Learning Outcome 3 – Blog Extracts in Support of A5

I have collated the following extracts from my learning log posts that relate to my journey for Assignment 5 so that they are in one place for easy reference. I am presenting it in a diary format. Links to the original posts are on the dates.

14 December 2019

I have come up with a couple of ideas for A5 – some brainstorming is still required:

  • The Japanese-Canadian families who exiled themselves into the valleys between Chase and Tappen for the duration of the Second World War. I’m not sure if any of their houses still stand or even if I will be able to track down descendants of that generation.
  • The Residential schools in this vicinity. I know of at least two – part of one has been incorporated into a museum so access will not be a problem. I need to do more research about the other as it is in another city. Hopefully I could find someone to interview with either of these options.

15 January 2020Documentary Hangout

… I presented my idea for A5 – the Kamloops Residential School to Neil and Jack, mentioning that I may have some problem obtaining permission to shoot inside the building. I think I have some work-arounds to that though. Neil thought the project sounded more like a level 3 piece, which it could very well be, but I don’t want to go too deep down that road for a whole year. I might find it too depressing. Neil mentioned that it all depended on the approach I took to the narrative – from the school’s perspective or from the students’ perspective. I think I’m thinking more along the lines of exposing a hidden history but I’ll see what my research material serves me. I have gathered rather a lot of factual evidence already.

7 March 2020

Just had a bit of a revelation about something that has been lurking in my mind about my A5 project and want to make a note of it here before I forget about it. As I am technically the Other in the narrative that I want to depict, I was worried about seeming intrusive, but I’ve just read a statement in Gevers’ essay where Rosler in her work, The Bowery in two inadequate descriptive systems (1974 – 1975) depicted the alcoholics in that neighbourhood without actually photographing them and thus not “satisfying the viewer’s lurking voyeurism” (Gevers, 2005:88). I think this has subconsciously been where/what I was feeling too, but now that has been clarified for me and this will help me fine tune my shooting list.

OK … I’m very happy! I’m not going to need any fancy video making software for my slideshow. I’ve been testing PowerPoint’s capabilities and I’ve created a quick and dirty prototype test slideshow with a few random images, videos and recorded files from my archive (not for public viewing – I’ll make a more suitable test show later on). I’m able to insert a video that already has its own sound, add different sound files to different pages and I can also add multiple sound files to one page and fade the sound in and out accordingly. I’m also able to record an audio file directly onto the slide. I think this pretty much will cover anything that I’m planning to incorporate, so now I can just concentrate on getting all the bits and pieces together.

8 March 2020 (Please click to access full blog post for this entry – PowerPoint Tests)

21 March 2020

I also plan to do a lot of background reading and watching video footage of the Truth and Reconciliation panels.

I am currently working my way through an extremely interesting journal article about intimate colonialisms in BC’s residential schools. The subject is quite fascinating revolving around the idea of ‘place’ and the concept of intimate place in the form of the bodies of the First Nations’ children. I remember Clive explaining the concept of place/space in a Live Forum hangout more than a year ago and he mentioned that the concept of place was not only a physical one but also a psychological one and I never could quite understand that statement until I started reading this journal article. So very enlightening!

Journal article has been read – really a fascinating read. Would be applicable to studies on mental health issues too. Notes are here. Back to working my way through Behind Closed Doors. Its the type of book that is very emotional and needs to be taken in small doses.

Today kicked off with the Canadian PM announcing that all our borders will now be closed to anyone who is not a Canadian citizen/permanent resident, the exception being US citizens. There is already a meme out there about this announcement – just amazing how quickly these are created and circulated.

Anyone crossing our borders has to self-isolate for 14 days now. I have to wonder how that is going to be enforced though. I imagine its next to impossible. I’m just thankful I’m out in the rural areas and not in the city at this moment in time. Social distancing is much easier here as we have more space and less population to contend with. But it has put a kibosh on museum and gallery visits for me as my husband is in a high risk category, which means I am going to have to be super-creative in my approach to A5. I may have to rely mostly on appropriated imagery for the bulk of my assignment. A few hours later and I’ve just learned that the museums in Kamloops are closed until further notice. Bang goes my hope of photographing inside the residential school …

Well, its now official today. Every museum and gallery in Canada is pretty much closed until further notice. As the PM announced under the Parks & Recreation closures that constitutes everything with a door! …

I made a good start my slideshow yesterday. I have shared the WIP to the ROW group for feedback in our hangout on Sunday.

Test – slide show (Please click to access full blog post for this entry)

22 March 2020Rest of the World Hangout

… We started off by looking at the beginnings of my slideshow for A5. Everyone was on board with the concept. Obviously, I have some fine tuning to do with the timing of some of the slides and I am nowhere near finalising it. Alan made an interesting observation in that I should consider the critical distance from where I’m standing. Am I telling the story from my perspective (as an immigrant/outsider/female Canadian/Westerner) or am I trying to tell the story from the First Nations perspective? I’m aware of the fine line that I’m treading here and am very conscious that I’m trying to be very ethical with this project as it is extremely sensitive. The curation of the project makes it my narrative, that I do understand, but at the same time I am also aware of the danger of sensationalizing a subject and that is not something I want to do.  At the moment I am letting the project organically lead me. I’m picking out quotations and audio clips that allow the survivors’ voices to come to the fore. I do know that this project could become huge if I was to present both the government’s side/actions/reasoning – call it what you will – as well, so I’m focusing on allowing the voices that have been silent for too long to speak for themselves, if that makes any sense. Lots to think about.

26 March 2020Documentary Hangout

I presented an updated version of my WIP slideshow for A5 and it was very well received. Jack said it had moved him almost to tears and conveyed the story very well. Bob pointed out that the volume on one of the videos was a little soft and I agree. I’ll see if I can crank that up, else I’ll have to reshoot it and crank my speakers up to get the appropriate level of sound. He also mentioned that the time on the slide containing the letter from Father O’Grady could be a little longer as he couldn’t quite finish reading it. Bob mentioned that the  slideshow had made him curious and that he had tons of questions and actually made him do a little research and I think this is a great reaction to my work. I was very pleased to get that reaction. Steven, in turn interrogated me as to how I felt about the work, what worked and didn’t – also a good exercise to verbalize, and also felt that the multimedia components worked well with the variety. Everyone seemed to like the drums and chant (it’s actually a healing song connected to the residential schools Truth and Reconciliation Commission). It seemed to tie everything together which was my intention. So overall I’m very satisfied with the critique I received – Jack mentioning that it was interesting that my work had evolved over the course of this module, gradually linking the different assignments together and he feels that all the previous assignments have led up to this one. There has definitely been a thread that has emerged in my work, especially with the bridge between A3 and A5. Both assignments convey the latent history of the First Nations.

