The world has a strange way of bringing people together. We first met David Vaisbord when he was filming a documentary on former DFG artist Attila Richard Lukacs. Since “Drawing out the Demons” was released in 2004 we have remained in touch with David. Recently we have been meaning to ask him to write a guest post on his current project. For one reason or another we didn’t get around to asking. Then last week Diane received an email from David, he had just won the Farris Award for his MFA project.
David met with us at Emily Carr University last week to walk through the Masters of Fine Arts show in the Charles H Scott Gallery and share his experiences of documenting in his own neighborhood.
The Little Mountain Project
Multi Media: Photo, Video, Web, Mobile Media
96” x 72”
Artist Statement: I feel that these are exciting times for documentary filmmakers. Spurred on by the hardships that face us, in particular the financial collapse of support for the independent documentary in Canada, filmmakers are turning to new media to find innovating ways of connecting to their audiences through a multiplicity of forms.
My work on view in the Charles H. Scott Gallery is a merger of several strands of a multi-platform new media project, all of which are continuously evolving. The main image of the installation is a 72” x 96” colour image of the interface of a new website that I call the Little Mountain Social History Web Project. The technical programming that will animate that website is currently under construction. The image reflects a child’s eye view of the former housing project (including children, playgrounds, bulldozers, and technocrats) and celebrates the contribution of social housing, and its residents to the social fabric of the city.
Colour video monitors on either side of the image play sequences from two different sets of observations. The monitor on the right plays images, which I recorded prior to the demolition of Little Mountain, including interviews with former tenants and public protests. The monitor on the left plays images which followed the demolition process, including the civic engagement process which required participation by the stakeholders in the process: the former tenants, the community living around Little Mountain, the Vancouver planning department, and the developer/architect.
One of the strands of my recent explorations has been the creation of a website entirely dedicated to the civic engagement process. At www.littlemountainproject.com it is possible to watch every meeting of that process. I have written about this process in my Master’s thesis, “A Hyperlocal Manifesto: Exploring Hyperlocal Publics through The Little Mountain Housing Project, Social Video Advocacy and Web Documentary.” I suggest that a new form of documentary should be envisioned, one which is local in nature, process oriented, community engaged, and connected through the web. I call it hyperlocal documentary filmmaking.
I gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the FARRIS AWARD toward the research of social media in the arts.
- 2012 ECUAD Degree Exhibition
- Emily Chapman, ECUAD grad show highlight
- Kyung-Won Shin, ECUAD grad show highlight
- Craig Brumwell, ECUAD grad show highlight
- Miel Creasey, ECUAD grad show highlight
- Katharine Ferns, ECUAD grad show highlight
- Andrew Smith, ECUAD grad show highlight
- Christina Passey, ECUAD grad show highlight