Still/ed Here is a story of displacement, told by many voices. It is an interactive participatory installation using the Augmented Reality technology of Lifeprint. It started as a poetry film, a multimedia artistic expression of a personal journey through war and displacement. It quickly turned into our collective narrative about understanding our roots, our identity and what it means to be “still here” or “stilled here,” looking into those internal and external forces that make us move from one place to another.
Poet Natasha Boskic, and artist, Mary McDonald, have decided not to stop there. Over the past 152 years, Canada has welcomed people who have come looking for a safe home. Within Canada’s borders, communities have been moved against their will, or moved in search of employment, housing, access to services. The migration of populations as a result of pogroms and the search for “better place” is not a new phenomenon. It has been going on since the beginning of the world. However, with almost 71 million currently forcibly displaced people, trying to make their home “somewhere else,” we need to think about the consequences of the fragmentations of human lives and families, and find humanity in chaos.
We want to share our skills and experiences as artists and creators, raise awareness to this important issue by showcasing the project Still/ed Here, and, more importantly, let the story of loss or abandonment of home and land through war, conflict, forced migration, and poverty grow and speak for itself.
We invite local writers and artists from each place of exhibition, in Canada or internationally, to interact with the theme of displacement as it has shaped them personally or their community through performative/onsite works. We invite the audience to share their individual stories. They are filmed, printed, and then added to the “wall” to create a collage of a collective story of the impacts of displacement. When viewed through the Augmented Reality app technology, those still photos become live videos allowing us to listen, watch and re-live the individual experiences of each contributor.
Our goal for the coming year is to reach communities across Canada, urban centres as well as remote and rural, Northern and Indigenous communities, visiting every Province and Territory, ending with an exhibition in Ottawa.
Still/ed Here is built, one story at a time.
Add your voice when Still/ed Here comes to the London Public Library for Newcomer Day. If you are on the West Coast, we will be presenting Still/ed Here at Word Vancouver, other locations throughout Vancouver, in Victoria, and on Bowen Island. Subscribe at StilledHere.ca to find out where we have been and where we are going next.