Here is a Web site I just finished for St. Elijah Pioneer Museum in rural Manitoba. This is a big site; it was a lot of work but a pleasure to do. For one thing, I got to work with my father, John Goodes, who is a volunteer at the museum and is the expert on local history (he wrote most of the text). I wanted to make this site something special because for me it is a way to give back to a community which, despite my distance from it, has had and continues to have a great influence on who I am and how I live my life.
I was responsible for almost every aspect in the production of the site from information, navigation and visual deign, to photography, and some writing and editing, to integration (with major guidance from Mehdi Bouhalassa), search engine optimization and promotion strategies. The site employs a structure that I have used before: content is grouped and presented according to a hierarchy to help orient users. Each page gives us something of interest, but as users go deeper into the site, while the sophistication of the visual design decreases, they are rewarded with rich content.
I also worked to put in place tools that send users the message that they can contribute content. Because, while the site is meant to be a showcase, I also want it to be a gathering place for everything related to this special and ongoing chapter of Canadian immigrant history. With user contributions of archival materials, we hope that it will continue to grow in size and significance. Visit the site...
- Don Goodes, March 12, 2010
I continue to work as a freelance Web developer mostly doing sites for artists. But I also have an ongoing contract with a research centre at the Université de Montréal, the Centre Léa-Roback. Here are three sites that I worked on.
The first is for video and installation artist Myriam Yates, I made this site from A to Z.
The second is for a satellite research group at the Centre Léa-Roback called INRICH. This site is neat to work on because we are really doing it iteratively, expanding and changing the site as content is generated by the research group and they define their needs.
Finally, Centre Léa-Roback's site which I have been working on for several years. I am the Web Master, mostly responsible for content design and content management.
- Don Goodes, March 12, 2010
Okay. I accepted a while back that I am a homemaker. Actually, in my life I wear different hats. And homemaker is one of them. Part of the tradition of being a homemaker is doing volunteer work in the schools. This is something I have been doing for almost 10 years now. And because my girls go/went to a project-based alternative school, which is built on a model of parent particiption, I have been able to do a lot of interesting work there. Here is a sampling of my more important projects there:
- Don Goodes, March 12, 2010
This is a video I did on my own as part of my post-peasant research. It is with Beverly Dobrinsky who I met a few years ago when her Slavic roots band, Zeellia, played in Montreal. She speaks about her coming of age and maturing as an artist. It includes footage of her performing.
It is my cultural heritage to undervalue the things I find really important and significant. This video was a shot at reversing this habit. There is a lot about Bev's experiences and ideas that impress and touch me. I have a deep respect for her path, the questions she asks and the answers she has come up with. At the end of the interview she says "Being connected with the source is powerful. I think that is part of our experience of being immigrants. That we have all suffered a kind of trauma from being cut off from the source. And in order to heal and to be part of here, we need to be able to be acknowledged for that source." She then goes on to say, "And that source is the same for all of us... But in order to make real friends, they have to see you for who you are. Otherwise you're just pretending." View the video (14 min)
You can also see this video I did of Bev playing an incredibly moving traditional vocal/hurdy gurdy song at the Memory Everlasting a panel Bev and I were on together.
- Don Goodes, March 12, 2010
Curator, theorist and friend Anthony Kiendl invited me to contribute an article for the Informal Architectures catalogue based on the research I was doing on prairie/peasant vernacular architecture for my Demolishing the House Bunica Built script. The result is Post-Peasant Architecture: the House Bunica Built (a Case Study) [PDF-2megs] — you can get a sneak peek here. The book Informal Architectures, Anthony Kiendl (ed), Black Dog Books, was launched July 3, 2008 at Canada House in London, England.
This essay is a departure for me in that I tried to balance my personal perspective more than ever with an abundance of information. The article considers my Bunica's (Romanian word for grandmother) house as a material evidence of how she negotiated the contradictory world views of her inherited peasant culture and that of her adopted capitalist consumer culture. How her house was designed and made, what amenities, furniture and technologies she chose to put in it all speak of what she refused to leave behind and what she was willing to accept. The House Bunica Built gives an idea of where I am in my thinking about post-peasant culture.
- Don Goodes, April 20, 2008
These are screen captures from conceptual glass artist Jocelyne Prince's web site. I designed this site from a-to-Z; it was a kind of coming together of my background as a critic and my work in Web development.
In general I find that I am dissatisfied with artist sites. I leave them feeling further from the work than when I started. So, my objective for Jocelyne's site was to try to give viewers an experience that would leave them feeling closer to her work.
To do this, I kept the visual design simple and low-key, while focusing on providing as much available content as possible in a structure that is easy to understand and navigate. Another obvious strategy was to interview Jocelyne about three key works and incorporate these videos into the site. See "Statement + Video Commentary" for these "Featured Works": Slide Library / Chill Mark / Sound Wave.
But I also tried other things, for example the "Works" section uses long scrolling pages that present multiple views of a work; this goes against the predominant view-one-image-at-a-time-gallery convention of most artist sites, but I believe it is more immediate and engaging. See the "Overview and Gallery" pages for these works : Slide Library: Watermark Series / Virus Series #2: Mega Pathogen / Mouth Piece.
