Greater Forest Lawn

YOUTH ARTS ACTION (South) and WHAT FEEDS US are our primary program in GFL. They are both comprised of youth aged 15-18 who act as creative leaders in their community.

Can You Tell Who is From Forest Lawn?

The #EYESONTHEAVE Project

We’ve been busy in August with Summer Camp. This year we hosted at a Public Art Photography Youth Camp during August 8-19.

We wanted to meet strangers in the Greater Forest Lawn neighbourhood. So, we gave a group of youth some cameras, taught them how to take portraits and then sent them out into the community to meet these strangers, find something interesting about them, and snap a portrait pic of them. We then also took a handful of pictures of people who do not live in Greater Forest Lawn but consider themselves Calgarians. In total, the youth took150 portraits of different people.

We then printed these pictures.  We took these printed portraits and taught the youth how to wheat-paste (a simple mixture of wheat and water). To culminate, we wheat-pasted these images to the outside of the ArtBox on 17th avenue SE and asked the community the question: Can you tell who is from Forest Lawn?

These photos were also printed on coropast board, and will tour to different sites around Calgary asking the same question: Can you tell who is from Forest Lawn?

Have a look at the video of our project and keep your eyes out for this traveling exhibition during Beakerhead 2016.

Sound, Art & Updates - A Post by Artist Caitlind Brown

 

“And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don't believe in magic will never find it.”
~ Roald Dahl, The Minpins

At the beginning of the year, we started working on Whispers in the Tall Grass, a multi-channel sound installation to be embedded in the new hills of the new Natural Park in Forest Lawn, scheduled for install next summer. When the piece is finished, invisible voices will speak quietly from the grass, and curious listeners will be invited to lay on the hills, listening to a soundscape of composed foley and voice recordings telling stories, posing questions, and spinning tales. Centering around ideas of HOME as a metaphor for origin and belonging, Whispers in the Tall Grass explores intersections between real + imaginary, public + private, documentary + myth, collaborative + intimate, stranger + neighbour, intended to grow a sense of place between neighbours. 

With the first (recording) phase of the project complete, and the second (editing) phase of the project beginning, now is a good time to reflect on the project so far. Designed to push our team to think more about relationships as artworks and landscapes as exhibition spaces, Whisper in the Tall Grass has been an experiment for all of us – youth and facilitators alike. 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=71Eoz7nD4I4

When we started in February, we began by discussing the medium of Sound Art – what is sound art? How did it evolve? Is it more closely related to contemporary art or experimental music? To answer these questions, we looked at a series of quintessential sound artists from the Fluxus Movement all the way to current day.

One of the most interesting initial conversations was about 4 minutes and 33 seconds, an early sound composition by experimental composer John Cage (video above). The composition begins as any traditional piano performance: the pianist walks out on stage, sits in front of the piano, open the fallboard to expose the keys, and then – instead of playing – he sits there in increasingly awkward silence, interrupting only by the shuffling of the audience and the occasional cough, for exactly 4’33”. At the end of this period, the pianist closes the piano and leaves the stage.

The composition, according to Cage, actually takes place through the sounds made by the audience and environment during these 4 minutes and 33 seconds of “silence.” The piece, which was controversial at the time, remains famous for its conceptual relevance: Is it music? Is it art? Does a recording of this artwork count, if the liveness of the micro-sounds filling that silence are what constitutes the art?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ncWFLzVrwU4

https://vimeo.com/73251458

We looked at many other sound artists too, notably two of my favourite contemporary Canadian artists who utilize sound frequently, Janet Cardiff & George Miller (videos above).

While sound art is still not familiar to most people, William Hellerman (curator of Sound/Art at the Sculpture Centre in New York City) is documented as being the first to popularize the use of “Sound Art” to describe experimental, sometimes jarring audio + acoustic projects in the early 1980s. Hellerman said "hearing is another form of seeing,” and that “sound has meaning only when its connection with an image is understood... forcing participation in real space and concrete, responsive thought rather than illusionary space and thought." With that in mind, we discussed the materiality of sound art, looking at some works (below) that utilize the inherent sounds of various materials to build beautiful audio compositions

http://www.zimoun.net/2015-250.html

https://vimeo.com/93604406

For me, it was interesting trying to tie sound art back into everyday life. We went to CJSW (the Campus & Community Radio Station) for a visit, and spoke with Myke Atkinson & Kai Sinclair – staff members who also create ambient/noise music. They showed us some of their work, and talked about the experimental sounds made by drone musicians. We toured the station, and it was awesome to see some of the kids picking through CJSW’s extensive library, remarking over the vinyl (“they still play this?”) and trying to find their favourite Calgary-based bands.