28 March 2020

… I spent the afternoon going through some more TRC sharing panel videos. For my assignment, I’m trying to isolate and use only testimonies of people who attended the Kamloops Indian Residential School, so it is a little slow going as I click on through the video to try and identify those people. Some of the videos are over 5 hours long, although I’m not listening to all the stories – it’s too emotional, and it seems some residential schools were worse than others, so I do want to try as far as possible portray a truthful account. Thankfully some of the survivors have little snippets of humourous stories to tell too and I may think about incorporating those too … although it might change the tone of the narrative.

… I also made some headway with my slideshow for A5. I encountered a problem running an audio file and movie on the same slide (I already had a looped audio running in the background as well – so I’m not sure if there is a limitation in PowerPoint). If the one worked, the other didn’t so I’ll have to do a bit of research around that point. For the moment, I’ve inserted a separate slide to accommodate the movie, which is silent, which is why I wanted the audio to run while that was playing. But on the whole, I’m quite pleased with how it has turned out so far. I’m presenting it at the Documentary hangout tomorrow so hopefully there will be some helpful feedback.

Just found my answer – apparently I need to go to the Animations tab and select “Start with Previous”. So, I’ve tried that and it works — so hurrah!

I’ve completed my reflections on the latest Documentary hangout and I’ve fine-tuned my A5 slide show where I think I can now submit to my tutor. Just busy doing the write up and self-assessment section. Due to Vimeo’s upload restrictions I will have to wait a week before I can upload my finalized version. There was a problem when I uploaded my Test slide show and I got the message to re-try, but of course that ate up my upload quota – very unfair as it turned out that there was no problem after all and I ended up having two uploads. Its probably a ploy to make you sign up for the paid option methinks!

3 April 2020

I’ve finalised my slide show now and hopefully will not get any error messages when I upload to Vimeo. Its over 400MB in size so that will use up my whole week’s upload allocation. If it doesn’t work, I’ll upload to my Google Drive and share it that way with my tutor. Well – it worked thank goodness. A5 submitted to tutor.

27 April 2020 (Please click to access full blog post for this entry – Compassion Fatigue or Memory)

Print Size Test

It’s almost assessment time and I have been thinking a while about the size of my A2 prints were I to have a choice on presentation. My experimentation has been limited to the size of paper that my Canon Pro-100 can take – that limit being A3+ (13 x 19 inches). So like my experiment for A1, I have taken one image to use as a sample and quartered it in Photoshop. I have then resampled and printed each quarter on A3+ paper, so technically I now have an image that is 26 x 38 inches.

I decided this time to tape the pieces to my bedroom wall and try and line up the segments and photograph the finished item. I found I had a slight overlap by one or two millimetres on one image, but for experimental purposes it conveys the idea, so I’m not going to worry too much about that. I took another image from A2 which I had printed off quite a while back on A3+ and placed that below the collaged image for scale purposes. I also included part of the door to the side of the images for added scale reference. Yes, I know my picture is slightly skew, but its rather difficult to straighten something that has tape on the back. It was also a little difficult to align the inside vertical edges as there was no border on those edges, so you can see the vertical line in places. Nevertheless, I think this experiment does convey the idea of size well enough. In a perfect world I think I would present them a little bigger – perhaps 4 or 5 feet wide. The details in the photograph are far more enhanced by the size and this allows the viewer to really look into the scene in greater depth.

Experimenting with Print Size

After listening to Mark Galer speak about uploading one’s images as screen savers to a 4K TV, I started thinking about scale and my A1 images. I decided to see if I could create a large version of the print of Terry that I did yesterday. As the largest paper my printer can take is A3+ (13 x 19 inches) I decided to divide the image into 4 sections and print each section at A3+. I was just not sure what would happen with the upscaling. I only have LightRoom and Photoshop Elements so I sent the image over to Elements and worked out the crops and printed each section off.

Once I printed them off I had to lay them out on the floor to see the result. Unfortunately I had forgotten to select borderless printing so the interior borders spoil the effect a bit. But I do have to say that I really do prefer this larger version (26 x 38 inches) than the A3+. I will lay them out again tomorrow on my dining room table which has better light and photograph the result, then I’m going to take an exacto knife and cut away those internal borders and tape the 4 sections together and will rephotograph them.

The following day I laid out the four sections of Terry’s photo on the dining room table and made a couple of photographs with the two versions together. The difference in size is obviously quite dramatic. The portrait is larger than life size. I hauled out the step ladder and had to photograph the second image from the side and rotate it in post-processing. The perspectives aren’t 100% but it does convey the idea well enough. I think, instead of trying to slice the internal white space off these images (those margins are so small), I’ll rather try this technique out with one of the other A1 images using the borderless option.

(Please note this post has been duplicated from my Weekly Check In – 9 May 2020 post purely for assessment purposes).

Photobook

I have created a video of a page through of my photobook for Assignment 3. I struggled a bit with this as my tripod has a centrepost and pan-tilt head so I couldn’t obtain an accurate overhead position. There is also a little too much light on the pages, I think, which would probably be eliminated if I had a decent tripod, but I think the video does suffice to show the size (10″ x 8″) and materiality of the book. For a better online experience of this book, please access the Blurb link on the Assignment 3 (rework) page.

As I mentioned in a weekly check in post, I am very happy with the quality of the book. Blurb, apparently has a tendency to print on the dark side, but I think the tonal quality of this book is spot on. The book has a hardcover imagewrap with a matte finish and the paper is Blurb’s Premium paper with a lustre finish.

Tutor Feedback – A6 Pre-assessment review

I had my final tutor feedback on 11 May 2020. My tutor sent over her comments, saying there was no need to respond and that she would forward her report straight to the office as well.

Overall Comments

We ran through your questions pre-assessment – which I have briefly annotated below. If there are still any queries following the Zoom talk with Dan do come back to me. It is important that you feel you have submitted your work successfully.

We covered some of the normal discussion for this, in our previous call – your production of the checklist has been really helpful in you finalising the work for this course.

Your blog evaluation was read here – and this is a clear summation of the course.
https://lyndakuitphotographydocumentary.wordpress.com/2020/05/09/course-reflection-andevaluation/.

We finished off with a brief discussion re Level 3 – I wish you every success on the next
stage and it has been a pleasure to be your tutor.

