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A Great Canadian Story Told Interactively
On the surface, the story of Paul Kane epitomizes the
North American dream of fame and fortune. On another
level, his experience as an itinerant artist and semi-literate
writer who becomes a cultural celebrity tells us a great
deal about the political and social life of British
North America in the mid-nineteenth century. In particular,
Kane's forays into the vast lands of the northwest,
which were totally guided and paid for by the Hudson's
Bay Company, contrast sharply with his life in Toronto
as a heralded artist. Ultimately, Paul Kane was a man
caught between two worlds - the old and the new. While
his heart remained with the people and life ways of
the wilderness, the demands of the marketplace and its
patrons pushed his career, and his art, in the direction
of progress and change. His paintings and published
travelogue were created in collaboration with an audience
yearning for romance and Jean Jacques Rousseau's "noble
savage". However, his field work provides us with a
unique documentary picture of what life was like before
the dawning of the railroad age. The cross curricular
nature of the material makes it suitable for a variety
of subject areas including Art, English, History, Native
Studies, Social Studies, and Canadian Studies.
The DVD Video is intended for DVD players (although
it can also be played on a computer). Users interact
with the documentary through their television sets by
using buttons on a standard remote control in a similar
way to a keyboard or a computer mouse. With From
Field to Studio: The Art of Paul Kane, users can
access additional information either through drill-down
points in the documentary or directly from an additional
content section. Using the documentary as an interface,
users are able to pause the documentary and watch video
commentary from curators and Native elders, or take
a more detailed look at examples of Kane's artworks
that are relevant to that part of the program. Users
can then return to the documentary and keep watching.
They will also be able to go directly to interactive
points in the documentary through the Site Map with
A New Way To Experience History
Hear what Aboriginal artists say about
the significance of Paul Kane's work.
Evaluate Kane's field sketches and studio
Compare the differences between Kane's
field notes and the book published under his name.
See some of the landmarks that appear
in Kane's paintings and sketches and compare them to
how they look today.
Allow users to make their own judgments
about Kane's legacy.
Gain a better understanding of how this
early form of media helped to shape the subsequent portrayal
of Aboriginal people in films, history books and advertising.
Prototype - December, 2004
DVD - October, 2006
Exhibit - Winter 2007