A short visit to a Nenets chum on the tundra

Posted by Rosanne van Klaveren on Saturday November 3rd 2012 at 18:10

During my stay in Naryan Mar and Krasnoye for the NIVA TO NENETS project, I had the possibility to travel to some Nenets on the tundra. This was only for a very short visit. I was flashed into a traditional reindeer herding livelihood, and absorbed every second with great joy and appreciation… resulting in hours of remembrance. The herders were friendly and welcoming. When I was notified that it was already time to travel back to the car, my whole body seemed to protest and wished to stay. But on the sledge pulled by reindeer all my muscles were filled with joy again!

I made much more photographs during this short visit. Some can be found in a Facebook album: http://tinyurl.com/c4fvuyg

Guest lessons in Naryan Mar

Posted by Rosanne van Klaveren on Monday October 29th 2012 at 22:40

During the last week of October I gave several guest lessons at the Naryan-Mar Socio-Humanitarian College in the Northwest of Russia (www.nmsgc.org). I lectured not only about the NIVA TO NENETS project and the FOOD RELATED project, but also about Belgium and the Netherlands, and about the social function of art. After one of my presentations, the students wanted to make a group picture with my picnic blanket.

I made small creative questionnaires about the Lada Niva for these students, because I was curious to learn about their feelings for this car. So after my presentations the students filled in the booklets, which were handed out together with small Niva’s made from Belgium chocolate.

Mock-up Niva

Posted by Rosanne van Klaveren on Sunday October 21st 2012 at 10:25

A powerful artefact that illustrates the artistic approach of the NIVA TO NENETS project is a mock-up of the Lada Niva. This car made of wood and felt is used during the picnic-quizzes. People can sit behind it while pretending to drive the car. The Niva mock-up car has proved to be a strong artefact for the creation of interest, enthusiasm, imagination, joy and engagement. It has been the centerpiece in photo-shoots during which the temporary feeling of togetherness was strong.

A picnic before the fair…

Posted by Rosanne van Klaveren on Monday September 10th 2012 at 18:54

Audiovisual projects are too often only shared with the audience when they are finished. During interviews, lectures and other presentational channels people get informed about the creation process, but usually only after this process is closed. As a day after the fair it comes with a waste of possibilities while uncovering the process can lead to valuable insights and involvement. Making the creation process public can and will also influence the project itself, generally in a positive way.

To open up the creation of my interactive roadmovie NIVA TO NENETS, I developed a so-called picnic-quiz as a medium for sharing ideas, concerns and other specifics. In this audiovisual project I will drive my beloved Lada Niva from Belgium to the Nenets in the northwest of the Russian Federation, driven by the wish to give this small off-road vehicle to an indigenous reindeer herding family who is struggling with accelerated climate change and their adaption to modernity. Such a gift comes with many side effects, which will be discussed on the road with a changing group of co-drivers. A couple of these paradoxical aspects of bringing help are discussed during three picnic-quizzes, held at Extrapool in Nijmegen, Danish Art Workshops in Copenhagen and the 12th Participatory Design Conference in Roskilde.  The format of a quiz was chosen to pose questions to the audience in a ludic way, combined with fancy snacks and colorful picnic blankets to create a dynamic atmosphere. After each quiz-question, the colors of the picnic blankets symbolized the possible answers the participants could choose from. Hence they were stimulated to move around. Every answer came with different snacks in matching colors. Where food in general has the ability to bond, it stimulates sharing and exchange even more when it comes in multiple bite-sized shapes.

NIVA TO NENETS picnic-quiz at Danish Art Workshops, Copenhagen 2012NIVA TO NENETS picnic-quiz at Danish Art Workshops, and at the Participatory Design Conference 2012

All three picnic-quizzes were pleasurable events. The format turned out to be astonishing strong in turning the audience into participants. Even before the first question was dropped, during an introductive talk about the project and its intentions, people were more open and at ease than at regular presentational talks. I am convinced that the sitting on the ground plays a major role in this, as it removes the imaginary fourth wall between speaker and listeners. I am also convinced that the huge amount of preparation work that precedes a picnic-quiz is a major factor in its success. People see, feel and appreciate the caring, making them care too. Especially when people are asked for their responses, opinions and ideas, they should at least get twice as much in return, I believe. This not only underlines the appreciation of their contribution, but also helps in opening up the otherwise so preserved creation process. Holding these picnic-quizzes on the eve of the fair instead of the day after strengthens not only the project but also its bond with the audience. A picnic-quiz can therefore do more than making a project public: it invites people to become part of the project by turning the audience into participants.

NIVA TO NENETS Picnic-Quiz at PDC’12

Posted by Rosanne van Klaveren on Monday August 20th 2012 at 17:00

I have presented the  NIVA TO NENETS project at the Participatory Design Conference in Roskilde, during a picnic-quiz. In three questions I asked the motivated group of participants about their opinion and concerns related to some side-effects of bringing help to an indigenous people (specifically the Nenets, a semi-nomadic reindeer herding people in the northwest of the Russian Federation). The answers to the quiz-questions were connected to colourful picnic-blankets with matching picnic-snacks. A mock-up Lada Niva made from wood and felt stimulated the creative minds and the feeling of togetherness.


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