This work expresses the way Canadian identities are constructed preserving rather than “melting” different cultural identities. This construction works in multiple directions: our identities are being formed in an ongoing process of hybridization and interactive transformation, perceiving others and ourselves through a series of multiplicities. We propose to create a prototype for a dynamic ethnographic cinema environment distributed in space and time that encompasses multiple screens and audio channels tightly integrated together to present the hybrid human face with voice. The work is characterized by the diverse social fabric we live in, reflective of our contemporary multicultural and multi-ethnic reality, depicting in the visual sphere the metaphor of cultural mosaic and in the aural sphere the verbal richness of dialogic interactions characteristic of our Canadian experiment. The dynamic and interactive nature of the work becomes an active engagement in the process of the construction and discovery of our identities.
The human face and voice are a core part of our communication, they are the instruments through which we present our selves to ourselves and to the world. Facial features divulge our ancestry. Their movements betray our emotions and cultural frameworks. Despite our cultural and ethnic differences, all people are bound by the ability to read basic emotions written on the face. The work brings a conception of unity to the participants through a focus on basic facial expressions, while diversity is represented through multi-ethnic signatures of facial appearances and vocal expressions of linguistic richness of diverse cultures. The image of Canadian identity is expressed visually as a single mosaic composed from many individuals and their facial expressions grouped together in an expressive unity. Aurally, the work expresses Canadian cultural and environmental dialogues through linguistic complexities characteristic of our experience. Different people, their faces and voices, are projected across dozens of screens and audio channels that together create a dynamic cinematic image that responds to the expressive facial state of the participants. Using a facial expression recognition system the faces of participants will be added to the image database, so that participants become part of the experience.