Witness Blanket artist aims to create ‘soundtrack of resilience’ using sounds from residential school survivors

University of Northern British Columbia/Facebook
The Witness Blanket was on display at the University of Northern British Columbia in June 2022.

Expanding on the work from the Witness Blanket, the artist is now hoping to collect sound recordings from residential school survivors to create a “soundtrack of resilience.”

The Witness Blanket is a project by Carey Newman, a Kwakwaka’wakw and Coast Salish multi-disciplinary artist, made of objects gathered from residential schools, churches, government buildings and cultural structures to tell the story of residential schools in Canada.

READ MORE: Team from Camosun College turns Witness Blanket into virtual reality

Now, Newman will work with Kirk McNally, associate professor of music technology at the University of Victoria, a team of Indigenous musicians, and Camosun Innovates to create a soundtrack for the Witness Blanket.

“In virtual reality, sound is part of the experience and audio allows people to explore the blanket in a new way,” explains Newman who is Impact Chair in Indigenous Art Practices at the University of Victoria. “If each of the objects on the Witness Blanket had a voice, what would they sound like? What language would they speak? What songs would they sing?”

Participants are invited to record and provide a sound that can include music of traditional instruments, sounds of cultural activities like paddling or carving, the ambient tones of the natural world, spoken languages, songs, or any other sound associated with a person’s Indigenous identity or community.

Sound contributions can be made on a Google Form set up for the project.

Laura Brougham

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