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  • Thank You

    by: David Ertel

    channel: About ARTCO

    Funding Agencies and Partners

    This project is possible with the support of: Canada Media Fund, Isuma TV, Centre d'Etudes Nordiques Whapmagoostui-Kuujjuarapik Research Station and Air Inuit.

     

    16-01-2013

  • Today – expanding the model

    by: David Ertel

    channel: About ARTCO

    Based on our experience in Kuujjuarapik – Whapmagoostui and following our internal evaluation, we designed a new and better website and an iPod application that are better adapted to the ARTCO objectives and the children’s needs.

    02-01-2013

  • Collaboration with ‘Healing through Art’ project

    by: David Ertel

    channel: About ARTCO

    After the workshops first organized by ARTCO and the exhibition, our first partnership is with Patricia Falope who organized a series of workshops in the Inuit school of Kuujjuarapik - Whapmagoostui.

    The objective of Healing Through Art was to help children adopt positives outlets for coping with stress and difficult life situations including through acting, music and laughter and to teach them positive avenues for self-expression. Inuit children receive workshops in Hip-Hop, DJ mixing and Egyptian dance.

    Children who had previously participated in ARTCO record the workshops and upload the videos to the ARTCO platform. Glen Tookalook, a child who participated actively in ARTCO, is of great help to make this possible, by helping other children to record and upload their videos and photos.

    02-01-2013

  • Exhibition at Kuujjuarapik – Whapmagoostui

    by: David Ertel

    channel: About ARTCO

    Our original plan is to curate a virtual exhibition of the project. Once we started working in the community we realize that to better serve the project’s objectives and for the children’s benefit, it is more important to have a physical exhibition.

    After a curatorial process, the best pictures and videos made by the children are selected for the exhibition. About 150 photographs (a mix of both pictures and video stills) are printed in 8x10 format and exposed. An ARTCO booklet is created which lists all the participants, the community they belong to, their role, stills from their videos and a personal note for the children about their work from the curator.

    A playlist with a selection of the best films and pictures of each of the participants is played, in a loop, on television screens and video projectors.

    The printed pictures, television monitors and projected images were placed at a low height so children can see them properly: an exhibition made by children for the children.

    Along with the static part of the exhibition a performance by the children is given. This is the moment were Inuit and Cree children physically meet and work together. Children draw a giant whale on the gym floor with tape and placed different instruments along the whale. The community of Kuujjuarapik – Whapmagoostui is represented by the whale in their English, French and Cree names: Great Whale River in English, Poste de la Bailene in French, and literally “Place of the Beluga” in Cree. The children each have one instrument and produce a sound, receive a sound, pass a sound, direct the orchestra, play together or keep silent. Inuit and Cree had drawn their own whale at school and did the same exercise with their classmates. At the rehearsal and the exhibition they do it with the other children group of children.

    At the end, there is a permanent sound installation where children are able to play with instruments and sounds as well as a performance made by the music workshop artist.

    Children spend a long time in front of the television watching videos of their friends but also the videos of the other group of children (either Cree or Inuit) and commenting on the videos. In many cases the Cree and the Inuit children know each other, either because they are of mixed blood or because of other situations.

    The ARTCO exhibition booklet is precious to them. Some children of seven or eight years old cover their booklets with their t-shirt, very carefully putting them inside their jackets to protect them before going outside into the snow storm. No adult suggests this. Somehow these booklets are treated as if they are sacred. We expect to see a lot of booklets in the gym, on the floor, just left behind. Yet we see not one single booklet left behind. Even children who are not ARTCO participants come and ask for a booklet and then for a t-shirt. They love looking at the pictures the others kids have made.

    02-01-2013

  • Music Workshop

    by: David Ertel

    channel: About ARTCO

    Inuit and Cree children receive a sound exploration and recording workshop. Each group uses their iPods to record sounds of their own culture and play with them in funny, creative and innovative ways.

    In this workshop the artist creates a certain dynamic where children practice listening and emotional awareness.

    The artist provokes sound conversations between children through the creation of a ‘sound language’, and discusses the differences between speaking one language and listening to a language you do not understand.

    Throughout the workshop children also learn how to lead a team. They experience how to be in command and guide the others. By playing instruments, each child learns how to make eye contact before making a sound with an instrument and to make sure the rest will follow.

    02-01-2013

  • Communicating through ARTCO

    by: David Ertel

    channel: About ARTCO

    During this period, children started to communicate with the workshop artists through videos, pictures and audio recordings that they uploaded to the web. Sometimes children ask for specific things, such as to be shown certain parts of Montreal. Artists reply back in the same way by using the ARTCO platform.

    02-01-2013

  • Project Break

    by: David Ertel

    channel: About ARTCO

    Due to the children’s traditional activities and school schedules the animation workshop is cancelled and a break in the project is had so that the Inuit children can focus of their exam period and, in case of the Crees, the children can go hunting with their families.

    This break time allows us to evaluate the impact the project is having so far on the children and to observe their level of involvement when the workshop artists are not with them to do specific activities. This is also an important moment to identify the children who were really engaged and who could potentially inspire the others.

