Each week when I visit my local market here in Kitchener, Ontario I’m drawn to the mushroom seller’s stall because the exotic shapes of the fungi. I like to eat most mushrooms, but my appetite for the Oyster Mushroom only extends to the visual.
Since I first put my hands on a serious camera, I’ve struggled with the Geek Factor – that thing where you want to touch the gear. It’s like walking around in fear you’ll buy a Leatherman Tool on an whim – the one with belt holster.
Then my son – whom I consider as far from Geekdom as one can get – got a Leatherman as a gift and was all ga-ga over it. Suddenly I was freed. Freed to indulge my gear fetish – in a healthy way.
One of the pieces of gear I consider a healthy choice is the iPod Touch I’ve been using for about a year now. It’s become my go-to, universal media tool.
In fact I recently used it to produce a 14 minute personal-story documentary in collaboration with inREACH, a social agency that offers support for young men who are trying to break connections with gang activity.
I use it extensively in my work as director of the Latitudes and Longitudes Digital Storytelling Project. I shoot still photos and video; write blog posts (like still one); edit video and record sound. At the digital storytelling project one of the greatest challenges is providing workshop participants with suitable technology environment for creation of their personal narratives.
In the past this has meant a fulling equipped computer lab with professional grade software and hardware – a tall order indeed for start-up art projects such Latitudes and Longitudes. This is where the iPod Touch comes in. I recently bought six basic iPods to form the basis of a mobile digital storytelling and media lab that I will be using in my future work.
First up is Local Food Bytes a series of two digital storytelling workshops designed to capture community stories about local food and its impact on peoples’ lives. The freedom afforded by a mobile media lab will allow me to hold these sessions at a neighbourhood coffee shop that offers a community meeting room and free WIFI to patrons – Misty Mountain Coffee Company on Queen Street South in Kitchener. You can get more details and register on the Latitudes and Longitude website.
I’ll also be using the mobile lab with a new project at inREACH, as well as at a Grade 5 classroom project funded by Arts Smarts Waterloo Region.
A water dance to the beautiful vocals of the Hilliard Ensemble.