A few weeks later, we went to EMMEDIA and picked through their strange and exciting digital devices with their Production Coordinator Bryce. Here, we talked about the practicalities of sound & noise making. For example, if anyone from the group wants to keep working with sound art in the future, EMMEDIA is an amazing resource for recording, editing, and making strange noises.

https://vimeo.com/29058834

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y7ZG8kbtZZs

This was just the beginning. We spent a majority of Phase One interviewing strangers and each other. While audio recordings were definitely a challenging process requiring boldness on the part of Antyx Youth, and patience while collecting (there wasn’t a lot of immediate gratification), hopefully the experiment will pay off. We’re now beginning Phase Two – which will involve not just the editing of audio but a full renovation of the Natural Park (including the installation of the hills!) Stay tuned for more updates.

Whispers in the Tall Grass

Whispers in the Tall Grass is a community-generated audio installation that will be featured in the Forest Lawn Natural Playground between the months of August and October 2017. The project is produced by Antyx Community Arts and local artist Caitlind R.C. Brown in partnership with Parks Foundation. The past two weeks, we've been chatting with the public at the Forest Lawn Natural Playground and the Forest Lawn Public Library. 

The youth from the Antyx Community Arts Youth Arts Action team have been working to finesse their interviewing and journalism skills over the past term. Using these skills they have ventured into the Forest Lawn neighbourhood to engage residents with their community, their connection to home and their relationship with other neighbours. The youth are audio recording these interviews. Snippets from different interviews will then be edited down into an audio montage featuring the collective and diverse voices of Greater Forest Lawn. This audio montage will be placed in the speakers installed in the berms that will be built up this summer in the construction of the Forest Lawn Natural Playground.

If you are interested in having one of the youth do a 10-15 minute interview with you please contact kevin@antyx.org. Or you can check out one of our upcoming pre-planned community events:

May 17, 2017 4:00 – 6:00 PM            International Avenue
May 24, 2017 4:00 - 6:00 PM            TBC/ Antyx Community Arts Office

 

Interview with Caitlind r.c. Brown

Over the past few months the Forest Lawn Youth Arts Action group has been busy working with local Calgary artists Caitlind r.c. Brown to complete a public art sound installation for the Forest Lawn Natural Playground. We sat down to ask Caitlind a few questions about her work and her process.

Stay tuned for more images on this finished project and other projects the Youth Arts Action team is completing in Greater Forest Lawn

Kevin: Hi Caitlind. Can you tell the folks reading this a little bit about yourself and your past work?

Caitlind: Hi! My name is Caitlind r.c. Brown and I’m a local artist and collaborator. I grew up in Calgary, came of age working at Tubby Dog and CJSW, and went to art school at Alberta College of Art + Design (graduating in 2010, Year of the Tiger). For me, art has been a long-standing romance, beginning in the woods as a kid, stretching out towards the stars as an art student, and ultimately grounding itself in the urban landscape – from magic, to sci-fi, to social space. My arts practice is primarily experiential. The work I enjoy making almost always acknowledges the viewer as an integral component of the art, inviting them to participate as an active contributor. I don’t believe that art exists inside a bubble (the white cube is a myth!) rather, I’m most interested in projects that acknowledge the complexity of their social, cultural, political, environmental, local, national, and international context. Why shouldn’t artists think holistically about the surrounding world? After all, our art is part of that world – subversive or not.

 

Kevin : What are you curious about these days? 

