Landscape of Hope

Landscape of Hope is a unique, evidence-based intervention that magnifies youth narratives as they pertain to building resilience against racism, discrimination, prejudice and cyber bullying.

The digital art initiative is youth-led and designed to empower them with critical digital literacy skills and social media tools to create cutting-edge multimedia performances and installations that describe their experiences with hate, discrimination and cyber bullying. Our aim is to implement and evaluate a sustainable, multi-sectoral, culturally-relevant, youth-led approach to creating media-based narratives that accurately reflect youths’ lived experiences, with the ultimate objective of reducing instances of discrimination.

Credit: Dezy Nair

Landscape of Hope is inspired by and derived from the work of the multimedia collective Landscape of Hate.

In this 9-minute video, members and participants explain the concept and experience of Landscape of Hope.

The Landscape of Hope logo, created by David Hall, is a take on the universal symbol for wifi. The two hand-drawn lines and ink splat for the traditional circle represent artistic creation, and the project’s ethos of using art and the creation of art amongst young people to help counter online harassment, bullying and hate. The barbed wire line represents this online hate, however the two hand-drawn bars safely protect the user – art protects us and creates a safe space – from online bullying.

The shape of the overall logo, starting at the bottom, gradually expands and gets bigger – not only does this respect the original symbol, and its meaning of wifi signal spreading outwards – but this represents the ripple effect ones actions, behaviour and language have online. They can often start small, and grow exponentially.

Ultimately, this logo will be seen as a fusion of mobility, online presence, creativity, and protection.

Events

Landscape of Hope – Remixing the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts Collection, November 2019

Concordia University graduate students in drama therapy, visual arts and sound studies were inviting to experience and reinterpret the museum collection through sense mapping, response art, sound collecting and remixing workshops that ran from Tuesday November 19 to Friday November 22, 2019.

The event included three distinct workshops run on three consecutive days. Attendees were guided in collecting their impressions – via the Plural app developed by Project Someone – of the Museum collections and transforming their media into ephemeral installations addressing themes of hope, despair and resilience. The fourth and final day included a combined reflection and improvisation with all attendees.

Owen Chapman, Julien Younes, Ehsan Akbari, Whitney Slipp, Olivia Morson, Vivek Venkatesh, Dezy Nair, Annabelle Brault, Sandra Chang-Kredl. Photo Credit: Kathryn Urbaniak

Senses Remixed
Workshop 1 with Ehsan Akbari (Art Education, Concordia University)
Participants revisited the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (MMFA) collection with sensory walks, sense mapping and mobile photography. These activities invited participants to observe, notice and interpret the spaces of the museum and to learn from and about each other by sharing images, maps and observations.

Embodying Resilience
Workshop 2 with Olivia Morson and Whitney Slipp (Creative Arts Therapies, Concordia University)
This workshop explored hope, despair, and resilience as it intersects with the museum’s collection. Participants were asked to embody and observe resilience in response to the collections at the MMFA by producing their own form of ‘response art’. Participants created masks (physical and virtual) to try to gain a deeper understanding of what these themes mean as a collective and as individuals.

Re-imagining MMFA
Workshop 3 with Julien Younes and Dezy Nair (Communications Studies, Concordia University)
This interactive workshop aimed to recreate the MMFA space through a collaborative remix. Participants were invited to explore the exhibits around the museum with a conscious ear, and collect sounds using iPhones or recorders with the intent of manipulating them afterwards with various pieces of gear.

Landscape of Hope – Theology in the city, October 2019

As part of the 2019 Theology in the City Conference at Concordia University, Landscape of Hope held a musical and multimedia performance at St-Jax Church on October 31, 2019.

Theology in the City is a free week-long conference hosted by the Department of Theological Studies explores the themes of resilience, hope, suspicion and fear through a multidisciplinary lens.

In the weeks prior to the performance Landscape of Hope invited Concordia Art Education and Theology students to co-create multimedia material with students from l’École des arts visuels et médiatiques de l’Université du Québec à Montréal for a special theologically themed performance. Professors Vivek Venkatesh (Concordia) and Martin Lalonde (UQAM), and research assistants Léah Snider (Art Education, Concordia), Éva Roy (Art Education, Concordia) and Dezaye Nair (Media Studies, Concordia)  facilitated a digital arts workshop introducing students to theological questions and enabling them to contribute to Landscape of Hope’s growing body of digital materials surrounding the way in which we address the concepts of hate and hope in postmodern society.

 

Landscape of Hope – Iceland, July 2019

Landscape of Hope (Vivek Venkatesh and Owen Chapman) performed with Bardspec at the Eistnaflug 2019 festival in Neskaupstaður, Iceland in July 2019. The Eistnaflug 2019 performance was the first live collaboration between BardSpec and Landscape of Hope. BardSpec is the ambient project from Enslaved composer/guitarist Ivar Bjørnson.  Canadian filmmaker David Hall (Uneasy Sleeper) who runs live visuals for Bardspec and is a visual designer for Landscape of Hope – contributed his unique brand of provocative and thought-provoking films at the event.

