During our second excursion to Brisbane Forest Park and the Walkabout Creek Visitor Centre, the students did more rubbings of leaves and found objects and I took them for another photography/Perspective Map exercise. They were also directly engaged with the parks rangers in a number of different activities, which they subsequently reflected on in their diaries. The activities are described by teacher Katrina Mills below:
“Again it was a wonderful day with lots of discussion, exploring and laughter. The students were kept busy with activities organised by the park rangers.
One activity included playing two outdoor games. In the first game, each child was given an animal; which they then had to try and match with the habitat it would live in. A great game and the children certainly had lots of fun.
The second game was based on a familiar school game “Clumps,” but rather than using random numbers the rangers had placed mats around the area symbolising trees in a forest. The children were then told that they were possums and had to find a ‘tree’ to live in but only two possums per tree. As ‘trees’ were removed (for development, to build homes, etc) the possums were struggling to find enough places to live. The children quickly began to realise how difficult it was for the possums to find suitable homes. This game was an innovative way of demonstrating to the children that human activity can have long term effects on wildlife and highlights that we are all responsible for looking after our environment and the animals we share it with.
Another activity was a ranger talk and an introduction to three animals – a turtle, a lizard and a possum. The final activity was a fantastic puppet show which again emphasised the importance of caring for our parks. A great success!”
PHOTOS from the artworks and excursion are forthcoming!!!
dear parents, carers & staff,
Please join us this coming Friday afternoon 26.8.11 at 2pm in the Ellipse room at Grovely primary for an open studio. I will have the interactive artwork Forest Reflections installed for informal viewing and discussion about the process of making it – as well as all the beautiful forest creatures and animations your children have been working on so very hard!!
This open studio is in preparation for our final installation at Walkabout Creek visitor centre on Saturday September 10 (which I DO hope you already have in your diaries! 🙂
Hope to see you on the 26th and again on the 10th!
One of the exercises I had prepared for the students, and a primary reason for acquiring the digital cameras, was the creation of what I term “Perspective Maps”. These draw on the Typologies of the Bechers, mentioned earlier. However, instead of comparing different instances of the same object type (watertower or gas tank, for example), the perspective maps compare different perspectives of the same object. They are intended to reveal the different ways we see the same thing; our different perspectives. This is, in a sense, an inversion of how the Bechers’ typologies function. That is, in their work the ideal form of the object – the idea of what a water tower is, for example – is being compared. On the other hand in the Perspective maps it is the subjectivity of the observer that is being compared.
In our perspective maps we are studying the different ways we – people – see the forest. So we are photographing trees. The children’s differences in perspective include looking up, looking down, standing far away to take the whole tree in, photographing it up close to focus on the texture, etc. All of these are different perspectives of the same object.
The perspective maps investigate the different ways we all see the same thing. They are group efforts at making a composition. Like the Bechers, the approach taken is quite clinical:
- Divide into groups of 10-15 students
- Each group to choose a tree. This was done during the walk on our excursion to Walkabout Creek in The Gap on 28 July.
- Take turns photographing this tree. Thus each person takes one photograph of it. This choice of vantage point and composition is a personal, private step.
- Consolidate all the photographs into a matrix. Study and compare these to understand and discuss this tree, our understandings of this tree and of nature. Discussions of composition within the frame, such as decisions made by the photographer, are also facilitated by this process.
During our excursion we broke into 3 groups. The 3 Perspective maps are shown below.
During the process of assembling the perspective maps I also had the idea of compositing, or layering them on top of one-another. The resulting 3 images are, I think quite successful aesthetically. They are shown below.
We discussed all of these in class on Thursday 4th August. Our discussion reviewed how each of these composite images reveals something about the perspective maps – whether its pulling out distinct features such as the sillhoutte of the trunk and strangler fig vine in group 3 or the fan palm fronds as a texture in group 2 or a combination of these in group 1’s maps.
Perhaps it was inevitable, but I didn’t see it coming: during this class discussion one of the students said she wondered what would happen if we were to combine ALL the images (i.e. all the children’s photos of all 3 different trees)?? I quickly combined them there and then, and we discussed the result. It is also shown below. The students commented on how it was ‘blurry’ and I agreed that often things can turn ‘muddy’ when you mix too many elements, or colours… Some other students however asserted that they could still see all of the individual elements of sillhouetted trunks and the textures made by contrasting leaves and sunlight. Upon reflection now it occurs to me that colour palette is another aspect of these different compositions that prevailed and provided visual unity – the same could not be said if some of the maps were of urban images or taken at sunrise or in the moonlight.
Our full day excursion to walkabout creek involved doing rubbings of found objects, doing tai-chi and studying the wildlife. It also involved a visit to the wildlife centre.
Our excursion also involved going for a walk in the forest. We went part-way along the Aracuria track. Many different things were observed during this walk and we reflected on these and our wildlife centre experiences in our visual diaries.
Some of the animals encountered, things we saw or experienced are shown below. Many more images are on page 2.
(Left) Child working on Perspective Map 1.
The culminating show at the end of our project has now been confirmed to happen on Saturday 10 September 2011! This will be at Walkabout Creek Visitor Centre on Mount Nebo Rd in The Gap. More details will follow, but essentially the show will include an installation of the interactive art work “Forest Reflections” and the children’s visual diaries.
This embodies our project’s philosophy of ‘beginning in the forest and ending in the forest’
Hi, I’m Jen Seevinck, an artist and researcher. I’m very excited because I’m about to start an Artist in Residency project with the lovely staff and students of Grovely State School!! Yes, I just learned that the art project I proposed to Arts Queensland back in April – with the fabulous input and support of Grovely staff Jackie Semple, Katrina Mills, Vicki Baker – was successful! Arts Queensland are funding a residency and collaborative project between myself, the two teachers and their 47 students. I will be “in residence” for about 2 months during the next school term. That is, I’ll be working in the background and also interacting with the kids to create “Forest Reflections”: a series of 2 interactive art systems and a bunch of other complementary, creative efforts. This web log (blog) documents and describes the progress of Forest Reflections. You can find out more about Forest Reflections here and about my artwork here.