Caitlind: This sounds so boring, but lately I’ve been curious about economics. I never really thought about it (either than thinking about $$$) until I got hooked on Freakonomics. The idea of exchange is interesting to me – essentially, how do we negotiate sharing, worth, and trade on an extremely broad scale? It’s not just about money, it’s about kidneys and feminism and productivity and predicting the future. It’s about value systems, and I find value really fascinating, especially in how arbitrary it often seems.

Right now I’m also curious about pop culture, optics, Better Call Saul, curatorial practices, #blacklivesmatter, socialism, those new hyper-efficient incandescent bulbs, Turkish politics, the National Music Centre, and Donald Trump’s hair.

 

Kevin: What has been the most interesting thing about making this project? 

Caitlind: I’m delighted to be collaborating with Antyx over the coming months to develop a new, experimental, public sound installation called Whispers in the Tall Grass. This project has already been a learning curve for me – I’m a serial collaborator, most commonly with my partner Wayne Garrett, and working as the Lead Artist behind this installation has already offered several moments of self-reckoning. But this artwork ultimately remains a collaborative project with the Antyx Youth and the broader Forest Lawn community.

Already I’ve been impressed by how amazing the Antyx Team is, and how insightful the youth are – especially considering their scant years. I suspect the most interesting part of the project will happen when we begin to interview the local community, collecting stories and secrets, peering into the unexplored memories of strangers (future friends?) in Forest Lawn. There’s always a hidden sub-narrative to the people around us, and I can’t wait to dig deeper!

 

Kevin: The work we’ve been doing with the Youth Arts Action youth has been around interviewing/getting to know strangers. I’m interested in an unforgettable interview or your conversation that you’ve had in your past with someone.

Caitlind: This is a wonderful question! There have been so so many – this is a hard question to answer. In terms of more formal interviews, one of the most memorable was a hotel-room interview I did for CJSW radio with the comedians starring in Fubar 2. They were fully committed to their characters, so much so that they were shot-gunning Pilsner and peeing in the sink while I was talking to them. It’s all on tape somewhere…

In terms of casual conversations, I’ll never forget my Driver’s Ed instructor (10-years ago already) telling me what it was like growing up in Bosnia during the Bosnian Crisis in the early 90s. Similarly, I remember my Papa telling me a life-wrecking story over tea and toast about a time in his 40s when he found the body of a little boy who’d drowned in the river. The boy had fallen through the ice in the winter, and it had taken until the spring thaw for him to be found. The little boy’s parents were so grateful to finally lay their son to rest after months of looking.

In general, I like conversations, but I really love stories – even when they’re sad, or challenging, or cryptic. We’re losing the art of storytelling, you know? Probably because we’re slowly losing the patience for listening. That’s ultimately my interest in building an audio installation – it’s a good excuse to learn to listen better, in collaboration with a group of youth who might help me to learn to listen differently. Hopefully everyone (including the interviewees) will get at least a few really solid & insightful conversations out of the experience. Maybe we’ll understand Calgary better? Who knows.

Youth Arts Action Visits CJSW 90.9 FM

 
 

Over the past few months the Youth Arts Action team has been researching what it takes to produce successful audio interviews and sound art installations. After a bunch of successful public experiments in interviewing people on the streets of Forest Lawn, we took a field trip to a local jewel in Calgary – CJSW 90.9 FM Radio Headquarters.

“CJSW 90.9FM is Calgary’s community radio station, based at the University of Calgary. CJSW is a non-profit society maintained and operated by a group of seven staff members and over 200 volunteers drawn from both the University of Calgary student body and the wider city of Calgary population. CJSW broadcasts music, spoken word and multicultural programming on 90.9FM.” (seehttp://cjsw.com) They also claim to be the largest university radio broadcaster in all of Canada.

 
 

The Youth Arts Action team got a behind-the-scenes tour of the station to see how they are organized and what it takes to interview, play music, connect with the community and run a successful radio station.  

In the coming weeks Youth Arts Action will be engaging with community members of Greater Forest Lawn to do audio interviews for an upcoming sound art installation that will be installed in the Forest Lawn Natural Playground in later Summer. The artwork is being co-facilitated by the Antyx Youth Arts Action staff and local artist Caitlind r.c. Brown.

A great big thanks to the CJSW staff for inviting us into their work space and providing us with all the insight into community radio broadcasting.