Credit: Ásgeir Þrastarson

Also at Eistnaflug, Grimposium, in partnership with Project Someone, and Enslaved auctioned some unique posters – which had been signed by all the members of Enslaved – during the festival. The proceedings were donated to local Icelandic initiatives that promote community resilience to discrimination.

In September 2017, Project Someone, Grimposium and Enslaved teamed up in Québec City, Canada for the one-off NordiQC festival – a celebration of Bergen-based music, culture, tattoo and visual art. As part of the public engagement activities at NordiQC, Vivek Venkatesh and Enslaved founders Ivar Bjørnson and Kjetil Grutle teamed up with Québec-based visual artist Filip Ivanović to create a video reclaiming runic narratives from right-wing extremists. Bjørnson and Grutle drew out 24 Runic symbols on Ivanović’s NordiQC posters, explained the meaning of each of these symbols, and talked about how these symbols were being misappropriated by extremist groups to promote racist ideals.

Landscape of Hope – Montreal, February, 2019

The Landscape of Hope team, in partnership with Project Someone, Grimposium, and Unesco chair-prev, held its Canadian premiere on February 20, 2019. The show was held at Concordia University, at the 4th Space (1400 De Maisonneuve Ouest).

Here is a recording of the full-length performance.

The Montreal performance recording includes samples contributed by Anna Hains-Lucht, Anne-Sophie Robitaille, Despina Caravias, Dezaye Nair, Eleanor Hart, Elise Ross-Nadie, Emilie Depelteau, Fina Murphy-Glderman, Jihane Mossalim, Karen Tannous, Mario Perron, Miranda Bray, Nicola Morry, Nik Forrest, Shekky Tween, Taylor Lewis, Train Chakrabarti, Viola Chen.

Landscape of Hope – Tromsø, November 2018

The inaugural performance of Landscape of Hope by Vivek Venkatesh and Owen Chapman was held on November 7 2018 in Tromsø, Norway alongside collaborators at Arctic PrideTVIBIT and Nordnorsk Kunstmuseum. Prior to the performance, there was an interactive workshop on digital art for young people between 17 to 24 years old on November 5.

Credit: Alessandro Belleli

The Tromsø performance recording includes samples contributed by Giulia Troisi DanieLa Toma, Eeke Brussee, Maïa Zayani, Valentin Caball, Yosief Yohannes, Benedikt Jahning, Louis Munk Klarup, Nejc Nadbath, and Cheshtaa Chitkara.

Listen to the performance here:

Team

Vivek Venkatesh PhD

Vivek Venkatesh is UNESCO co-Chair in Prevention of Radicalisation and Violent Extremism, and Professor of Inclusive Practices in Visual Arts in the Department of Art Education at the Faculty of Fine Arts. He is an interdisciplinary and applied learning scientist who investigates the psychological, cultural and cognitive factors impacting the design, development and inclusive adoption of digital media in educational and social contexts.

Owen Chapman PhD

Owen Chapman is a composer, DJ and researcher. His work addresses the place of sound in everyday life. He is an Associate Professor in Sound Production and Scholarship in the department of Communication Studies at Concordia University.  His audio work involves app design, live performance and electronic composition and has been featured internationally in video soundtracks, media workshops, site-specific installations as well as solo and group performances.

Kathryn Urbaniak

Kathryn Urbaniak is Program Manager at Project Someone. She is an experienced learning experience designer and researcher with degrees in Educational technology, Information Technology, and Business.

Annabelle Brault

Annabelle Brault, MA, MTA is a resource-oriented music therapist, musician, researcher and educator. A full-time music therapy lecturer at Concordia University, she is interested in the use of music technology as a creative medium to instill social change.

Sandra Chang-Kredl PhD

Sandra Chang-Kredl is Associate Professor in the Department of Education at Concordia University. She researches teacher identity, children's popular culture, curriculum studies, and cultural studies. 

Martin Lalonde PhD

Martin Lalonde is a professor in Art Education at the School of Visual and Media Arts in Université du Québec à Montréal. His research focuses on the impact of mobile digital technologies on teaching and learning, on the intersection of arts education and social work with at-risk populations, and on informal creative practices in visual and media among young people.

Jason Wallin PhD

Jason Wallin is Professor of Media and Youth Culture Studies in the Department of Secondary Education at the University of Alberta.

Jessie Beier

Jessie Beier is a doctoral student at the University of Alberta specializing in art education and film studies.

David Hall  

David is an accomplished producer and filmmaker with over two decades of experience; he is also the director of the critically acclaimed concert documentary Blekkmetal.