Hello students, welcome to our 6 week online course in preparation for our trip to Lesvos. This course is divided into three modules, each module being two weeks long. This first module contains two parts and posts, each post representing one week of work. The posts will go live at the end of each week, and you should post your responses by the following Friday at the latest. We also want you all to engage with each other, so we ask that you visit the site regularly and comment on other submissions. The goal of the course is to begin to get to know one another, to explore some literature that inspires the instructors leading this course, and to get our artistic/ethnographic/pedagogical juices flowing through a series of creative exercises. This first two week module is designed to get us thinking about how we tell stories and/or convey knowledge to others about our lived experiences in imaginative ways. It also is intended to help us tune into the subjective elements of representation, the fact that when we create, it is always from our unique vantage point in the world, and not an objective mirror of the external world. We will start with an exploration of home, and the familiar, and later in the course, we will translate these ideas into our preparations for encountering Lesvos. Have fun and please be in touch if you have any questions!
– Content for this module prepared by Jennie Gubner and Elmedin Žunić
This week, we ask that you read the two articles below and then complete the following task. Remember, the goal of these assignments are to get us thinking creatively, sharing with one another, and reflecting on the themes of the course. As you work to evoke some element of home for your peers, think also about how the task of representation changes when you find yourself in an unfamiliar place. Your posts may be quite serious or quite playful, this is totally up to you, mostly, enjoy the creative process. We look forward to hearing from you!
Task 1: Think of, or go to a place that makes you feel ‘at home.’ This might be a tree in your backyard, or a memory of a local cafe you loved years ago, your grandmother’s kitchen. It might be a feeling, since home is not always a place, but sometimes a state. Focusing on either one of your senses, or perhaps multiple senses, think about how you might translate the feeling of that place to the rest of us. You might go out and record the sounds of your tree, or maybe create a montage of archival photos (your own or an imaginative reconstruction), maybe you would write a poem, or describe a scene in detail, focusing on taste and smell.
Along with your sensory snapshot of home, share a small paragraph explaining why you chose this element of home to evoke, and why you chose the sensory modalities you used, so that we begin thinking about how our own stories are in themselves a vehicle for place-making and place-sharing. The goal is to think creatively about storytelling, and to think how creative practices can help us convey our sensorial and emotional encounters in the world and help tell our own stories?
As you create and reflect, think about what elements of space and place are most challenging to convey to others. Also think about much your perception of this place is informed by your own values, interests, and your own personal story and identity? Reflect on how this evocation of space and your creative choices are also an evocation of your own identity, not an objective representation of something external. As such, how do we create spaces as we engage in the task of (re)presenting them?
Once you have posted your sensory snapshot of home, please comment on the posts of your peers. What is familiar about their home, what is new. What elements of their stories did you find most compelling. What questions do you have after exploring each others works?