Amy Bohigian’s community video installation Wide Shot / Close Up has been on display at Touchstones since November, and now last year’s cultural ambassador is offering workshops to engage youth on the identity issues explored in the piece.
“We didn’t create the show for youth per se, but because it’s about identity and exploring your place in the community it seemed like a natural fit for this project to have youth first come experience the show, and then there will be activities and exercises,” said Bohigian.
The installation features five stations, all playing pre-recorded interviews with 24 Nelson locals. The subjects speak about the weather, about their loved ones and about how they perceive themselves, among other topics.
“As a facilitator, Amy is skilled at creating a sense of acceptance and trust, which allows people to explore issues and make connects with one another,” said Demers.
“Participants in the interviews can attest to the transformational power of the project.”
One of the subjects said the following about the project: “Wide Shot / Close Up has helped me to claim my self and my uniqueness…and to realize that I’m not alone, that other people struggle with similar things and have the same kinds of feelings I do.”
Another said “it’s fundamentally about community-building because it softens your heart and inspires new connections.”
“They’ll talk about their first impressions, about how we perceive each other and how to be vulnerable and honest in our relationships. And then they’ll take a good look at themselves too, so you’re not only seeing your own reflection but also how you perceive yourself within a social system as well,” she said.
“We’ll have a mix of reflective and conversational and participatory activities.”
Bohigian will be facilitating the workshops with the support of Touchstones’ curator and programming coordinator Jessica Demers.
“We’re also inviting other teachers and mentors to come in and take a role as a participant. We’re looking for any number or type of groups. It would be really good for theatre students to explore different character or themselves. It would also be great for social studies classes looking at how we’ve treated groups of people and individuals over the course of history,” she said.
The workshops will be available for the last week of January and the first took weeks of February. They can handle groups of as many as 40 people.
“And if you come in with a particular set of issues we can explore and we can customize,” said Bohigian.
Bohigian recently completed her year as Nelson’s cultural ambassador, and is anticipating the premier of her Kootenay documentary Dreamers & Dissidents in approximately May. The film, which details the region’s history, will have its world premiere at the Nelson Civic Theatre.
“That’s the next big release in my life, and I just continue to work on community-related projects,” she said.
The Touchstones workshops will cost $3 per participant and are open to youth aged 13-18. Dates available to be booked are Jan. 28, 29 and Feb. 4, 5, 6, 11, 12 or 13.
To register email firstname.lastname@example.org or call Jessica Demers at 250-352-9813 ext. 275. Registration deadline is January 26.