I had the pleasure of leading a staff training for CDM's integrative education staff: Program and Exhibit Specialists. These are the frontline staff who engage directly with families in exhibit spaces at the museum. I shared an overview of our SHADOWDREAMSCAPE project and led a couple community-building theatre games and exercises. To finish the evening, the team broke into small groups and created a 1-2 minute performance with a couple criteria: pieces had to incorporate shadow, include a STYLE that will be featured in our installation (color, perception/misperception, full body shadow, hand shadow or phosflouresence). The groups jumped right in to developing the performance sequences and we shared our work with the other groups. Take a look- some really great imagery to incorporate into our devising process in November with the performers.
I spent my last day in San Jose meeting with my amazing design partners, Heidi Lubin and Will Krause, to plan the details of our space plan, make materials lists and divide up the building projects. Heidi has been my CDM liaison throughout this project and is herself a highly skilled multidisciplinary artist and arts manager. I met Will for the first time at our design meeting and he is a CDM exhibits designer with a long career in designing spaces for children. What an awesome team and here we are in shadow even:
Our plans for the West Wing exhibit space are finalized and include 11 different concept areas within a larger space. Though our project is based in shadow play, the performance will add a narrative layer to they space that tells a story of 5 interconnected characters. So grateful for CDM's gracious staff for letting us dream big with this project!
To begin a brand new project, I am including children in the development process. I'm curious to learn the ways in which children explore form and understand light and shadow . I hosted a workshop to observe and document children's play instincts within shadow and character development.
Yesterday, I spent the morning in CDM's Art Studio space, exploring form and shape with clay and the shadows they cast. Visitors used modeling clay and 3D bits to create interesting shapes and we tested them in different light-treated spaces. As part of our preliminary research on play experience in light, I documented visitor's discoveries to be used as visual reference by our ensemble in NOVEMBER when we begin devising our piece, SHADOWDREAMSCAPE. See some discoveries:
What did I learn?- I was surprised to learn that given our shadow play set-up, children under 4 were not particularly interested in or drawn to the shadow forms. I had thought they'd experiment more with shadows cast on the wall but instead were entirely focused on the object itself. Given, the shadow play areas were set amidst a semi-lit room but it stressed to me how important large and visually striking the shadow set-ups need to be in our installation. Part of the discovery experience will be looking behind the screen to see how shadows are made but the visual draw must be spectacular.
I also learned that CDM's visitors are young. Like 80% of them are under 4. Given my other experiences in children's museums this is a bit younger than I am used to. I will think clearer about engaging toddlers in shadows in safe and inviting ways remembering semi-lit darkness so as not to spook them.
A new project begins in a new part of the country! Woke up this morning in lovely San Jose, CA. I will be here for four days to meet staff, see the museum and lead a couple workshops to get ready for our NOVEMBER-JANUARY 2015 project, ShadowDreamScape debuting in the museum's West Wing Exhibit hall. I got to attend their Lantern Festival last night to celebrate the beginning of the Lunar New Year with over 3000 visitors! I love it here. More posts to come.