“Kids Connect” by Dorado and Kouswijk

  • ©Josephine Dorado and Saar van Kouswijk




    Kids Connect



    Kids Connect is a series of summer workshops culminating in an original performance between youth in distributed locations. Our goal is to have young people across the world connect through streaming media and art. Kids from each city are taught theatrical and technology-related skills in a workshop, facilitated by media and theater artists, in order to create a performance that occurs both live in the theaters and online simultaneously.

    For example, in the pilot program, we will be working with young people in Amsterdam and New York. In a series of progressive workshops, they will learn performance skills involving theater, music or dance, while also learning technical skills such as digital storytelling, video/audio production, and streaming.

    They will then take those skills and create a show. The entire process of the show will be collaboratively created by the youth involved, from storyboarding and concept creation to performing and online stream mixing, resulting in a show that they can perform together, simultaneously occurring in Amsterdam and New York and online.

    The objective is to bring youth together, so that they gain a sense of cultural understanding and connection while also learning creative and technological skillsets.

    It is a perfect time for a project that brings together artists and young people via performance and technology. Technology permeates most households and young people are growing up more comfortable with technology than their parents were. In an age where the square of the television screen and the square of the computer monitor dominate kids’ lives, why not harness that intimacy with technology to create a performance? The performance will serve as a creative outlet and learning tool for both the artists and youth involved and will cross cultures and disciplines.

    Our mission statement: we are dedicated to the promotion of cultural connection and understanding between children in different nations, through the use of online collaborative arts initiatives and education in media technology.

    Josephine Dorado (ZoomLab, New York) and Saar van Kouswijk (Waag Society, Amsterdam) will be collaboratively directing the workshops and performance premiere. Participating organizations in the pilot project are Waag Society for Old and New Media (Amsterdam) and ZoomLab (New York). At the time this paper was written, there was also discussion of partnerships with Imagine IC (Amsterdam) and Eyebeam (New York).

    The pilot project will be a model upon which to build other future collaborations. The goals of the project are to not only foster creative interplay and cultural connection but to also create a sustainable program that, through training and the use of local talent, can be repeated from year to year and city to city. This pilot project will commence in July 2006 and will conclude in a performance in August 2006.


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