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“Welcome Home”: Serabianca 2022
A multidisciplinary art event inspired by Nuit Blanche
2-min vlog of our installation, “Welcome Home”
There was an old woman who lived in a shoe,
She had so many children she didn't know what to do;
She gave them some broth with plenty of bread,
She kissed them all fondly and sent them to bed.
- Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe
Serabianca is a multidisciplinary art event inspired by Nuit Blanche, an annual overnight art festival in Toronto. It comprises 12 installation works by Claude Watson Grade 11 Art Majors from the Visual, Dance, Drama, Music, and Film departments.
Serabianca occurred on the evening of November 3, 2022, but planning for the project started on October 12th. Let’s go through how we went from our first day to our final project.
This year’s exhibition followed the theme of nursery rhymes. My team (Chloe, Deborah, Kryshna, Josh, Hanguk, Jill, Stella, Eli, Michael, Eno) received the rhyme “Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe” and the Wavy Hall space to build our project.
Stage 1: Brainstorm
During our first meeting, we came across the idea of turning the hall into the shoe and having the viewer experience “putting yourself in someone else’s shoes.” Here, we came across our first (and largest) hurdle: the size of Wavy Hall. While there was a major advantage to creative liberty in having the expansive space, it also meant we had to consider how to fill up the area to create an immersive experience.
A specific concept we explored was an abstract representation of shoelaces weaving throughout the space - the goal was to reinforce being part of the exhibit while inducing immediate emotions from the viewer… but what kind?
Stage 2: Proposals
Our second meeting occurred at the Toronto Reference Library. Here, we explored the emotions and reactions we hoped to induce in a person walking through our exhibit. While there were various ideas, we all agreed we wanted to curate an experience involving passersby in our piece over having people observe the work from afar. Here, we stumbled upon our next hurdle: communication.
When large groups have multiple strong and creative ideas, it’s easy to disconnect from the collective, explore diverging concepts, and struggle to communicate them back with the group. Our group decided to separate into 3 mini-groups to develop one concrete idea for each and present it to the rest of the team.
We realized how important it was to take time to recenter the group - we assume everyone else sees the world from our perspective and forget how important it is to communicate clearly and effectively. Throughout the remaining project, we called “re-centring meetings” throughout the planning to ensure we were all on the same page. It proved highly valuable, especially in the later stages of the idea.
Stage 3: Idea Finalization
Once we agreed on our general concept, I thought the rest would be easy and fall into place. I was wrong. (I know, crazy)
There were so many nuances about where items should be placed, how many we should have, how to build them, etc. This was not finalized until we started making it the day of Serabianca. My takeaway was to step back and let go - it is okay (and potentially great) to go with the flow and figure it out together.
An important part was figuring out how to build the cardboard structures on such a large scale. I tested a few methods and found one involving sliding the pieces into each other.
Our final idea features a space reflecting the weird but homely feeling of living in someone else’s shoes. It consists of clothing lines across the balcony floor 2 of Wavy Hall and abstracted shoelaces built out of cardboard. We hung up some clothing on the hangers and left others sprawled on the floor. One side of Wavy Hall helped clean up the home by hanging up the clothes, while the other created a mess by throwing the hung-up ones on the floor. The intention was for people to experience taking and giving in a small ecosystem of scarcity: our homes.
Stage 4: Building
On the day of Serabianca, we spent the morning and afternoon building out our concept. It was highly satisfying seeing the ideas coming to life. We also created a large mess of cardboard along the hall (which we cleaned up, of course).
In particular, we felt so much joy seeing our cardboard structures come into place. We struggled with whether the forms would hold up on a large scale, but they came together through our team efforts.
Stage 5: Serabianca
Throughout the evening, the audience interaction turned our piece from separate objects to look at into a live, connected experience.
I am beyond proud of our group for pulling off our exhibit, Welcome Home.
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