Feedback on assignment

Demonstration of technical and Visual Skills, Quality of Outcome, Demonstration of Creativity

I had sent my tutor some questions regarding the new assessment criteria that I wasn’t too clear on. Below are my questions, with my tutor’s response in bold.

Assessment Questions

  1. Should we categorize the items we select to evidence the 5 learning outcomes under each learning outcome’s heading? This is already happening in your assignment evaluations.
  2. Do these selected learning log entries count as “pieces”? I would think that the log entries relating to an assignment are a piece – but do check this for guidance.
  3. If a book = 1 piece (A3), and a video/slide show also = 1 piece (A5), then the other 10 pieces should come from A1 and A2. Am I correct? Or should they all come from A2 as A1 isn’t assessed? No need to use A1. Other pieces could be from learning log entries/research posts.
  4. Does the critical review essay count as a “piece” or is it a stand alone element? Yes, I believe so.
  5. P 24 – #2 – Interpret your learning outcomes. All the sections/assignments contain elements of all the learning outcomes – which to choose? This is being done in your evaluations.
  6. P. 24 #4 – Are we required to create a new document that points the assessor to the learning log entries? Does this include all the learning log entries or only a selection? Need clarification – I feel it could be blog post with links.
  7. P. 26 – #3 Documenting your work. This would have been good to know about at the start of the course. I create paper printouts of images I’m working on, pin them to a noticeboard and play around with the sequencing, living with them to see what works. Some of this is translated into my learning log, but I do not have photographs of the work on the noticeboard. When the assignment is finished, I remove the work and staple the images together in a pile and stick them into a sketchbook. Am I required to go and “recreate this whole process”? No extra need for this step – your blog posts/learning log entries show weekly progress.
  8.  Will we be penalised if our evaluation or presentation is in written format? Written absolutely fine.
  9. Padlet is mentioned quite a bit in the guidelines. I have no idea how to use this piece of software. Why doesn’t OCA provide a tutorial on this? Quick demo provided – remember to sign up on oca.padlet.org and use OCA email address.

Thank you for the clarification and the padlet demo. I hope to have the clarification questions answered during Dan’s Zoom meeting on 13 May, 2020.

Coursework

Demonstration of technical and Visual Skills, Demonstration of Creativity

NA

Research

Context, reflective thinking, critical thinking, analysis

NA

Learning Log

Context, reflective thinking, critical thinking, analysis

NA

Suggested reading/viewing

Context

NA

Assignment 6 – Pre-assessment Review

I have updated my Pre-assessment review table and it can be seen here:

I have compiled a list of outstanding work or changes that I have made to my Assignments. The links to the assignments are to the original or rework versions.

Assignment 1: No rework was required, but I have added some thoughts and experimentation regarding sizing of the images, if I had the ideal choice of sending very large prints to OCA.

Assignment 2:  I have replaced the one image as suggested by my tutor and re-sequenced the set of images. I have also experimented with a large print size for this assignment if I had the option of presenting this set on a gallery wall.

Assignment 3: I have created a Blurb online edition of the book. I’m still waiting delivery of the hard copy, which I will video once I receive it. UPDATE: the photobook has been received and videoed and can be seen at: https://lyndakuitphotographydocumentary.wordpress.com/2020/05/20/photobook/.

Assignment 4: Word count has been reduced, secondary heading added.

Assignment 5:  The background text has been separated and a Setting the Scene section added.

Assignment 3 – Unceded Territory (rework)

I’d like to begin by acknowledging that this assignment, Unceded Territory, was made on the traditional and ancestral territories of the Secwépemc First Nations and that these territories were never ceded through treaty, war or surrender.

Although my assignment began its journey as a documentation of historical buildings in my rural environment, it morphed into something far more complex than I had initially envisioned. Looking at the relatively young historical buildings (any building in Canada that is 80+ years old is deemed historical as we build with wood in this country) in Notch Hill, Sorrento and Blind Bay  got me thinking about who was here before the first settlers came to this community. History tells us that the First Nations inhabited this region more than 10,000 years ago, but the first colonial settlers only came to this area in the 1860’s during the gold rush.

While it is relatively easy to find out details of the first colonial settlers, what do we really understand about the latent history of the First Nations people and their culture? Their history is mainly an oral one – a collective memory passed down to each generation. The language that the Secwépemc speak (Secwepemctsín) is endangered as the only mother-tongue speakers are over the age of 65 and the 2016 census statistics report a population of only 1, 290 people. The system of forcibly removing children aged 4 – 15 from their families and placing them in residential schools, prohibiting them to practise their own culture, tradition and language, in an attempt to assimilate the First Nations into Western society, did untold damage to the First Nations way of life. The residential school system ran from the 1870’s and the last school closed in 1996.

Their land was dispossessed – no official treaty was signed to purchase it, neither was it surrendered, nor was it won in any war. King George III signed a Royal Proclamation in 1763 declaring that all unceded and unsold territory would be reserved to the First Nations people. This proclamation to date was never rescinded.

I want to challenge the viewer to look at history (especially colonial history) in a new way. What has been embodied? How has local knowledge changed? What makes up the social history of The Place? By overlaying the Secwépemc figures and Secwepemctsín on Western historical buildings I hope to create a cross-cultural commentary on the complexity of history by presenting two distinct realities in parallel. I do realise that I am in no position to offer a commentary as an insider to the First Nations history and culture, in this respect I am the Other, but instead I offer this work as a token of respect and reconciliation.


Book Layout

I have created a Blurb copy of the book and that can be accessed by this link: https://www.blurb.ca/bookstore/invited/8681041/688acfce3bfe7ca73f1f6ec00a2f2b2f2f6e8781.

A video of the photobook can also be seen at: https://lyndakuitphotographydocumentary.wordpress.com/2020/05/20/photobook/.

For the purposes of the assignment, though I am also uploading the images of all the recto pages below.


Images

 

Fig. 1 The “White” Church, built 1906 on property owned by the Nels Sjodin family. Presbyterian services were provided until the early 1920s, after which the church continued as a United Church. Today it is non-denominational. It is 18 ft 6 inches wide and 26 feet 6 inches long.

Fig.2. Nils Sjodin residence, 1903 The home was built with hand-hewn logs , the corners were dove-taled and pegged with wooden dowels, a skilled Scandinavian technique.

Fig. 3. One of the three general stores in Notch Hill. Originally owned by Elton Berscht, it was sold to Fred May in 1934. May used to work for the Canadian Pacific Railway(CPR) in engine service, but was laid off due to the Depression. He ran the store until the CPR started rehiring again after WWII.

