I see…

I feel …

I hear …

I am …

– Message in a Bottle workshop prompts

Distance and hybrid education is a major part of the new normal for students and teachers across Quebec and around the world. Rather than just a coping mechanism for modern times, video conferencing platforms such as Zoom, Google Meet and Teams have become a medium in their own right, allowing for exciting possibilities for arts and learning. 

ELAN Art Ed artists are optimizing video conferencing in workshops, using it not only to enable, but to be an integral tool in the artmaking experience. Designed by Jessica Houston, Louise Campbell, Guillaume Jabbour and Paula Knowles, the sound and visual arts workshop “Message in a Bottle” uses Zoom as a window through which we see and hear to better understand and engage with our own as well as each other’s surroundings. 

Students do contour drawings and “I see, I hear” games that are captured through Zoom sound recording and image functions. All of the media pieces created during the workshop are compiled into a music video. Jessica Houston emphasized that “the mixture of sound and visual exercises gave us all different ways to imagine how one could create a ‘message in a bottle’ – an image, words, sounds coming from our distinct spaces that are then compiled together and shared collectively”.

Dating back to 300BC, the idea of the message in a bottle is even more relevant in 2020, given the social distancing imposed by COVID-19. As artist Louise Campbell said, “Message in a Bottle is about connecting with people across distances, whether that distance is as close as the next room or as far as half a world away…. Online experiences of art making can be just as personal and touching as when we are in person.”

Zoom and video conferencing have the potential to be an absolute asset in arts education, and not only a substitute for being present in person. Our artists can help teachers adapt to distance and hybrid education, facilitating art experiences virtually and helping teachers better understand and navigate the potentials of video conferencing in their teaching practice.

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Message in a Bottle – Gratitudes

Louise Campbell, music & sound

Jessica Houston, visual artist

Guillaume Jabbour, musician

Creating a message…