    At this time we also confirm the importance of working with local teachers throughout the project, because they have daily contact with the children, and are easily able followed up with them.

    02-01-2013

  • Update after hospital

    by: DonaldMorin

    channel: DAMMEDIA

    Did not find an elf but found myself at hospital Dec 7th. Got out on the 15th, now at home healing, thanks to all who dropped by and wished me well

    22-12-2012

  • Technology

    by: David Ertel

    channel: About ARTCO

    Northern Context

    In 2012 Northern Canada's internet service is up to 500 times behind southern standards in terms of cost-per-kilobyte. Media files that permit audio-visual communication (i.e. oral, not literary) usually are too large, or too costly, to download or share. Simply downloading a browser application like Chrome can take up to 90 minutes even when using the ‘best’ internet services available. Low monthly data limits quickly are exhausted by media use.

    Community Context

    In Kuujjuarapik – Whapmagoostui, most children do not have access to a computer at home. If they do, they have extremely low-speed internet or no internet at all.

    In both the Cree and the Inuit school, technology guidelines are set by school boards based in southern cities like Montreal, and by people who may never visit these isolated communities and who are unaware of their technological limitations. When problems arise, professionals must be flown in to fix them. This situation makes local staff uneasy about the addition of new technologies. Internet at both schools is only accessible to children on the school computers in the computer lab and during the computer class. In the Cree school some teachers have a computer only accessible to them in their classrooms .

    ARTCO strategies and solutions

    The Media Player Solution

    The ‘Media Player’ is a local server that allows people in the communities with low-bandwidth internet connections to view ARTCO’s multimedia content at high-speed even when using a slow internet connection. This technology, designed by Isuma, offers a solution to a problem many communities face in Northern Canada and worldwide: slow and expensive internet connections.

    To achieve it’s objectives, ARTCO designed and developed new functionalities for the IsumaTV Media Players enabling them to receive video, audio files and images created with the iPods. The created content is sent directly to the Media Players via WiFi. The media players look like desktop computers. They have to be plugged to the internet router which provides WiFi internet and is in turn connected to the modem that connects to the satellite dish.

    The multimedia that children upload to the media players is available immediately to the anyone else who is connected to the same network that the media player is connected to. So, if an Inuit child uploads media to the Inuit school media player, anyone connected to the Inuit school network can view that video, photograph or audio immediately after it is uploaded. Overnight, this media is uploaded to the website and available worldwide.

    Some of the most important advantages of the media player system are:

    • It allows children to have access to faster upload speeds and to playback their content almost immediately (approximately 1 to 2 minutes after the upload).
    • Users download new content from the website only once. Each time someone connects to the internet network in which the media player is plugged, they are viewing the media at high-speed because it is coming from the media player, not from the website. This means that by using the media players people avoid downloading from the internet the video each time they want to play it, making the viewing experience fast and avoiding paying for the bandwidth it takes each time you view a video in one of these communities.
    • All the media produced locally stays easily accesible locally but it is also shared worldwide through the website to which the content is uploaded automatically overnight, every night. 
    • In the same way, the community also has access to all the new content that is uploaded to ARTCO or to the IsumaTV platform which hosts ARTCO, after the media player downloads this new content overnight. This means that with the media players, the community has access to a large media library of indigenous productions: archives from the past and contemporary productions. In 2012 IsumaTV has 5,000 films made and uploaded by indigenous people from Canada and countries as Mexico, Greenland, Bolivia, Peru, Australia, Brazil, Mali, Russia, among many others, all of which are stored in the media players.

    Strategies

    Two new internet satellite connections and media players are installed in both the Inuit and Cree schools.

    ARTCO’s iPod application and website is designed to be visually intuitive with the least amount of text as a response to a combination of both, a strong oral cultural tradition and high illiteracy rates.

    Inuit and Cree children website profiles are listed under the same navigation menu, ordered alphabetically. This structure promotes reconciliation between Inuit and Cree children in an indirect way, and encourages them to explore the media made by the other children.

    The iPods become not only the tools to create and upload media content but also the main tool to view the content the children produce.

    Internet access and technology

    In Kuujjuarapik – Whapmagoostui most people rely on an internet connection provided by Tamaani Internet. In 2012 the basic internet connection offers: 512 Kbps download 128 Kbps upload, with a bandwidth limit of 10GB per month. If the user reaches the monthly bandwidth limit, the service for the remainder of the month is slowed down. In reality a user never experiences a 512 Kbps download speed as advertised, simply because a portion of the bandwidth is used by the modem and by the Internet Server Provider to keep the line open. In addition, the varying quality of the connection can also slow down the download and upload process. In fall 2011, while we were developing the activities, it was reported by the communitythat the download speeds were around 128 Kbps on the good days, and sometimes it could drop as low as 56 Kbps. The experience of downloading Google Chrome (40 MB) at a download speed of 64 Kbps would translate into a waiting time of 1.38 hours.