Fig. 4 Built in 1922 by WWI veteran who fought in the battle of Vimy Ridge, Harry Copeland, the Copeland General Store was sold to John Christofferson, a General Merchant in 1931. The store has since been remodelled for a residence. The main door and window locations were retained.

Fig. 5 Built in 1921 the “brown” elementary school was a one-room building with classes ranging from Grade 1 to Grade 8. The basement provided space for wood heaters, indoor fuel and space for winter class activities. The school is 28 feet wide by 30 feet long.

Fig 6. Residence of ex WWI soldier Clarence Durham who suffered the after effects of mustard gas attacks. Bought the property from Charlie Baines, one of the first settlers, in 1937. Occupation: pattern maker.

Fig. 7. Blind Bay Store and Post Office #2, the first building having been moved across the road on rollers and converted into a residence for Len Reedman and family. This building was previously a trucking garage and was converted into the new Blind Bay Store and Post Office in 1947.

Fig. 8. The Arthur & Margaret Reedman residence, built in 1935-36. Arthur Reedman bought a frame house from Mr Hilliam at Scotch Creek and floated it across the lake to use the materials for his new home.

Fig. 9. The Holy Cross Catholic Church was constructed in 1922, adjacent to the railway tracks to serve the expanding population of Notch Hill. The only way to access the church was walk adjacent to the railway tracks. The church is currently undergoing a restoration project.


Inspiration and Evaluation

My main inspiration for this project came from the work of Christos Dikeakos, Edith Roux and William Christenberry. Dikeakos is a Canadian photographer, fellow student with Jeff Wall and is interested in the identity and culture of the First Nations people. Roux’s work revolves around socio-political issues, while Christenberry has documented the American South and concentrates his work on issues of time, place and memory.

Initially I thought that I would present my set of images in B&W because I felt that the monochromatic treatment blended the collages better – the different components became more integrated. In fact it was rather difficult to see that they were collages. However, after adding the textual overlay I found myself leaning more towards a colour presentation. But after a few peer hangouts I was straddling the fence between B&W and colour again. It was only after a conversation with a fellow student that I decided to go with my gut instinct and present the images in colour. I was of the opinion that by removing the colour, it felt as if the present was being stripped away to merge with the past. And this is not what I wanted. I wanted the past and the present to stand separately in the images. While my images can probably stand alone, they are definitely stronger when viewed in the book along side the symbolic representations of the Secwepemcstin words and their cultural connotation, allowing the duality of the sign in both symbolic and iconic form to inform  the viewer.

Please note:

I know I am short one image for this assignment, but unfortunately I needed to reshoot some locations and the Canadian winter had now set in rendering a snowed-in landscape. Unfortunately the snow was still on the ground when the Covid-19 restrictions went into effect and they have not been lifted yet, so I’m still unable to reshoot for the final image. Therefore, I have decided to compile and order my Blurb book now so that I receive the book in time to provide a video of a page through of the book for assessment before the cut-off date.


ASSESSMENT CRITERIA

Demonstration of technical and visual skills: Materials, techniques, observational skills, visual awareness, design and compositional skills.

I have gone outside my comfort zone with this assignment, learning new Photoshop skills, and also relearning forgotten ones as I haven’t used Photoshop in any great manner since 2000. I normally use LightRoom for my post-processing work. From layering to masking to collaging and blending, I have rediscovered how much hard work is involved in digital darkroom work. As a continuation from Assignment 2, I have again experimented with B&W extensively, before deciding not to go down that route. I also tried and varied my focal distances in photographing the various historical buildings. I am quite pleased with the final result.

 

Quality of Outcome: Content, application of knowledge, presentation of work in a coherent manner, with discernment. Conceptualisation of thoughts, communication of ideas.

I did a tremendous amount of research, looking for suitable images of the Secwépemc First Nations people, information on their language and culture. I presented my WIPs to the following hangouts: Hangout with Fellow Student Anna; ROW – 8/12/2019; Documentary – 21/11/2019; ROW – 3/11/2019 and my comments are recorded on those blog postings. Although perhaps my ideas did not translate well verbally in the hangouts over to my fellow students, I feel I have now honed my concept in a coherent manner.

 

Demonstration of Creativity: Imagination, experimentation, invention, development of a personal voice.

This assignment has most definitely been outside my comfort zone, but I feel that I have been imaginative in narrating my story. I most assuredly have experimented in the various ways of presenting the images, as well as with the book layout. As I mention below in more detail, I am beginning to see and make connections with my past work and I think this is feeding into my personal voice (I really hope so!).

My initial plans can be seen on the following posts:

Research related to this assignment:

Context: Reflection, research (evidenced in learning logs). Critical thinking (evidenced in critical review).

As mentioned above I looked at the work of Christos Dikeakos, Edith Roux and William Christenberry, as well as tutor suggested viewing of fellow students work. Following the advice of my tutor, I have been more proactive in verbalising my thought process in my planning posts, as well as in my weekly check in posts (15 November 2019, 22 November 2019,  8 December 2019). By doing this I find I am questioning my work more, and thinking more deeply about connotations, how things work together and so on. I can now see that this questioning/talking it through process actually lets my work take its own direction and is less prescriptive. I’m actually quite excited by this process as I can see some connections being made with work in previous modules and my current work. This current assignment has almost become an extension of my Landscape A3 Spaces to Places where I am now exploring places, but showing an awareness of First Nations history and culture which underlies those places that I photographed during that assignment.

Apart from course work, I have been to the following exhibitions:

I have also done some documentary research:

I have taken part in the following hangouts:

Some other activities that have also kept me busy:

Bibliography

A Love Letter to the Shuswap | The Tyee (s.d.) At: https://thetyee.ca/Culture/2017/12/14/Love-Letter-Shuswap/ (Accessed  01/12/2019).

Akrigg, H. B. (1943) History and economic development of the Shuswap area – UBC Library Open Collections. At: https://open.library.ubc.ca/cIRcle/collections/ubctheses/831/items/1.0106826 (Accessed  07/10/2019).

Board in brief – School District No. 83 (North Okanagan-Shuswap) (s.d.) At: https://sd83.bc.ca/2018/10/17/board-in-brief/ (Accessed  21/11/2019).

Canadian Geographic (s.d.) The Road to Reconciliation | Indigenous Peoples Atlas of Canada. At: https://indigenouspeoplesatlasofcanada.ca/article/the-road-to-reconciliation/ (Accessed  12/12/2019).

