VESSEL launched our Ephemera Storytelling Box here in Elliot Lake last month, on January 25th 2019 at the Lester B. Pearson Civic Centre. If you couldn’t join us, you can check out some photos and info from the launch after the jump – as well as a first digital glimpse of some of the ESB artefacts!
For those new to the project, the VESSEL Ephemera Storytelling Box is a fictional story told through an installation art piece: a memory box full of artefacts owned by the characters of the story. For the official launch, each piece of the Ephemera Storytelling Box was displayed on its own along the back, as our team presented readings from the project for the audience.
We began with comments from VESSEL Director Dr. Kayt Lackie, who outlined details about the project, including introducing the story at the heart of it, and thanked the project’s contributors and supporters. She then introduced our first reader: hand-writer Fran Perkins, reading a letter penned by ESB character Constance Wabigijig, recounting the story of the party where the story’s romantic leads, Genevieve and Jude, first meet.
We enjoyed further readings from Elliot Lake’s own mayor, Dan Marchisella (hand-writer for male lead Jude Nesbitt), as well as Shane Miljevic (hand-writer for supporting character Johnny Nesbitt) and Kathleen Burke (who not only hand-wrote for female lead Genevieve LeFevre, but wrote a number of original pieces for Genevieve’s journal!)
Dan read a letter from Jude to Genevieve, talking about Jude’s hometown, a dying ghost town back in Newfoundland. Shane offered selected from Johnny’s hand-written asides scribbled in an old hymnal, from the character’s two-year stint in Elliot Lake’s brief-lived Ontario Reformatory. And Kathleen read a handful of Genevieve’s journal entries surrounding the character’s move to Elliot Lake as a naive newlywed, as well as a letter to Jude from many years later.
The presentation concluded with final comments from Dr. Lackie, who announced that the VESSEL Lab has received the Dot Award, awarded to an in-development interactive digital media project, for the Lab’s forthcoming The VESSEL Project. She also teased our next project, a ‘cozy mystery’ audio drama set in Elliot Lake!
After the readings, the audience were encouraged to explore the pieces of the ESB, laid out for their individual examination. They were also encouraged to try foods inspired by the characters: tortiere, as mentioned in Genevieve’s journal, and traditional Newfoundland ‘lassy buns’ (molasses buns), from a keepsake recipe given by a friend to Johnny Nesbitt before moving to Elliot Lake.
Finally, as the night came to a close, the pieces of the ESB were collected into the titular box and installed in its new home for the next month: The Gallery at the Centre, in the Pearson Centre.
All in all, it was a magical evening. If you want to check out the Ephemera Storytelling Box in person, it will be at the Gallery in the Pearson Centre for the next little while. After that – who knows! We hope the Box will travel to different homes for different audiences to experience.
In addition, the Lab is developing a digital version of the Ephemera Storytelling Box for our international audience. Keep your eyes peeled here, or at our Twitter, for news about future movements or iterations of the project.
Thanks again, so much, for your interest and support! — RJ & the VESSEL Team