    Computers, browsers and operating systems at schools

    In 2012 most of the systems at the Cree and Inuit schools in Kuujjuarapik/ Whapmagoostui are windows based systems, often only running Internet Explorer 7. While Firefox is installed also in all the terminals at the computer lab of the Cree school, it is not necessarily the case at the Inuit school. While it is more challenging to ensure a flawless interaction using technology from older browsers, it is important to keep in mind that a trade off is needed for those cases. Often installing a new piece of software (even a browser) might need to go through a special request through the school administration.

    In general, none of the children are allowed to use the internet or computer lab outside of a class. Children are not allowed to bring their iPods to school, nor connect to the wireless network. Some of the children reported that, during the weekends, they would stand just outside the school to have access to the ARTCO wireless network in order to upload content to the site.

    Personal Devices

    Some of the children have either an iPod touch, a camera phone or a desktop computer at home. Laptops are rare. Some people in the community own iPads.  

    Leisure activities and points of internet access

    In 2012, most of the youth in Kuujjuarapik/Whapmagoostui spend their leisure time at either, the local gym, the youth center, outside playing on the hill or at the beach (depending on the weather conditions) or at home (often playing video games).

    At the gym there is a wireless internet connection accessible by all the visitors, it is not reliable and the weeks that we were visiting we never managed to connect to this resource. However, many or the children participating in ARTCO mentioned that they uploaded content from the gym. At the gym there is also a laptop used by the staff and it is often shared with visitors. The other internet access point is the Youth Centre. We did not have the opportunity to visit the computer facilities, however we were informed by the children that they had a few computers for common use running windows. Some o the children said that their parents have a computer with internet access though not all of them are always welcomed to use it. When that was the case, they visited a friend’s house that allowed them to browse the internet.

    All the children know about Facebook, there was also mention of Bebo and Hi5, no mention of Twitter or instagram. A large portion (if not all) of the older children and teenagers are on Facebook. Their privacy settings vary, some of them do not share anything outside or their circle of friends, some others have a rather open profile and their content is accessible. If they are not on the internet, they spend their computer time playing video games. Some of the children who do not have access to a computer have access to other devices to play video games. The content of the games played are rather simple, and the adoption of video games is not only among the children but also teenagers and young adults. For instance, at the local bar there is an arcade video game where the only objective is to keep a drunken man walking on a straight line by repeatedly pressing a left or right button. Among seniors, bingo is an important part of their evening social activities. People within the community take turns to lead the game and broadcast it through the local radio station.

    Reaching the community: the radio station

    The radio station in these communities is of vital importance. Homes, offices and schools have the radio turned on all the time in order to hear the news in town. While the younger generations might often find the content a bit boring for them, it is still a way for them to learn about what is happening in town.

    19-12-2012

  • Mural Workshop

    by: David Ertel

    channel: About ARTCO

    Inuit and Cree children each watch their own videos and the ones made by the other group. They collectively learn about the daily practices of their own classmate as well as those of the other group. With the help of the mural workshop artist they chose aspects of the videos to express in their mural: scenes they find interesting, relevant, funny and/or important to share with others. They children chose what they want to share.

    The murals are designed to explore what each group of children have been making and sharing, up until this point, through electronic images, and to go from the virtual to the physical world: where the children can feel, smell, touch, appreciate the colors and play with the image dimensions.

    This interaction starts by printing the pictures and stills from the videos shot by the children and laying out on the table with the other painting materials. The children are naturally curious to look through the photographs take by the other group. It is very different for them to look at these pictures and videos through the iPods, than to look at them printed in 8x10 format. Children start to ask questions like “Who is this?” “Where is that?” “Who took that picture?”, as they get, little by little, they familiarize themselves with the other children while interacting with the same media as before but through a different medium.

    The murals created by the Cree and Inuit children and the one created by the workshop artists were then exposed at the community gym, which, to this day, is one of the few spaces Inuit and Cree share in Kuujjuarapik-Whapmagoostui. They were left there after the project closure. The other shared facilities include the airport, the restaurant the grocery store and the bar.

    12-12-2012

  • Video Workshop

    by: David Ertel

    channel: About ARTCO

    As a first step children learn the basics of video making: how to hold the camera in a stable way, how to focus on your subject, how to get the best possible sound and image, how to record without having an upside down image, and the difference between close up shots and full body shots, among other things.

    After getting through the basics, children are introduced to the Isuma-style video making using focused seeing through the camera as a simple ‘no fault’ way to discover meaning and empathy and to make better videos with minimal training. See more at www.isuma.tv and www.isuma.tv/isuma-productions

    Children learn how to edit, add sounds, and make stop-motion and time-lapses using the iPod.

    Children are encouraged to make journalist style videos or photos to explore their own culture’s daily practices. In Kuujjuarapik-Whapmagoostui children were not particularly interested in driving interviews or in interacting with adults.

    ARTCO’s methodology focuses on allowing children to communicate in their own way and about what interests them. Share their opinions, ideas and what they find interesting and give importance to what they create.

    ARTCO explores daily life as an expression of cultural values, an approach easier for children to follow when working with delicate subjects like historical violence and conflict resolution which was the case in the community of Kuujjuarapik – Whapmagoostui (read more at the About section).

    Through the process, the children upload the photos and videos they chose to the ARTCO website, with the option of giving the upload a descriptive title, to share their work with the other children.

    12-12-2012