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Experiencing Video Art

Grades 6–12

Detail of Twilight Avenger, 2008. Image courtesy the artist and Birch Libralato, Toronto. © 2008 Kelly Richardson.

Table of Contents

Featured Work
Objectives
Materials
Background Information for Educators
Discussion
Activities
New York State Learning Standards and Core Curriculum


Featured Work

Kelly Richardson
(Canadian, born 1972)
Twilight Avenger, 2008
High-definition video installation with audio, edition 3/5
Running time: 6 minutes, 20 seconds
Collection Albright-Knox Art Gallery
Fellows for Life Fund, by exchange, 2008
View a Clip of This Work Online


Objectives

  • Become familiar with the artist Kelly Richardson and her video work Twilight Avenger, 2008
  • Create a connection with Twilight Avenger through art, literature, and technology


Materials

  • Various art supplies: Drawing materials, paint, paint supplies, collage materials (magazines, photographs, glue, scissors, etc.)
  • A science fiction story or novel of your choice
  • Video camera and video editing software OR film camera and darkroom


Background Information for Educators

Kelly Richardson (Canadian, born 1972), whose media-based practice focuses on the idea of mixed realities, often employs sophisticated special effects, mixing real footage with digitally constructed elements. In her high-definition video installation Twilight Avenger, 2008, viewers initially find themselves staring at what appears to be a nighttime scene of a forest complete with ambient noises of hooting owls, singing frogs, and chirping crickets. Without warning, however, a seemingly radioactive green stag meanders into the frame and pauses to nose around, looking directly at the viewer before continuing on its way. Richardson filmed the stag at the Jedforest Deer and Farm Park in Scotland, the landscape at Kielder Forest in England, and the foreground tree in Canada’s Algonquin Provincial Park. The digital process she used to combine them took months and involved “heavy color manipulation, added fog,” and “added light rays” that “contradict the natural light in the image . . . alluding to another great light source.” Richardson has commented that the title “references the fantastical worlds created in online gaming, where more and more people are opting to trade their ‘real’ life for one that is ‘make believe.’” Thus, perhaps the deer is simply a beautiful fantasy. Richardson currently lives and works in Whitley Bay, England.


Discussion

  • Visit the Gallery and view Kelly Richardson’s Twilight Avenger with your students. The video runs on a loop for five minutes and forty seconds. Have the students watch the full video before starting the discussion.
  • Ask your students:
    • Where is the setting of this video? Is the setting a real place? Why or why not?
    • Why do you think the artist chose to put this particular deer in her work? Why do you think she chose to have a green vapor emanate from the deer?
    • What sounds do you hear? Why do you think the artist added sound? If there was no sound, would it make a difference? Why or why not?
    • What political, cultural, societal, or environmental issues does this video make you think of? Why?
    • What feelings or emotions do you experience during your viewing of the video?


Activities

 
Artmaking and Social Studies Connections

Have your students choose a political, cultural, societal, or environmental theme or issue of their choice, or assign one they are studying. They can then choose a landscape to draw, paint, or photograph, and brainstorm ways to alter it to illustrate their theme. Some ideas can be: collaging magazine images or print-outs; sponge-painting for a vapor effect; manipulating film photographs using different darkroom techniques such as dodging, burning, masking, etc.; or using photo-editing software with tools such as filters to manipulate digital photographs.

English Language Arts Connection

  • With your students, read an example of a science fiction work of your choice. Discuss popular themes found in science fiction stories, such as alternative realities, futuristic worlds, intelligent beings other than humans, etc.
  • Ask your students to brainstorm a science fiction plot that relates to Twilight Avenger. This could turn into a creative writing assignment or be left as a brainstorming activity.

Technology Connection

  • Share that the artist filmed the deer and the landscape in Canada and England, but then manipulated the video in her studio.
  • Using video-editing software, with Richardson’s work as inspiration, have students film a short video of a local landscape. They can also film an animal, person, or moving object to put in the video. Manipulate the video in a way that reflects Richardson’s style.

The following free video-editing software is available online:

  • Windows MovieMaker (PC)
  • iMovie (Apple)


New York State Learning Standards and Core Curriculum

  • New York State Learning Standards for the Arts (Visual Arts, including the museum visit) 1, 2, 3, 4
  • New York State Learning Standard for Social Studies 5
  • New York State Learning Standard for Technology 5
  • College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards for Speaking and Listening 1, 2
  • College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards for Writing 3, 4, 5, 10