AS220 Brighter Worlds


Museums Connect: Confronting Violence Through Youth-oriented Media, with AS220 & IZOLYATSIA

Dystopian and utopian societies are often depicted in pop culture targeted at young audiences; The Hunger Games, Divergent, and The Giver were some of the most popular young adult books/films of the last twenty years. Science fiction often depicts violence, totalitarian governments, and poverty, or conversely, exposes the hamartia of idyllic societies by uncovering corruption and greed. Critics of the genre often claim that themes of ultra-violence, political and social conflict are ‘unsuitable for young people.’ In April 2014, a war began in the Ukraine that has resulted in over five thousand deaths, numerous injuries, and forced entire regions to flee to safety. Over a million people are displaced because of the ongoing conflict. In the US, racial tensions rage as high profile cases of police brutality and “Stand Your Ground” laws resulting in the deaths of young people of color saturate the media. Violence, racism, and political conflict is unsuitable for young people, but it is inherent to their daily lives.

AS220, a multi-service, grassroots arts collective based in Providence, RI, and IZOLYATSIA, a non-profit, non-governmental cultural initiative based in Kyiv, come together through Confronting Violence Through Youth-oriented Media (CVTYM), a project that empowers young people traumatized and displaced by the conflict in Ukraine and youth in Rhode Island to envision a bold, new world through creative expression. The CVTYM will use science fiction medias to explore parallels between fictitious worlds and real life, channeling students’ experiences and perspectives to create narratives and virtual environments where their voices are heard loud and clear. Where power belongs to them.

Program Activities:

Research Seminars
4 hour research seminars will be held every other week (tentatively March 5th through June 11th). AS220 students will learn research methods and receive directed readings about the political climate in the Ukraine. Students will also connect readings and research to popular science fiction media. Seminars at AS220 will take place simultaneously with seminars at IZOLYATSIA. IZOLYATSIA students will research Creative Economy and Providence’s social climate. The goal for both sets of students is to understand political and social issues and explore how they are addressed through science fiction by way of films, novels and music. The Research Instructor will collect, archive and digitally publish all research related material.

Skype Discussions
During Research Seminars students from AS220 and IZOLYATSIA will engage in discussions once a month via Skype to analyze political and social issues as an international group. Offering context and different perspectives through active dialogue, student’s creative reporting will be informed by this process and they will gain greater understanding and feedback on one another’s exhibition concepts. The Research Instructor will help to facilitate these discussions by creating agendas, asking questions, and encouraging participation.

Creative Reporting Labs
Alternating with the research seminars, every other week AS220 students will meet for 4 hours to learn technical skills and produce creative reports on their research findings via social media and a collectively built class website. IZOLYATSIA students will meet every week for a 4 hour periods on Saturdays as well to participate in short workshops also aimed at producing these creative reports. Entering into the process of finding artistic ways to express and share thoughts on meaningful issues while simultaneously learning web based mediums, presentation methods will include, blog posts, graphic design, infographics, podcasts, and videos. Work may be done in groups or individually.

Printmaking Exchange
Tentatively April 18 through the 22nd, IZOLYATSIA Program Leaders will travel to meet the US participants and conduct a two day intensive lab in AS220’s Printshop. Combining elements designed by students from both organizations creative web outputs, students at AS220 will produce printed materials for distribution promoting the CVTYM program and its culminating events.

Summer Lab Intensive
Students from AS220 and IZOLYATSIA programs will attend respective all day 2 week production programs taught by the Media Instructors. The Summer Lab Intensive will begin with an overview of virtual reality and prototyping construction methods such as 3D modeling, game design and controls, green screen compositing, video projection mapping, wearable electronics, programming, kinetics, 3D printing, laser cutting and small scale model building. Using these methods as well as other skills learned throughout the course, students will then conceptualize and create projects for exhibition that imagine future worlds, spaceships, sustainable environments, or new urban designs.

The program will culminate with exhibitions in both Kyiv and Providence. Students will experience the process of installing their own works and learn documentation methods. Promotion for the exhibitions will be carried out by students and instructors in the months leading up the opening receptions. Students at AS220 will be giving an opportunity to speak about their experience and work to the greater Providence community in a gallery talk event. AS220 Program Coordinators and Instructors will travel to the Ukraine to attend the closing reception in Kyiv. They will meet the program participants in person and relay the experience of the students in the US to a larger audience through a panel discussion with student and instructor representatives from IZOLYATSIA as well as other Kyiv community leaders. These talks will be documented and shared online and between both sets of participants.