SERIES OF COLLABORATIVE PROJECTS
As our society becomes more and more engrossed with technology as a form of communication, we are learning how this affects our inter-personal relationships. No group is affected by this more than teens; they grew up with these gadgets at their finger tips and have brains that are still developing logic and reasoning skills. They're also still learning to understand body language and social cues. This project works with three high schools to explore how technology has affected their lives and abilities to communicate.
The three schools invovled in the project were: Moorhead High School, Perham High School, and Minnewaska High School. Each group of students were presented with examples of statistics about their age group and artists who's work is heavily influenced by or created from digital technology. Students were then posed questions and led through a conversation about the effects of technology as well as what they consider to be private and public and how this might be changing. After forming their own discussion groups to explore key issues, students were challenged to put their perspectives into a physical, creative form that could be shared.
The results included: a board game that compared real life goals with those on the interent, a double sided mirror that displayed a word cloud with how students felt in school vs out, a quilt made from the thumbprints and personal clothing items as representation of DNA and identity, a large fabric panel that asked people to share the first last text they sent and whether it was good or bad, a series of cubes that posed questions to the audience and space for anonymous answers, a chandelier made up of the worst texts students had either sent or received, a series of shadowboxes that correctly placed into context an image students found of themselved on the internet that they did not post and felt did not represent them appropriately, a lip dub video that demonstrated the struggle of teens to maintain individuality under the pressure of internet culture, a photo booth that allowed people to create selfies using polaroids and selectively sharing them in less public manner, and an interactive installation that asked people to anonymously share a status in the gallery that they would never share on the internet.
This project gave a voice to the teens that are often discussed yet rarely invovled in the decision making process. Throughout the exhibition, gallery guests were both shocked and delited by the depth of the students' perspectives. The exhibition was playful, with interactive installations and bright colors, yet horribly scary or odious, through the sharing of horrible texts messages and intensely private confessions.