Blind Cinema

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Dear families of 3rd, 4th and 5th grade students,

You know what’s one of the very best salves in trying times? Art. Making art, looking at art, talking about art, and participating in art happenings can do wondrous things for the soul. Well, we have a unique opportunity this year for our kids to get involved in something very cool through a new partnership with Performance Space 122.

PS122 will be working with Belgian-based artist Britt Hatzius to bring her film/performance experience called Blind Cinema to New York City this winter as part of their Coil Festival. EVCS kids will play a very important role in the experience of this film, and any interested 3rd, 4th or 5th grade students from EVCS are invited to participate. Here’s a statement from the artist about the project:

In the darkness of a cinema space, the audience sits blindfolded. Behind each row of audience members is a row of children who in hushed voices describe a film only they can see. Accompanied by the soundtrack (which has no dialogue), the whispered descriptions are a fragile, fragmentary and at times struggling but courageous attempt by the children to make sense of what they see projected on the screen.

Based on the method of audio description, ‘Blind Cinema’ as a live event is an experience where the act of watching a film becomes a shared investment: A collaborative and imaginative act between seeing children and blinded adults. It embraces the fact that the act of trying to find the right words to describe (even if at times being ‘at a loss for words’) and of trying to hold onto the consequently unstable images created in the mind’s eye, will always only be an approximation. To articulate in words in order to share experiences involves a struggle, a struggle that seems to be closest to those in the midst of discovering language’s potential and limits.

In focusing on that which lies beyond the sense of sight (leaving the illusory reality of cinema to re-enter that of the imagination), the attention oscillates between each shared but internal world guided by the whispering voice, and the shared physical space of the darkened cinema. The film, which has been specifically made for this performance, will be seen by each group of children for the first time. Hence, each performance will have a new group of describing children. Each screening is preceded by a workshop with the group of children, aged between 9 and 11.

BlindC 2015

The screenings of the film will be on January 9, 10, 11 and 12 at 5:30 PM, at the SVA Theatre – 333 West 23rd Street. EVCS staff will escort all kids who are participating to the theater from school, and back again when it’s finished. Each child who volunteers will participate in only one screening. A flier went home in backpacks today with a letter from PS122 Artistic Director (and former EVCS parent) Vallejo Gantner, and more specific information on the artist and the project. To learn even more about Blind Cinema, please check out Britt Hatzius’ website.

If you are interested in signing your child up to participate, please fill out this brief form, Let me know if you have any questions!