Chapman, D. (2018) June 2018: Acknowledging an unceded territory – R.J. Haney Heritage Museum. At: https://www.salmonarmmuseum.org/blog/acknowledgement.htm (Accessed  21/11/2019).

Chidwick, A. (2014) Voices of Settlers | Stories from the South Shore of Shuswap Lake – Blind Bay. Salmon Arm: Hucul Printing Ltd.

Cloma, E. (2019) Why Do We Do Land Acknowledgements? At: https://ywcavan.org/blog/2019/01/why-do-we-do-land-acknowledgements (Accessed  12/12/2019).

Cooperman, J. (2012) Shuswap’s Own Slice of Italy. At: http://shuswappassion.ca/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/trapperslandingnews.pdf.

First Peoples’ Heritage – Heritage BC (s.d.) At: https://heritagebc.ca/resources/first-peoples-heritage/ (Accessed  12/12/2019).

Haida Symbolism – Alvin Adkins Haida Artist (s.d.) At: http://www.alvinadkinshaidaartist.com/haida-symbolism.html (Accessed  30/11/2019).

Hergesheimer, J. (2016) Unceded territory – Megaphone. At: http://www.megaphonemagazine.com/unceded_territory (Accessed  10/12/2019).

Hummingbird Totem (s.d.) At: https://www.first-nations.info/hummingbird-totem.html (Accessed  28/11/2019).

Hunter, J. (2017) ‘Horgan’s acknowledgment of unceded Indigenous territory a milestone for B.C.’ In: Globe and Mail 22/10/2017 At: https://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/british-columbia/horgans-acknowledgment-of-bcs-unceded-territory-part-of-a-path-forward/article36686705/ (Accessed  21/11/2019).

Ignace, M. and Ignace, R. (2017) Secwépemc history prevails | BC Booklook. At: https://bcbooklook.com/2018/03/06/secwepemc-history-wins-stuart-stubbs-prize/ (Accessed  12/12/2019).

Indigenous Corporate Training Inc. (2014) Why you should avoid using “Crown Lands” in First Nation consultation. At: https://www.ictinc.ca/blog/why-you-should-avoid-using-crown-lands-in-first-nation-consultation (Accessed  21/11/2019).

Interior Salish: Enduring Languages of the Columbian Plateau (s.d.) At: http://www.interiorsalish.com/salishfontkeyboard.html (Accessed  12/12/2019).

Legends and Symbology – Lil’wat Cultural Centre (s.d.) At: https://shop.slcc.ca/legends-symbology/ (Accessed  12/12/2019).

Morrow, T. (2018) Notch Hill : Significant Statements. (1st ed.) Prince George: Papyrus Printing Ltd.

Native American Symbols | Native Art (s.d.) At: https://spiritsofthewestcoast.com/pages/native-american-symbols (Accessed  12/12/2019).

Our Land |Tk‘emlúps (s.d.) At: https://tkemlups.ca/profile/history/our-land/ (Accessed  08/12/2019).

People (2006) At: https://web.archive.org/web/20060504180231/http://collections.ic.gc.ca/secwepemc/ptable.html (Accessed  08/12/2019).

Royal BC Museum (s.d.) Residential Schools and Reconciliation – Learning Portal. At: https://learning.royalbcmuseum.bc.ca/pathways/residential-schools-reconciliation/?_ga=2.115650182.1222797225.1574994116-473983191.1571801166 (Accessed  12/12/2019).

School District No. 73 (s.d.) Introduction to the Secwepemc Nation. At: http://secwepemc.sd73.bc.ca/sec_Intro/sec_introfs.html (Accessed  12/12/2019).

Secwepemctsin – Language of the Secwepemc (s.d.) At: https://tkemlups.ca/profile/history/our-language/ (Accessed  08/12/2019).

Secwepemctsin, Language of the Secwepemc (2008) At: https://web.archive.org/web/20081105231203/http://landoftheshuswap.com/msite/lang.php (Accessed  08/12/2019).

Secwepemctsín (Shuswap) (s.d.) At: http://www.languagegeek.com/salishan/secwepemctsin.html (Accessed  08/12/2019).

Shuswap language (2019) In: Wikipedia. At: https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Shuswap_language&oldid=918222087 (Accessed  08/12/2019).

Statistics Canada (2016) Census in Brief: The Aboriginal languages of First Nations people, Métis and Inuit. At: https://www12.statcan.gc.ca/census-recensement/2016/as-sa/98-200-x/2016022/98-200-x2016022-eng.cfm (Accessed  10/12/2019).

Symbols and their meaning | Silver FX (s.d.) At: https://silverfx.ca/native-symbols/ (Accessed  30/11/2019).

The Native Meaning of Mythodology and Legends • My Mondo Trading • First Nations Art Gallery (s.d.) At: https://www.mymondotrading.com/native-meanings-symbology-myths-legends (Accessed  12/12/2019).

The Splatsin Story (2015) At: http://shuswappassion.ca/history/the-splatsin-story/ (Accessed  16/11/2019).

Thompson Rivers University (s.d.) Communities – Indigenous TRU. At: https://www.tru.ca/indigenous/indigenous-education-team/resources/communities.html (Accessed  08/12/2019a).

Thompson Rivers University (s.d.) History and Culture – Indigenous TRU. At: https://www.tru.ca/indigenous/indigenous-education-team/resources/history-culture.html (Accessed  08/12/2019b).

Thompson Rivers University (s.d.) Secwépemc Communities Pronunciations. At: https://www.tru.ca/indigenous/indigenous-education-team/pronunciations.html (Accessed  12/12/2019).

WelcomeBC – BC First Nations & Indigenous People – WelcomeBC (s.d.) At: https://www.welcomebc.ca/Choose-B-C/Explore-British-Columbia/B-C-First-Nations-Indigenous-People (Accessed  10/12/2019).

Wilson, K. (s.d.) Acknowledging Traditional Territories – Pulling Together: Foundations Guide. At: https://opentextbc.ca/indigenizationfoundations/chapter/acknowledging-traditional-territories/ (Accessed  10/12/2019).

Wonders, K. (2008) First Nations – Land Rights and Environmentalism in British Columbia. At: http://www.firstnations.de/indian_land.htm (Accessed  10/12/2019).

words | Secwepemc | FirstVoices (s.d.) At: https://www.firstvoices.com/explore/FV/sections/Data/Secwepemc/Secwepemctsin/Secwepemc/learn/words/10/2 (Accessed  09/12/2019).

