing the script that would later be recorded as a voice over for their video works.

Left: Brookview Middle School students Amanda Darshan (front), Devin Ramessar and Tiffany Seetahal learn how to film and edit their video project

With the support of Billio, students embarked on the set design process, producing sculpture and creating miniature sets that would serve as the visual backdrop for their video work. The final two weeks of the program took place at Charles Street Video, where groups of three students had the opportunity to work with Pearce on the production of their video and the recording of their voice over with sound recordist Ian McGettigan.

Prior to producing their video, students created storyboards as a way of visually mapping out narrative sequences with corresponding sculpture, drawings and set design. Using a high-definition video camera, students alternated between directing and shooting scenes, experimenting with a variety of camera angles and movements as well as lighting conditions to achieve the desired visual and emotional effects. During the video production process, students came to recognize how a carefully crafted mise-en-scene can enhance the mood and atmosphere by layering their story with narrative depth and complexity. Working alongside Cohene at Charles Street Video, students took part in the editing process, deciding what footage would be retained as well as how their video images would be paired with their voice over recording and music.

Right: Students from Brookview Middle School Kevin Li (left) and Roman Panelo work with installation artist and teacher Bruno Billio (right) to create miniature sets

The student artists include: Idman Abdulkadir, Nana Adu-Poku, Basro Ahmed, Ameer Ally, Kamal Brown, Arnelle Collison, Amanda Darshan, Jason Fleet, Michael Hoang, Raymond Hoang, Kevin Li, Raja Mathialakan, Amy Mecksavanh, Hamdi Moalim, Amal Mohamed, Sofia Mohamed, Corye Murray, Jack Nguyen, Karandeep Pabla, Roman Panelo, Devin Ramessar, Tharani Sathasivam, Tiffany Seetahal, Sakishan Subramaniam, Tianna Tomlinson and Quan Tran.

This arts education program is organized and presented by AGYU in partnership with Destination Arts, Brookview Middle School, the Toronto District School Board, Mariposa in the Schools and Charles Street Video.

"Architecture of the Imagination" was made possible through the Arts Education Partnership Initiative of The Ministry of Culture and the Ministry of Education administered by the Ontario Arts Foundation with the assistance of the Ontario Arts Council.

For more information, contact Allyson Adley, AGYU education assistant, at aadley@yorku.ca.