Accessibility, Texture and Trust; The First Two Classes With Carmen Papalia

Since mid-January, Carmen Papalia, the third artist to participate in A New Path to the Waterfall has been getting to know the students of MaryAnn Persoon’s grade 6/7 class through some non-visual ice breaking activities.

Carmen Papalia is a Vancouver based artists whose social-practice based projects address topics involving public space, art institutions, visual culture and accessibility. He creates experiences, workshops, walks, performances and interventions that engage trust and non-visual senses.

For their very first class, Carmen had everyone head down to the school’s gym. There, everyone (including adults!) formed two lines down the middle of the gym. Standing about a body length apart, we took turns running down the middle of the two rows, eyes shut! At the end, we partnered up, linked arms, and ran in pairs. Lots of interesting running styles were witnessed!

Running with our eyes closed!

Running with our eyes closed!

During the second session, everyone brought to class something that was special to them. We sat in a circle passing around each item and discussed why it was important to that person. It was a great way to get to know each other more and also a warm up to the next activity where everyone was presented with a ‘texture bag’ full of odds and ends: from various fabrics scraps, plastic animals, seashells, cotton balls etc.

Sharing objects of importance brought from home

Sharing objects of importance brought from home

Together, the class categorized the materials into different textural sensations, soft, plastic-y, rigid, natural, light and airy and also paper like. Closing their eyes to focus on the feelings that these materials evoked, they wrote down words to describe their what came to mind when they could feel these materials, but not see them.

The class feeling their way through texture

The class feeling their way through texture

 

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