Illustrations

Figure 1. Item D-07823 – ‘Siwash Madonna’; a First Nations woman and child on the beach. (s.d.) At: https://search-bcarchives.royalbcmuseum.bc.ca/siwash-madonna-first-nations-woman-and-child-on-beach (Accessed on 20 November 2019)

Figure 2. Family Portrait | Secwepemc History: The First 220 Years of Contact. (1899) At: http://www.virtualmuseum.ca/sgc-cms/histoires_de_chez_nous-community_stories/pm_v2.php?id=record_detail&fl=0&lg=English&ex=00000350&hs=0&rd=81614 (Accessed on 12 December 2019)

Figure 3. Male – Traditional Clothing | Secwepemc History: The First 220 Years of Contact. (1900) At: http://www.virtualmuseum.ca/sgc-cms/histoires_de_chez_nous-community_stories/pm_v2.php?id=record_detail&fl=0&lg=English&ex=00000350&hs=0&rd=81606 (Accessed on 12 December 2019)

Figure 4. A Savonna Woman | Secwepemc History: The First 220 Years of Contact. (1880) At: http://www.virtualmuseum.ca/sgc-cms/histoires_de_chez_nous-community_stories/pm_v2.php?id=record_detail&fl=0&lg=English&ex=00000350&hs=0&rd=81638 (Accessed on 12 December 2019)

Figure 5. Item E-00993 – A First Nations woman; Alaska. (s.d.) At: https://search-bcarchives.royalbcmuseum.bc.ca/first-nations-woman-alaska (Accessed on 21 November 2019)

Figure 6. Item A-06132 – ‘Bob’ – a Medicine-man of Yu-ka-guse Chilliwack B.C. who claimed when a boy – 16 yrs old – to have seen Simon Fraser on his first trip down the river – 1808- at a great gathering of Indians at the mount of Harrison River | BC Archives. (1896) At: https://search-bcarchives.royalbcmuseum.bc.ca/yu-ka-guse-medicine-man-known-as-bob-claimed-to-have-seen-simon-fraser-in-1808-when-bob-was-16-years-old (Accessed on 12 December 2019)

Figure 7. Adam Bennett | Secwepemc History: The First 220 Years of Contact. (1900) At: http://www.virtualmuseum.ca/sgc-cms/histoires_de_chez_nous-community_stories/pm_v2.php?id=record_detail&fl=0&lg=English&ex=00000350&hs=0&rd=81699 (Accessed on 12 December 2019)

Figure 8. Racing on the Shuswap River | Secwepemc History: The First 220 Years of Contact. (1920) At: http://www.virtualmuseum.ca/sgc-cms/histoires_de_chez_nous-community_stories/pm_v2.php?id=record_detail&fl=0&lg=English&ex=00000350&hs=0&rd=81671 (Accessed on 12 December 2019)

Figure 9. Consolidated Stationery Company. (1907) English: Original caption:  ‘The Horn Society of Alberta Indians.’  At: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:The_Horn_Society_of_Alberta_Indians_(HS85-10-18747).jpg (Accessed on 12 December 2019)

All symbols: Legends and Symbology – Lil’wat Cultural Centre (s.d.) At: https://shop.slcc.ca/legends-symbology/ (Accessed  12/12/2019).

Tutor Feedback – Assignment 5

I had my final assignment tutor feedback on 27 April 2020. We kept the session fairly short as my tutor was still recovering from the Covid virus. She sent over a few notes to which I responded. As usual my comments/reflections are in italics below.

Feedback on assignment

Demonstration of technical and Visual Skills, Quality of Outcome, Demonstration of Creativity

Introduction – do think about an explanatory paragraph before the video to explain what the viewer will see.  With so much text within the video, it is helpful to set the scene.

I have brought my explanatory sentence up from the Assessment criteria section and included it just above the video. I have also created a separator between the background and my ‘methodology’.

Evaluation to explore more how effects of isolation and COVID-19 has directed the work – i.e. what would you maybe have done.

I have included a couple of thoughts on this, namely possible access to the museum and contacting some survivors.

Sound – possibly fade down at the end – we discussed this and the limitations of using PowerPoint against learning a whole new software package.

I agree that the drum beat ending is a little abrupt, but the only way that I could possibly ‘fade’ it out would be to length the time the credit slides remain on screen but as the drum loop is 79 seconds in length this would cause the credit slides to have more visual screen time than some of the image slides. As those slides are probably the least interesting for a viewer I don’t think it warrants allocating the extra time to them. I also mentioned that I’m not sure if I will ever have the need to use Adobe Premiere in the future and considering the huge learning curve attached to that program, I’ll live with the abrupt ending.

Coursework

Demonstration of technical and Visual Skills, Demonstration of Creativity

This is now all completed.

Research

Context, reflective thinking, critical thinking, analysis

Vast range of research.

The Magnum conversations are here:

https://www.magnumphotos.com/newsroom/quarantine-conversations-richard-kalvar-and-jerome-sessini/

Thank you for this link. I’ll add it to my list to watch.

In light of the research you have done, you could consider a comparison between how work is presented eg Mary Kelly vs Jo Spence.

I’ll add a comment to one of their blog posts that I’ve done.

UPDATE: Since watching many online presentations and talks during COVID-19, I have decided to expand my comments to include those photographers as well and have written up a separate blog post to this effect.

Learning Log

Context, reflective thinking, critical thinking, analysis

This continues to be detailed with a wide range of resources viewed.  Do consider making notes on what online presentations work well and what doesn’t – thinking ahead here to Level 3.

Will do. UPDATE: See Comparison of who work is presented.

Suggested reading/viewing

Context

This was a key book in reviewing archive material:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Writing-Rewriting-Holocaust-Consequences-Interpretation/dp/0253206138

Thank you for the link. It’s a little more expensive here in Canada – $32. I’ll see if I can obtain a copy. I do have a copy of Marianne Hirsch’s Family Frames Photography, Narrative and Postmemory book which also deals with the Holocaust and memory.

 Pointers for the next assignment / assessment

Please inform me of how you would like your feedback for the next assignment: written or video/audio.

