Carolyn Weisnagel

4th Year, Art Education, Specialization

School’s out and TASK is in!

Video 1:24 min.


In June of 2014, Concordia University’s Art Education Department hosted Brooklyn-based experimental artist Oliver Herring to create TASKmtl, a series of TASK parties which invited people of all ages to participate in improvised expression through art, messy play and interactive performance. In this two week intensive workshop our group collaboratively designed, engaged-in, documented, and compiled materials to include coordinated spontaneous networked communications for each TASK event through popular mass media sites such as Instagram, Facebook, YouTube and Pinterest.

To promote our Teen edition of TASKmtl, creating a targeted message directed at youth in the medium and visual form through which they communicate became an amazing task for reflecting on teaching practice. As a visual artist engaged in digital storytelling, establishing “a connection between the creator and the viewer,” and knowing your audience gives voice to engaging communication (Howland, Jonassen and Marra, 2012, p.227). As an art educator “making content and connections relevant to students’ lives helps bring meaning and purpose to instruction in all content areas” (Dreon, Kerper and Landis, 2011, p.7). Drawing on these essential principles I looked to my students as teachers and chose one of their favourite platforms: the Hollywood-style iMovie Trailer as the vehicle for inviting them to join us.

Conceptualizing celebrating the end of a school year with art-making, my video School’s Out and Task Is In! was easily supported by the Hollywood-style movie trope my students introduced me to during our issues-based L.E.S on stop-motion animated films. The Trailers allowed them to quickly edit clips into quirky themed templates during the postproduction phase of editing on their iPad in class, when Media Lab time was unavailable. The immediacy of its platform proved it to be a great tool for unpacking the more sophisticated desktop movie-making software platforms to come and allowed for practice working out timing of music, titles, transitions and credits for their films. At TASKmtl, personal stories influenced the tasks we wrote, performed, shared and collected.

My short trailer serves to build a greater story around Oliver Herring’s Socially Engaged Art and the inclusive vision and nature of collaborative art practices and TASK. My students’ way of knowing and storytelling “as actors who view, read, watch, play and often instruct their teachers about popular culture and media” has also helped me to reflect upon, evaluate and expand thinking about my own knowledge production and the dialogical relationship I have with students as cultural producers (Marshall and Sensoy, 2011, p.2). Created for: ARTE 398U TASKmtl.

References: Dreon, O., Kerper, R. M., & Landis, J. (2011). Digital Storytelling: A Tool for Teaching and Learning in the YouTube Generation. Middle School Journal (J1), 42(5), 4-9. Howland, J. L., Jonassen, D., & Marra, R. M. (2012). Meaningful learning with technology (4th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson Education Inc. Marshall, E., & Sensoy, O. (2011). Rethinking popular culture and media. (1st ed.). Milwaukee, WI: Rethinking Schools Ltd.