Have you heard?
Storytelling without a medium | A multidisciplinary artistic project by a creative collective from Finland in a residency in Edinburgh, Scotland
How can you tell a story? What means and methods will you arm yourself with? What will happen if the story is simply set free to wander with no final destination and no medium? This project is a research on public urban environment, on storytelling and on Story as an independent, living and developing substance. We aim to create an immaterial piece of art, living in the imaginary of the urban community: a narrative, shared and experienced in the life of the polis.
The project incorporates various forms of visual, media and performing arts, implemented through a series of interconnected interventions developing in time in different real spaces with local input. Altogether they tell a story of the characters from different backgrounds meeting in Edinburgh.
The project is carried out by our team of four people: a filmmaker, a sound designer, an environmental designer and a producer. We aim to involve in our project the local community and local artists who would enrich and develop our story. As a wrap-up, we will present a documentation of the work we developed, in a form of documentary and photography exhibition.
The main objective of the project is to create a narrative in scope of conscience of a city, experimenting with different methods and scales of storytelling and to observe the life-cycle of a certain story incorporating as many art forms as possible. Our objective is, through a series of art interventions, to tell a story to a city. A story of fictional characters that inhabit the same space as its citizens. We aim to tell people about our characters, as if they were real people we once heard about. On the other hand, we also focus on the content of our story and the artistic statement we claim through it.
Our narrative focuses on the life of the contemporary generation of immigrants and respective issues of the adaptation to a new place. Another important aim we set is making contacts for further collaboration with the local art community of Edinburgh.
The Story and Characters
Two immigrants arrive to Edinburgh, losing themselves in a foreign city for the first time. As they arrive, they try to adapt looking for a place to call home. As they explore the city, they learn about it, and start creating within it, mingling with other people on the same conditions and, at last, finding each other. The narrative starts from different directions, from the places in the world where the two characters are from. It describes their backgrounds, origins and lifestyles and eventually brings them together. Step by step, the story is being enriched by new characters and details.
The methods of visualization and narrative of the story subtly integrate all the characters and events with everyday life of the city, make them present and known in the conscience of the citizens. Each character becomes “a friend of a friend” or “someone I have heard of”. This kind of narrative is akin to a gossip or an urban legend. This story is a celebration of the multicultural world, not in a big scale, but in a minor, personal scale, a manifestation of an individual becoming bigger than the weight of his culture, becoming a citizen of the world, of finding love, passion, and friendship, while being lost and in search for himself in a strange place.
How we tell the story
We want to experiment on how to inscribe a story into the imaginarium of a social space. How can we imprint a story into the life and culture of a given population? The main objective of our work is a social intervention, aiming to reach a point where the collective mind of Edinburgh (or a part of it) has met the characters, has heard about them, knows about their existence, just as if they were real people.
A story is immaterial, it exists in mind only. The narrative does not depend on the physical devices, they only exist to manifest it, to bring the characters to life, afterwards, they live in the conscience of people, the conscience of the city. The story is imprecise, like a fable, where everyone adds details of their own, it evolves organically.
Our idea is to create several art interventions, taking place in different real-life places of Edinburgh, telling little bits of our story, developing it within time, adding new elements, evolving the life of the characters, from space to space, from day to day, into the mind and life of the city. It can be followed, it can change, it can be molded by real people. These interventions can take different form, from plastic arts to stage arts, the sole objective is to spread the story.
This concept leaves an open door to work with local artists in order to engage them in the project. The community can take part as an audience, as well as a storyteller, being welcome to write the lines of these two lives, to use new methods to spread the word, to intervene in-between the story and the social context, acting as a buffer, the intermediary between the two.
Methods and Technics
We plan to build several artistic interventions on the city, being prepared to work with different artists from Edinburgh, but also to work individually, leaving our ideas completely open to change or reinvention. Our main idea is to integrate media art in space, creating artistic installations in real living spaces. These interventions have at aim to tell stories, or simply fragments of stories, introduced through performance, video, sound, interior installations, street art and in other ways. We aim to combine our expertise in environmental design, video storytelling, sound design and art production to work with specific public spaces of Edinburgh, avoiding to be disruptive to the space, but staying discreet.