Artistic experiences - process

Personal reflection on historical archives – Košice

Place of the workshop: Košice, Faculty of Art, Technical University and Open department of Prešov prison

Partners involved:
Westerdals School of Arts, Technology and Communication
Morten Thomte, film teacher : Joachim Norman Fleischer, Sabrina Khan Nostrøm, Bendik Gunnarson Mondal)
PhotoART Centrum
Pavel Smejkal, lecturer, archivist,
Peter Zákuťanský, artist,
Lena Jakubčáková, teacher

Audiences and territories involved:
Audiences: 9 Slovak art students, 3 Norwegian  film students, one historian, and 9 inmates
Territories: Faculty of Art, Technical University in Košice, Slovakia; Institute of Creative Photography, Silesian Univesity in Opava, Czech republic; and Westerdal Oslo ACT, Norway; Remand prison Prešov ÚVV a ÚVTOS, open department, Prešov, Slovakia.

Methodology proposed : Personal reflections on historical archive

Archives used: Slovak amateur photo and film family archives from the collection of PhotoART Centrum

Summary of the methodology proposed:
We encourage students to include their own skills, experiences and personalities into the collaborative work to avoid this being ‘a school exercise’. We wanted them to talk together about their ideas, memories, feelings, but also about their technical skills and artistic visions before starting to work. We wanted them to make personal reflections on ‘images from the history’. We also said they could include material of their own (´home videos’ from their own childhood/upbringing). One Slovak student did this and worked on her own rich photographic archive story.
What was really special for this workshop, was the combination of people from different fields of art (or even outside of art, like one historian) and from more universities (Norwegian, Slovak and Czech) with different approach to studies to get more creative inputs to the final work.

Results of the workshop : We found that it was possible, within the week, to come up with interesting ideas, to prepare the stories, collect new material, and finish the work. The students responded well to the challenge, although they didn’t have time enough to really finish their works. But working with archives helped them to deeper understand the history and the language of images and other media. There were three results from the workshop, accordingly to every from three groups involved. One group challenged the images by questioning the way we believe them in the new combination of words (they visited more older people, relatives of students or in hospital and asked them questions about their life during the socialism) and archive pictures from different families. Surprisingly good result they showed at the end of the workshop.
We encouraged the students to combine different techniques, approaches, media in one resulting piece, and they did: the result was finally the combination of interviews, voice recordings, drawing, and collage in the form of comics, storytelling, installations, videos and various artefacts from the history etc.

copyright Pavel Smejkal
copyright Pavel Smejkal
copyright Pavel Smejkal