Video please

Strengths Areas for development
Video uses archive footage to intersperse with own images Introduction paragraph above video giving outline of what is about to be seen.
Development of work for pre-assessment tutorial  Complete evaluation of course
Range of resources watched during isolation Keep adding to the bank and taking the notes.  I am sure some of it will be useful for Level 3

Assignment Five (rework) – Returning to Coyote

This assignment, has evolved as a result of the research that I did for Assignment 3. During that research the dark, history of the Canadian Indian Residential Schools was unearthed and that history has been resting quite heavily on my heart. From the 1870s Canada embarked on a policy of ethnocide, taking control over Aboriginal land, introducing a “pass system” to confine First Nations people to their reserves, denying them the right to take part in the political, economic and social life of the country unless they forwent their cultural identity. Canada also separated the children from their parents, placing them in residential schools, in order to break their connection with their culture and identity.

“When the school is on the reserve the child lives with its parents, who are savages; he is surrounded by savages, and though he may learn to read and write his habits, and training and mode of thought are Indian. He is simply a savage who can read and write. … Indian children should be withdrawn as much as possible from the parental influence, and the only way to do that would be to put them in central training industrial schools where they will acquire the habits and modes of thought of white men”.

Sir John A. Macdonald, Prime Minister of Canada, 1883
(Canadiana Online, 1883:1107–1108)

This was all part of a policy to force assimilation with the dominant culture. The running of the residential schools was given over to religious groups: Catholic, Anglican, Presbyterian, United and Methodist churches because Macdonald was of the opinion that ” … moral restraints of the clergy … are actuated by higher motives than any secular instructor can pretend to” (Canadiana Online, 1883:1107–1108). The last of these schools closed in 1996.

The children were collected from the reserves by the Indian agent, loaded onto cattle trucks or trains and transported over long distances to the various schools. Many of the children were as young as 4 years old. For the majority of the children, many had never seen such huge buildings before and these edifices created terrifying impressions on them. Upon arriving at the schools, they were stripped of their clothing, given threadbare, ill-fitting uniforms to wear, were deloused, and their hair was cut short, and finally they were issued with a number, which which they were known in some of the schools. The conditions in the schools were harsh. Children were forbidden to speak their own language and many had no knowledge of English at all. Boys and girls were separated, only to be seen across a dining hall. The food was sub-standard. Residential school survivor, Geraldine Schroeder describes a culinary treat at Easter being Corn Flakes and three jelly beans, burnt chocolate and sour milk (Jack, 2006). Many children endured both physical and sexual abuse.

Because the residential schools were set in place in the 1870s, many generations were affected. The legacy of this system is that children grew up not learning how to empathize, or show love and this was passed down through the generations, creating mental health issues, as well as alcoholism and drug dependency. Generations have been living with intense anger and shame due to the physical and sexual abuse inflicted on them. First Nations languages are close to extinction, cultures and traditions almost destroyed. In 2008 the federal government formally apologised to the First Nations people.

 


Setting the Scene

With the background mentioned above, I have created a slide show using a variety of media, some my own, some from historical archives, some appropriated,  rephotographed or refilmed from Truth and Reconciliation Commission videos, letting the survivors of the Kamloops Indian Residential School tell their story. The initial sound track heard is the Secwépemc Healing Walk Welcome Song, which provides a sense of purification throughout the show, while survivors relate their stories. The slideshow is also book-ended by the Prime Minister of Canada, Stephen Harper offering the official apology in 2008 to the First Nations of Canada Residential School Survivors. Creating this piece of work during the isolation of the Covid-19 pandemic really brought home the isolation and despair the children must have felt at being  separated from their families. I was asked during a recent student hangout from what critical distance was I approaching this assignment. After much consideration and watching many testimonies, I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m not approaching it from a Canadian perspective, nor am I approaching it from an immigrant’s perspective, but I’m approaching this from a mother’s perspective.

To contextualise my work, I looked at the work Jack LathamMarc Wilson as well as Christopher Malloy and Gideon Mendel.

I have called this project Returning to Coyote. The coyote is a very important animal in First Nations culture. “He is who we are, he is probably our base. Our conception of the world is from Coyote and his legends and what he set out for the people to do and what he set out for himself to right wrongs of the Earth … he can be a healer or a fixer of issues and problems … he created a safe place for people to live in amongst the animals in a way that we can coincide together in a respectful way” (Meet Coyote, an Aboriginal ‘Legend’, 2015). I sincerely believe the path to healing and restoration for the First Nations people is through the return to their own culture and traditions.


ASSESSMENT CRITERIA

Demonstration of technical and visual skills: Materials, techniques, observational skills, visual awareness, design and compositional skills.

This has been a very challenging assignment to do, especially during this Covid-19 pandemic. I have never done this kind of multimedia project before, and I didn’t particular relish the idea of trying to learn Adobe Premiere either. I decided to explore PowerPoint’s capabilities and found that it would suffice for my purposes. A huge amount of tinkering and fine-tuning was required in working out timings, audio overlays, transitions and so on. The project evolved quite organically. The more research I did, the more my work was informed. Although I used a variety of media, as mentioned above, I do feel that the end result and the way that I have curated the pieces is my own voice and I’m really quite happy with the end result.

Quality of Outcome: Content, application of knowledge, presentation of work in a coherent manner, with discernment. Conceptualisation of thoughts, communication of ideas.

I did a huge amount of research, reading and watching many heart-rending testimonies  of the Secwépemc First Nations people who attended the Kamloops Indian Residential School. I presented my WIPs to the following hangouts: Rest of the World hangout – 22/3/2020; Documentary hangout – 26/3/2020 and my comments are recorded on those blog postings. My ideas were well received and those commenting on the WIPs acknowledged that the project was moving, emotional and raised many questions among the viewers. I was extremely please to learn that.

Demonstration of Creativity: Imagination, experimentation, invention, development of a personal voice.

This assignment has most definitely been so far outside my comfort zone. I feel I have taken quite a few risks with this assignment, using historical photographs, my archival photos, video footage, audio as well as my own photos that I managed to take before the pandemic lock-down kicked in. Working within the limitations of PowerPoint, I appropriated video footage by re-videoing (is that even a word?) archival videos and Truth and Reconciliation Commission Sharing Panels. My overriding consideration with this work was to approach it with sensitivity and I feel that I have done that. I mentioned during my self-evaluation for A3 that I was beginning to see and make connections with past work and I think this has become evident in this assignment. As a fellow student mentioned during a recent Documentary hangout, it seems that during my journey in the Documentary course, that I’ve previously taken the First Nations symbols, their voices and now brought it all together in this assignment. And I think he is right – there is a feeling of tying everything together with this assignment. Hopefully my personal voice is emerging a little more loudly now.

My initial plans can be seen on the the following posts:

Research related to this assignment:

Context: Reflection, research (evidenced in learning logs). Critical thinking (evidenced in critical review).

