In with the Old. Out with the New.
The old and new combined forces in an informative art project called Pixel the
Past. Brainchild from historian Kate Gahan and cultural planner Skye McNamara from Ballina Shire Council. Over a period of nine months they conducted
workshops bringing members from the Alstonville Plateau Historical Society
(dubbed heritage buddies) together with young people from Alstonville High
School in order to create new-media art relating local history.
Kate and Skye chose nine topics and found buddies who related to the topics.
These were then joined by students for more research and story idea development. After which the new media mentors were introduced. Without any instructions besides ‘new-media’ the groups came up with a proposal of how to approach and present their topic.
Generally the format chosen was a narrative video, which had to fit within a three minute time limit. A few teams sought to break away from the norm: “Newrybar” produced an interactive street map. “The Bank of NSW” designed a digital flipbook and “Education” assembled a talking display featuring the award winning school band from Alstonville Primary.
Some members of the historic society saw their chance to fulfil long life dreams with one passionate senior radically planning to liberate Sheroo’s kart in Lumley Park, having the bolt cutters ready. Instead they found they had all the elements necessary to really take flight on unlocking Sheroo’s story by using a drone.
The Cemetery team struggled to find a grave they wanted to feature but with a stroke of genius made this search their story. They told me “What interested us about the story was the suspicion around his death, the way he died was really unusual and very strange. We had to sift through lots of evidence which was fun, like detectives.”
Similarly students investigating “Policing the Plateau” reached the
verdict that past and present crimes of the area were seldom terribly
serious. Visitors to the Pixel the Past exhibition can further glean
insight in the history of Lumley Park from the perspective of its large
colony of fruit bats.
With very few exceptions all participants were novices at creating
new-media art. As such the mentors became extremely important to not
only help the teams develop a story but assist planning the shoot,
instruct on equipment, teach how to record and heavily support the
editing. Students and Buddies alike rose to the challenge with several
new digital creators on the rise.
As a result of this hard work and combined forces, nine very varied
but quality new media artworks are shown at Northern Rivers Community
Gallery, cnr Cherry & Crane Streets, Ballina from 29 March till 23
Pixel the Past is a collaborative exhibition produced by Skye McNamara, Kate Gaha in collaboration with Alstonville High school.
New media mentors: Susie Forster, Karenza Ebejer, Duke Albada.
Historic Society Collaborators: Jane Gardiner, John Simm, Elaine
McCormack, Lois Hennes, Amanda Burdon, Cathey Cohen, Roger Stanfield,
Jan Allen, Richmond Manyweathers.
Alstonville Highschool Students: Bayden, Chris, Eloise, Emily, Finn, Hannah, Hannah, Jack, Jahla, Jasmin, Josh, Jye , Lily, Marcus, Miah, Mobina, Monty, Rose, Salike, Sally, Stephen, Tamryn.