On our way to Liverpool, Tapio, Nigel and I did two workshop and lecture session with the Drop Zone youth project in Barrow in Furness. This sessions was organized through the collaboration with Folly, Lancaster, UK. Like its’ named, Drop Zone is an educational institutions which helped drop out children from school to gain education in an alternative way. The goal of this workshops was to Despite of our experience in giving lectures and workshops, I must say this one is the toughest we’ve encountered so far.
We started the first workshop with explaining what we do as artists and maritime topic that we are researching. To be honest we didn’t kick it off at the first try. The kids wasn’t even interested and some of them are whispering and joking with themselves. It was mainly our fault anyway, the approach was too formal for them, so we decided to use a simple and funny youtube videos about ocean acidification. Then the situation getting better and flowing smoothly. The workshop ends off with the kids thinking of their city and the maritime culture they grow with. They will create together a position-based story-telling of the maritime culture of the city.
After we stayed one night at Tapio’s apartment in Manchester, 15th September, early morning, Nigel and I drive all the way to Barrow in Furness by car for the 2nd session. It’s about 3 hours drive and we entrusted the navigation of GPS to lead our way. We really don’t know what’s gonna happened on this session, and from the first experience, we agreed that improvisation is the best method to approach the kids.
When we arrived at Drop Zone, the kids were chilling out, most of them looked busy with their laptops, some playing video games, some were playing pools and (wow) and a cool set of CDJs. While we were looking around, we saw that the kids have gathered a map location-based pictures but they haven’t made any sound recordings. They made some stories and wrote it but we wanted them to tell it so we can record it. Tough job, Nigel and I tried to lure them out in telling the stories, no luck, not a single kid was interested.
We found out one of the kids made a rap song about Barrow, so we asked him to sing it for us. At first, he was refusing to do it. So we asked the boys to do some music with the CDJ. Karen (one of the worker in Drop Zone) allowed the kids to play the CDJ, and soon they were playing beats musics and started to rap battling with each other. Again, music did its’ magic. The kids are now out from their boxes. I was surprised, I would never have thought the kids respond to our project in this way. But soon as I was listening the kids trying to rap their own song about Barrows, I found my head and foots were following to the beats.
Here’s the full lyrics and the video of Coulton Riglar’s (one of the kids from Drop Zone) rap about Barrow:
Barrow Town is how it sounds,
Sum nice places but ya need ta luk around.
DZ forum nd the town hall we’re nt a big place, we’re not at al.
But DZ is where ya wanna be,
People round the world no dat coz we wer on TV.
Rob the raver giv us 28 grand,
U shud ov sin our faces wen it reached Sue’s hand.
Nd we got loads to do,
Here let me tel ya a few.
Xbox 360, dx nd pool.
Sum people myt not like it,
But most people fink its cool.
Nw we moves onto the streets,
Wid corner shops ta buy sweets.
There people that do drugs,
Nd people that are intimidated coz ov very many fugs.
Kids dat are drinking nd not even thinking,
But that’s all I gota say,
But maybe 1 day sum 1 will carry on my pray.
And thanku Martin, Steff, Kei, Karen, LOu and Caff Sue.
Wat wud us youths do wiv out you? (Coulton Riglar, 09)
Thanks to Coulton’s effort in singing the rap, the other boys were chill and relax. They also tried to rap their lyrics about Barrow. Next thing we knew, we have a Rap Battling session inside of Drop Zone lounge area. Seriously, we never saw it coming. All we did was an improvisation of how we can get them outside of their boxes. Like Nigel said, the Medium is The Message.
Drop Zone dropped off in MARIN
After the collaborative sessions in Barrow, we invited the kids to come and visit our vessel in Liverpool. While the catamaran are parking outside TATE Liverpool, some of the kids and workers from Drop Zone came all the way from Barrow in Furness to visit us. Tapio, Nigel and I were happy to have their visit, so we give them a little explanation of what we did with the catamaran, and a little knowledge of navigation skills on the boat. Thanks for everything Drop Zone boys and crews! It was great to work with you all!
Reference and External Links:
- A Song About Barrow in Ecolocated Pool
- DropZone boys Rap Battle in Ecolocated Pool
- Nigel Helyer’s blog post on DropZone activities in marin.cc