I found it a little difficult to verbalise my thought process for this assignment while working on it, because it involved lots of fine-tuning. Determining timing for the slides, figuring out how to overlay audio over audio and video, as well as having two consecutive audio files on one slide all came about through trial and error. Much of the experimentation involved taping and retaping audio and video footage. Tweaking one thing, replaying the slide show, tweaking something else, replaying the slide show again. This would have been a painfully slow process to record in detail. It would have been ideal to be able to fade out the drum sound track towards the end of the credits, but sadly that functionality doesn’t seem to exist in PowerPoint. If I had been able to make this work outside of the Covid-19 pandemic, I would most definitely have tried to gain access to the school’s interior and also try and locate survivors for their portraits, but lock-down restrictions are still in effect at the moment.

I have taken part in the following hangouts:

Both my two regular hangout groups have decided to meet every two weeks now during the pandemic so we can continue to encourage each other.

My weekly check in posts can be seen at: https://lyndakuitphotographydocumentary.wordpress.com/category/learning-log/personal-reflections/

 

Bibliography

2008 Federal Apology to Residential School Survivors (2008) Directed by APTN News. At: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aQjnbK6d3oQ (Accessed  25/03/2020).

Aerial view of Kamloops Indian Residential School | Google Earth (s.d.) At: https://earth.google.com/web/@50.67871172,-120.29675034,348.75196107a,474.30704227d,35y,12.51760648h,60t,0r (Accessed  24/03/2020).

An elder’s story: The truth about Residential school (2015) Directed by Castanet News. At: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UAL5KSWFTNI (Accessed  15/01/2020).

BC Event BCNE107a Special Event Detail RBS Report | NRCTR (2013) Directed by TRC. At: https://nctr.ca/SCRIPTS/MWIMAIN.DLL/154549233/6/3/2364583?RECORD&DATABASE=DESC_ACC_VIEW (Accessed  12/03/2020).

BC Event MDBCNE101 Canoe Gathering Detail RBS Report | NRCTR (2013) Directed by TRC. At: https://nctr.ca/SCRIPTS/MWIMAIN.DLL/154549233/4/1/2364632?RECORD&DATABASE=DESC_ACC_VIEW (Accessed  12/03/2020).

BC Event SP153 Sharing Panel Detail RBS Report | NRCTR (s.d.) Directed by TRC. At: https://nctr.ca/SCRIPTS/MWIMAIN.DLL/444228095/1/6/2363948?RECORD&DATABASE=DESC_ACC_VIEW (Accessed  26/03/2020).

BC Teachers’ Federation (2015) Project of Heart | Illuminating the hidden history of Indian Residential schools in BC. Vancouver: (s.n.).

Canadiana Online (1883) Official report of the debates of the House of Commons of the Dominion of Canada : [Official reports of the debates of the House of Commons of the Dominion of Canada : first session, fifth Parliament … comprising the period from the twentieth day of April to the twenty-fifth day of May, 1883. At: https://www.canadiana.ca/view/oocihm.9_07186_1_2/369?r=0&s=3 (Accessed  27/03/2020).

Coyote (2020) In: Wikipedia. At: https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Coyote&oldid=947254561 (Accessed  26/03/2020).

De Leeuw, S. (2007) ‘Intimate colonialisms: the material and experienced places of British Columbia’s residential schools’ In: The Canadian Geographer 51 (3) At: https://link-galegroup-com.ucreative.idm.oclc.org/apps/doc/A171295540/ITOF?sid=lms (Accessed  17/01/2020).

Indian Residential School, Kamloops, ca. 1937 (1937) Directed by Booth, A. At: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=2&v=AuO1KFSH6-4&feature=emb_logo (Accessed  21/03/2020).

IRSHDC : Archival Item : Photograph [10a-c000433-d0012-001] (s.d.) At: https://collections.irshdc.ubc.ca/index.php/Detail/objects/2167 (Accessed  09/03/2020).

IRSHDC : Archival Item : Photograph [10a-c000435-d0004-001] (s.d.) At: https://collections.irshdc.ubc.ca/index.php/Detail/objects/2182 (Accessed  09/03/2020).

Item B-01592 – Kamloops Museum photo; Kamloops Residential School (193AD) At: https://search-bcarchives.royalbcmuseum.bc.ca/kamloops-museum-photo-kamloops-residential-school (Accessed  21/12/2019).

Jack, A. (ed.) (2006) Behind Closed Doors: Stories from the Kamloops Indian Residential School. Penticton: Theytus Books.

Kamloops 1934 | Exhibition | Where Are The Children (1934) : Deschâtelet. At: http://wherearethechildren.ca/en/exhibition/ (Accessed  09/03/2020).

Meet Coyote, an Aboriginal ‘Legend’ (2015) Directed by Indigenous Tourism BC. At: https://www.youtube.com/watch?reload=9&v=PJ0_WEBnZgs (Accessed  26/03/2020).

Surviving the Kamloops Indian Residential School and the struggle for a settlement (2018) Directed by APTN News. At: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vJ7qm6m973U (Accessed  12/01/2020).

Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (2015) The survivors speak: a report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. (s.l.): (s.n.).

UNB Day 3 Healing Walk Welcome Song (2018) Directed by SAGACom Productions. At: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NyORebjF8To (Accessed  19/03/2020).

Compassion Fatigue or Memory?

My tutor suggested during the A5 feedback that I jot down some words on the emotional aspect of creating this project. It would be fair to say that this has been an incredibly emotional topic to research. Reading survivors’ accounts in their own words of what happened to them in the residential school and hearing it verbalised in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission hearings and seeing the pain and anguish on their faces was heartbreaking and I frequently found myself reaching for the tissue box.

The biggest challenge with this work was to present it in a way that it didn’t become ‘a  spectacle’, yet at the same time I did want the viewer to tap into his/her emotions while viewing the work as this is a history that is seldom acknowledged.  I feel that by incorporating the audio tracks and videos of the actual survivors encourages the viewer to bear witness to the atrocities committed in the residential school because we are not relying solely on our visual senses for illustrative impact and thus the viewing experience is intensified. We need to know, we need to remember.

As Marianne Hirsch states “memory is necessarily an act not only of recall, but also of mourning” and it is right and proper than we mourn the loss of innocence,  childhood, parental and familial love alongside these children.

 

Bibliography

Hirsch, M. (1996) ‘Past Lives: Postmemories in Exile’ In: Poetics Today 17 (4) pp.659–686.