I heard yesterday about my grant application for Canada Council for the Arts’ Digital Originals program. I applied for this a while ago, the program is “to help artists, groups and arts organizations pivot their work for online audiences during the COVID-19“. It’s $5000, what they a call a micro innovation grant and they are giving out something like 200 of them, so a million dollars over all.
I saw a Facebook post a few months ago by another poet talking about missing a Canada Council grant deadline for something else. And I thought, “hey, I should think about that”. So I looked up what you have to do, the first step is being approved to be able to apply in terms of published work etc. You submit the required material and then wait. I was approved for literary writing so then started looking and saw that at the moment the only thing I could apply for was the Digital Originals program.
Which meant for that program competing against all forms of artistic expression and individuals and groups for one of those two hundred spots nation wide. That means a lot of people. I had no expectation of getting it but thought it would be really worthwhile to put together the application for experience.
And that was really good I have to say, I enjoyed having to think about what I would do that might be interesting to the wider artistic community and also develop so sort of plan of attack. And also incorporating my training in documentary and photography as well as web site technology.
So I decided that given my new book, Moving to Climate Change Hours by Wolsak and Wynn, was coming out in the period of the grant I’d propose a video gallery of a dozen or so selected poems from the book. The goal would be for the video gallery to approximate the poetics of the overall collection while enhancing that through video/photo image and found sound.
The trick for me is being not to just literally interpret the poems as far as image selection goes, a concept that Juan Baquero’s Doc Story Studio I attended back in 2014 was based on for making documentary films. Juan told us the most effective documentary’s enhance the story being told by the subjects, elevating the images and sound used to create the effect while eschewing just showing what is being said.
Anyhow, wrote that up and more. Sent it in and waited. Fully expecting the rejection but also happy with learning the process for the future.
So when I saw on my laptop the email notification late yesterday afternoon I started preparing myself for that. The self talk about “you didn’t expect to get it but it was good experience” and “it was fun to anticipate this”. I had been in the Schrödinger’s cat kind of position of both being awarded the grant and not awarded the grant at the same time because the box was closed, but now the box would be open and the cat would be dead. Oh well.
But instead the cat was alive. I was awarded the grant. Huge surprise and also very exciting. Big piece of work now to do over the next three months with my plan being to release a video poem a week for twelve weeks, some live streaming perhaps. I will also incorporate blog entries here on the development of the project as the weeks roll on. Such fun.