The Sensory Exploration: A co-creation residency series created and led by Interdisciplinary Eco Artist Shimshon Obadia

The Sensory Exploration: A co-creation residency series created and led by Interdisciplinary Eco Artist Shimshon Obadia


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Smartphones, learning, and hands in the dirt; reconnect with your senses to reconnect with this world.

I don't know a world without the internet. So when I noticed that my students were standing beside a beautiful Creekside and they were 'Snapchatting' on their smartphones with classmates less than a metre away from me, why did I leap to the conclusion that they were using the technology to escape rather than engage with their immediate environment? As it turned out, they were 'Snapchatting' about the creek we were working on in that class. This experience prompted me to delve deeper into this workshop's theme, the sensorial connection between the human and the more-than-human, through technology.

This process took place in five parts spread over one year. Once a week, for five months, I worked with students from the newly established project-based learning focused, Vernon Community School in British Columbia's Okanagan Valley. Using the tools available to us, from a couple of pencil crayons to the smartphones in our pockets, we learned in, and collaborated with, the natural world; discovering and getting to know the more-than-human members of our community in a riparian area behind the school. Our goal was to "co-create" with our environment using new media and performance-based eco art. We attempted to reclaim the use of our senses in the natural world, aiming to reconnect with our human right and responsibility of planetary stewardship. Each one of the five parts focused on a mutual exploration of one of the five human senses between us and our more-than-human collaborators. And at the end of this co-creation experience, participants invite their community to a public art sharing in the natural space where they have been making these explorations.

As I learned standing beside that creekside watching students 'Snapchatting' one another mere meters apart, there is value and knowledge all around us, all the time, in all forms. It is knowledge that has to be sensed, lived, and experienced to be attained. That knowledge, generated from this sensory exploration, is the human form of a download. This book is what we created and explored together.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781535012058
Publisher: CreateSpace Publishing
Publication date: 06/29/2016
Pages: 26
Product dimensions: 8.50(w) x 11.00(h) x 0.05(d)

About the Author

The natural world is an endless combination of constantly changing variables, each one fragile, awe-inspiring, and necessary to my survival; this is also the essence of creativity and the playful base from which I receive and give my ephemeral artistic impulses. I am an interdisciplinary eco artist. My performance based community work educates and empowers young people through mutual empathy with their environments. The manifestations of my artistic practice have varied over my career both in context and format. In 2010, I founded the 'Best Plays Ever festival' (Toronto, Ontario) to enable aspiring youth in the arts to generate performative works in response to the specific lifestyles created by their urban surroundings. Over the past few years, I've been leading the Daylighting The Classroom project with Middle School students across the Okanagan Valley in a partnership with the University of British Columbia's SSHRC funded Eco-Art Incubator research initiative. In this project, we are using eco art and democratic digital media technology - such as smart phones and interactive web platforms - with process-based performance to offer an alternative mode of learning through a creative and embodied direct engagement with the more-than-human natural world. Through all my work I seek to bring people and their environments together in conversation, to realize the full capacity of their individual and collective agency in whatever place they are in, however it may manifest.

- Shimshon Obadia, BFA.

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