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noTours Ghent – workshop with children

S.M.A.K. City Museum of Contemporary Art & Citadel Park Ghent.

An art educative project by the Milena principle/WIT (Geert Vermeire, Stefaan van Biesen, Margot Dieleman, Eric Windey) and Escoitar.org.

Stefaan van Biesen (the Milena principle/WIT) gathers around 10 am seven children, enjoying the sunshine, on the steps of the museum. It is clear that they already know each other and they day begins with happy talking around the tables in the hall, where the electronic material is displayed.

On the program in the morning they get an introduction in the recording and editing of sounds, although only one computer is available. Because of this and the relatively short time – though the biggest distraction is especially because of each other – they were soon looking forward to make recordings and soundscapes. A short visit to the museum opens with the one-liner of guard Ronny: “Do you have a ticketjeee?”. Filip also shows us his musical tricks. Stefaans adds a beat on the words of Filip, animating the children. Then the children brainstorm individually. Ideas, words, sounds raise spontaneously, ready to use for their soundscape. Sound is connected with origami and soon small boats and small kites float through the entrance hall. When they are finished with playing they get a brief explanation of what will happen in the
afternoon and lunch arrives (too early).

At 1:20 p.m. the children wait already, shouting that the artists are late.In fact two more artists (Eric and Margot) join the team and arrive together with Filip. The latter gives a creative tour of the exhibition of Macchi and Sailstorfer. Both exhibitions are very accessible for a child’s imagination and the creativity of the children is set in motion without effort.

About forty-five minutes later the group is going to the park to search for sounds to be used in the end result: an appealing sound walk with soundscapes. First of all, the children let float some of their paper boats with words and ideas. The sound of the water and the ducks are recorded. It was asked to the children to bring their mobile phone to make recordings. Not every child had a phone, so they learned to listen and together with the others they make recordings. The first sound that fascinates them is the gasp of an old dog. And so everything started. The next appealing sound that reaches the ears of the children is the bell of the ice cream cart, all are tempted. Stefaan invites all the children for an ice cream.

Afterwards the children continue their exploration of sounds and discover their own voice. Original melodies and rhythms are resonating through the afternoon. After the walk we return to the hall of the museum to listen to the recorded sounds. The children choose their favorite sounds and out of lack of time, the team will create soundscapes with this material later and integrate it in a sound walk. The children will return to listen to it on on Heritage Day on May 1st. Until next week!

Report : Nina Beghin, trainee of the Public Programme, S.M.A.K.  translated by Geert Vermeire.

You can see a graphical report (in Flemish) in this pdf.

All this in collaboration with The Milena Principle and SMAK.