Aliens arrive and fall in love with sheep

Posted on October 26, 2007


Alexander Pollak and Paul Scheibelhofer, are presenting a paper in the Reaching Young People session at ICHIM. Their paper examines interactive technologies around children’s culture. They tell the story of the success of the ZOOM media lab in Vienna.zoom.jpg

The approach is participatory: children are facilitated to produce their own short videos. In 1.5 hour sessions children are helped through the process of working out a story, collecting material for that story, animation and editing (with tangible objects on a active tabletop).

The approach:

– mixes real and virtual worlds

– opportunity for learning in engaging way

– children as co-authors

The focus here on what the stories tell us, to what extent do the stories represent the children’s worldview. In addition to talking with the children about their ideas/stories etc, they also undertook a content analysis of a year’s films (223).

skaterlove.jpgSolitude: sadness of lonely man, no jobs on newspaper, eventually kills himself

Skaterlove: skating halfpipe in country, aliens arrive and fall in love with sheep, saving them from the butcher.


Settings: set in real world but consciously disturbed (sealions in forest). Wide interpretations of narratives

Social actors: reproduction of gender cliches (only very rarely questioned). Human actors mostly adult. Animals face hostile human environment.

Central topics: beyond normality (often with norm breaking); cooperation; environmental issues (problematic distruction of environment by humans); technology as opportunity and threat. The environmental topics took an education and moralistic tone, usually with a moral.

They recognise that the films are not a clean view of childrens’ cultures, rather it is an outcome of negotiations and generated in a museum as a “delimited set of possibilities” – so somewhat of an “illusion of creativity”. Also represents power differences between children and facilitators, including subtle censorship.

Challenges: real empowerment; information politics; guides should be pedagogically trained 9cf just artists); process orientated vs outcome orientated.

Q: Where they in teams? Yes, discussed story-lines, distributed drawing tasks etc.

Q: Extent to which children can fail? No they can’t, would rather give them a wider brief and know that “failure” may result?

Q: Who visits the movie archives? Children eager to see own work online, but views not specifically tracked.

Posted in: ICHIM07