We tell stories about the past everyday. At the same time, we imagine aloud our shared visions for the future.
At PARC, storytelling often takes on the character of the future as we revisit the past, filling the room in the present with the emotions and questions of a story that spans both. In other words, stories never live in just one chapter of time, but rather live simultaneously in the past, present, and future. The time-spanning nature of stories inspired our contribution to PARC’s Winter Solstice celebration, an installation and live enactment of stories we dubbed The Clock of All Time.
Winter Solstice is the biggest day of the year at PARC, and since Making Room’s work there began in 2010, we’ve always made sure to be a part of the celebration. It’s a tradition that’s been going on since PARC’s inception, and while many PARC members celebrate other holidays in December, Solstice is the one we all share in together. This year, we presented The Clock of All time as a way of bringing together and honouring all of the work Making Room has been doing at PARC and Edmond Place this fall around stories, bringing together diverse media such as comics, traditional storytelling, sound design, bookmaking and song.
At the beginning of the day we installed our giant Clock of All Time, the centrepiece for the celebration, which more than thirty community members helped create. The hands on the clock represent the many ways of telling time, such as the tides of the ocean, the remainder of cigarettes in a pack, or the growing wrinkles around our eyes. We also quietly hoisted a memorial nest created by the Edmond Place group to honor the lives of several members of the Edmond Place community who passed in 2015. Closer to our stage area, we mounted the famous Edmond Place periscopes and their accompanying books.
At 3 o’clock, the story enactment began. The hour long production included a telling of the story of Rashy Coats by the Edmond Place storytelling group, led by Shelley La Hay and professional storyteller Molly Sutkaitis; three songs from the Making Room choir under the direction of Shifra Cooper; an audio recording of poems written by the Edmond Place book arts group; and, the main event, a live, moving, massive-scale mylar lightbox comic brought to life in the stairwell of the drop-in in counterpoint to a sound piece by Jess Shane and the Sand In Water group at PARC.
It was an experiment in listening closely amongst the bustle of PARC drop-in on Solstice, and an enactment of stories across many different traditions and media. The show was a huge success, thanks to the hard work and ingenuity of the more than sixty storytellers, artists, songsters and makers who contributed to the celebration.
In the New Year, we are taking these questions of how to tell complicated stories that span many time frames and communities to the next level. Keep your ears and eyes open for some exciting new work from Making Room! To make it easier on yourself, sign up for our newsletter here!