PTC Weekly #7: Green screens, Dioramas and Saying Goodbye.
Another great art-filled week at PTC, but tinged with sadness, as this week we said our final goodbyes to the kids at the Spandau shelter :'(
The reception center in Spandau was one of the first shelters we ever came to, and since the start of PTC, we have been visiting Spandau every Friday. Sadly, this shelter is being shut down, so last week we went to Spandau for the final time, to say goodbye to the kids.
Spandau holds a special place in our hearts, and so do all of the kids that we have been coming to see every week for the past three years. A lot of the children have already moved on, some to new homes and others to different shelters, and the ones that remain will also be relocated in the upcoming weeks. Perhaps we will meet them again at a different shelters, but it is hard for us to make promises like that. We were also given a box of chocolates by the social workers that work full-time at the shelters, in thanks for our support. It was difficult trying to explain to the kids that we would not be returning next week- a lot of them didn't understand that this would be the last time they saw us. Thankfully, we were able to invite all of them to our open sessions in Wedding, and we really hope that some of them will come to see us there.
Whatever the future holds, we wish to send all of the children and their families, and everybody who works or lives at the Spandau shelters goodbye, good luck, and hopefully.. see you again! <3
In Weissensee, Maëlle and Manon organised a 3-day long animation workshop for the kids. This is unlike anything PTC has done before! Following on from her previous workshop series on the theme of identity, and playing with the process of externalization, Maëlle hatched her next big idea: Finding a green screen, and actually putting the kids INSIDE their own creations!
For those of you not familiar with green screens, essentially they are a way of capturing life-size people or objects on film, and then superceding them onto any background you choose. This is a really cool trick used all the time in cinema, because it allows film producers to play around with settings, shrink or expand characters accordingly, and mix different types of media. A classic example of this is mixing human beings with animation- like in Mary Poppins!
Due to the diverse range of ages, the kids were split into two different groups, with the older children (7+ years) attempting a slightly more advanced version of the activity in the afternoon, and the younger kids attending a separate session in the morning.
On Monday, Maëlle explained the project to the kids, showing them her example, and describing the green-screen process to the older ones. Then the kids all made their own backgrounds, with the younger kids making use of some pre-cut pieces that Maëlle had already made for them, including cherries, bananas and trees. The older ones were challenged with creating their own video game universe, complete with robots, villains, and the hero- themselves!
On Tuesday, the younger children made their monsters using special brightly coloured plasticine and googly eyes. The kids enjoyed making their monsters so much, that most ended up making about 5 monsters each! "Whatever shapes or colours the kids decided to use", explained Manon, "the googly eyes made it work!" Meanwhile, the older children made their own avatar heros and their own plasticine monsters.
On Wednesday, both groups filmed their animation. The green screen was set up, the lighting had to be really bright, and the camera installed correctly. The younger children didn't really understand this technical part, and were just happy to be able to play in front of the camera. However, the older kids took a real interest in the technical process, and were much more savvy about the creative potential of green screens... They certainly made the most of their time in front of the camera, and a lot of questions were asked, such as, "Can I fly?", or "Can I have a gun?"
All in all, another fantastic workshop series by Maëlle. We cannot wait to see the finished results- stay tuned!
Dioramas are mini universes, created by down-scaling life-sized objects to form mini replicas. In Pankow, the kids were charged with inventing their very own Universe- we kept the brief open to interpretation as we wanted to see how imaginative the they could be!
Using grass, cotton wool, leaves and other items, the children each crafted their own Universe, putting everything inside a shoe-box. To complete the look, they put a hole in the box and threaded some mini lights through it, illuminating their diaromas. Everyone really enjoyed the workshop, and the kids were able to take their dioramas away with them to show to their families.
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