The experience and effect of Jocelyne's work has always been difficult to communicate in slides or individual images, because the ideas, the work's subtle physicality and its process are as important as what you see. So, another challenge with Jocelyne's site was to create a structure that would allow a place to archive the background ideas and processes that went into a work. It was important to keep these separate but connected to the works. The solution was to add a "Production artifact" page for works that had video, images or text related to the work's conceptual or production process (in Jocelyne's case the two are intimately linked). See : Sound Wave : image artifacts & video artifacts.
I used YouTube as the video streaming server, and Flikr as the image server in the artifacts and teaching sections. This facilitated the production process but more importantly gives Jocelyne a presence on these two platforms: Flikr & YouTube
The collaborative process, with an artist who I have known personally and professionally for many years, was fluid and creative. I am really happy with the result. I think that the site does bring interested users closer to Jocelyne's work. Furthermore, the focus on gathering and presenting content, and organizing it for easy access had the unexpected result of providing users with a document (the Web site) that encourages new insights into the interconnectedness of Jocelyne's oeuvre.
I look forward to working with more artists, especially those who have a conceptual aspect to their work, and taking my ideas further on what the Web can provide to the dissemination of art and ideas.
- Don Goodes, April 20, 2008
In early summer I did an interview with Wayne Baerwaldt the curator of the 2007 Montréal Biennale, who is also a long-time art-world acquaintance of mine. It was produced initially for Vernissage.tv, an amazing Web site out of Germany that presents video documentation of international art shows as well as interviews with artists and curators. They already have hundreds of clips up. It will also be distributed by Video Pool in Winnipeg. On-line the video is broken into three parts. You can watch it either at Vernissage.tv or on my YouTube site.
YouTube : parts 1-3
- Don Goodes, August 13, 2007
In 2006, I was invited to write an article for the Used/Goods catalogue. Earlier this year I heard that the editors had decided not to publish what I had written.
Used/Goods was a site specific show that took place in a Montréal Salvation Army thrift store (November 5 to 25, 2004). It was organized by a collective of artists organized by Gisèle Amantea and Lorraine Oades. I was selected to write on a series of workshops that had been organized as part of the exhibition for the general public. The series was entitled Talk Show. If I recall correctly, the reason that I was invited, other than my ongoing interest and my expertise in art and its social context, was that I had brought a group of students from my daughter's elementary school class to one of the drawing workshops. It turned out that we were one of the only groups that had taken advantage of the workshops offered. When I first met Oades to discuss my participation and the event, she told me of their disappointment that more people hadn't come out to the workshops. As I watched hours of video documentation of the workshops, I realized what she meant. There were only a few people at any of the dozen workshops and most of these were artists. This fact became central to my reflection.
Admittedly I was being provocative when I titled my piece The TALK SHOW Dream: A SUBLIME series of FAILED artist-directed workshops at the Salvation Army store. In the article I explain how it was a case of "failure" being interesting, and then went on to describe the workshops in what I hoped would be an interesting manner, as if they were in a dream.
I was told at a mid-winter meeting at a local cafe that the editors were highly offended by what I had written. That my text was inappropriate and too critical for a catalogue. After my initial shock, I offered to discuss and remove the offensive parts. However, this offer was not taken up. I got a kill fee and that was that. You can read the article here (warning: it's long!). I was very happy with it when I wrote it. I think it documents the Used/Goods workshops very well, and brings up important and relevant issues in a critical but fair way. But, you judge for yourself. (p.s. The article is illustrated with images created using video stills of the workshops)
- Don Goodes, August 12, 2007
Okay, I didn't get financing to produce the short feature Uncle Eddie's Guide to Art Appreciation. I tried CALQ twice, the Canada Council and the ShevchenFoundationion. Nevertheless, I had positive responses from many people, in particular people from the communities I was writing about. So, I decided to put Uncle Eddie's Guide... on the back burner and start a new script for a short film. The house that you see here was build by my Grandmother (Bonica) and Grandfather on their Manitoba homestead in different times. It is the inspiration for the drama of the film, which is tentatively called The Politics of Demolishing Bonica.
- Don Goodes, Montréal, August 4, 2006
This is the interface for the DVD of Uncle Eddie's Guide to Art Appreciation: multi-media dramatic reading video documentation. There is a Web site up for this project with the video documentation, pictures and other stuff. Click here. I got the video together for my first grant application CALQ, the Canada Council and the Shevchenko Ukrainian Canadian Foundation applications are to come. It is all needed to ensure the financing of the real Uncle Eddie's Guide... video. I will be making 120 copies of the DVD so if anyone wants one, just see the Purchase DVD link on the site.
- Don Goodes, Montréal, September 13, 2005
I was in this small town, Güell, in Spain, Catalonia. I always loved these streets that give way to the farms. The transition between cosmopolitanism and the peasant landscape. My location of preference these days. Post-peasant culture in relation to art practice.
- Don Goodes, Montréal, August 19, 2005
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