Collage Visual Way to Link Symbols and Important Themes

Featured imageearly collage process phase 1collage phase 1

Often at the outset of a new project I will begin with a large floor collage to help me visually identify common themes and issues or to draw links between images or cultural symbols that might reoccur.  In a previous ethnodramatic project about the lives of older persons in a residential home for people over 60, a collage became a creative activity I frequently returned to, a fluid and changing multi dimensional construction that grew over time with pictures, objects (spoons, bowls etc.) and information and current news around mental health and autonomy related issues of importance among them access to transportation services, food, family support in crisis,  diagnostic labeling, effects of past traumas, environmental triggering, elder abuse and relocations.  The collage in a narrative sense in terms of writing has been described by Dr.  Norman Denzin when he speaks of ethnoperformaces as postmodern building a narrative collage that critiques culture.  “Speakers can leap forward and backward in time from present to past presenting real news accounts against dramatic historic enactments of the past using poems, monologues, dialogues, voice-overs and interior streams of consciousness,.”  As I look back on that ethnodramatic project and my creative process I find it interesting how many of the ideas and symbols from the original floor collage eventually found themselves into  the final script and installation which was used in live performances.

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