The story of ELEMENTAL is complex and wonderful
& involves great learning for me!
WHAT IS ELEMENTAL? Through the ELEMENTAL initiative,
the Vancouver Society of Storytelling worked with 5 different communities in Vancouver from March 2011-June 2012. In workshops, each community created stories using different elements as their central metaphor (air, earth, water, fire, metal). Physical legacies and community celebrations followed. On Saturday June 9th, 2012 a bicycle/bus tour showcased ELEMENTAL as part of the 19th Vancouver International Storytelling Festival.
I was excited, proud and honoured to work alongside Naomi Steinberg, friend and community builder, storyteller and artist extraordinaire.
Naomi is an elemental force for good in Vancouver!
My task was two-part.
1. to organize a bike ride to showcase the ELEMENTAL project.
2. to create a zine / artbook documenting the project.
100 copies of the zine were created hand-bound with linen thread, then distributed to community members and participants in ELEMENTAL.
i loved the process of unearthing, teasing, synthesizing & weaving
the community work and stories that Naomi had been developing.
i loved the process of physical production,
working with dear friends around the kitchen table.
My contribution to the content included excerpts such as:
geography of the city of vancouver
topography of the bicycle
a minor history of imports and exports in the region
the rise of several community spaces
thoughts about ethics of salvaging.
Also hand-lettered titles using ink and nibs throughout.
My main learning from producing this zine is about Authorship.
i now see i have historically indulged in a tendency to discount my authorship. i did it with this video, which i envisioned, directed, shot, edited and produced yet my name only appears as one of the members of the B:C:Clettes. Do i think this makes the Clettes look greater than they are as a whole? Do i escape scrutiny with my name absent? Is this residue from when i had bigger fear of being judged?In the case of ELEMENTAL zine, i failed to include my clear authorship in the printed version of the zine. One big bad result: it reads as if it could have been created by Naomi herself. She DID create the fabulous ELEMENTAL project, yet she DID NOT create the zine which celebrates the project and her part in creating it. As such, my slight of authorship means the speakers voice is uncertain, ascribing to humble Naomi praise-full thoughts which are not hers. I think highly of the project, but who am i?
i’ve now added my name clearly to the online version of the Zine.
the finished product is like a tapestry that showcases many values i hold dear, and i feel happy in my heart for having created it!