Okay so yes I know I am sharing information that has already passed, and quite a bit back at that. But, we have been working on trying to get this video in a format that I could actually post here for all of you to see…
And I have been trying to put into words the awesomeness that we all experienced during this week of Campamento Plasticolandia….truth is people are still talking about it. Big ones and small ones. So to give you the long and short of how this all came to be:
We had a ROUGH spring…we said goodbye to numerous girls for various reasons and one of our workshops suffered greatly after this loss. Some of the girls just lost heart or interest or felt like they wanted to do other things with their time. So in trying to process my personal disappointment and frustration with the girls lack of enthusiasm, I realized that in the midst of the older girls spiraling outward, the two younger groups were more and more interested and excited to learn and do more. At this point I started dreaming about ways to accomplish all that I had wanted to explore/learn about through the workshops in an more intensive experience.
Campamento Plasticolandia was born out of this dreaming of mine. I started the conversation with friends of mine that I could imagine working with the girls to create art from recycled materials, could teach them about problems (both local and global) with our consumption, and could create a positive sense of consciouness, cooperation and community. Then I asked permission of Madre Lourdes and Tere to run a week long camp in the internado the week after classes ended for the summer. They were onboard immediately. The girls were beyond excited as well.
In the end, this experience was the essence of what eStudio 473 is striving to be and create. Our workshops and project leaders were an international team, representing Canada, France, Germany, Australia, Argentina, the US, Mexico City and our local Guanajuato stock as well. Sixteen of the girls were able to attend the camp for a family cooperation fee of 20 pesos and the stipulation that at least one parent attend the final presentation in el centro. The week flew by as we crafted a collaborative installation piece of “sea creatures” made from plastic bottles as well as designed and assembled our costumes from plastic bags, bottles and cans, participated in workshops that taught us through play and process about the water cycle, our consumption, recycling, trash separation and our influence on the world both near and far. We learned, (per usual, through story) and traveled with our imaginations to an island in the sea that most humans no nothing about. All of the animal and plant-life are toxic, and actually made from plastic and other waste. This island, Plasticolandia, became our story for the week. We all became the animals that lived on this island and at the same time that we were creating art to reflect this place and life…we were learning about the reality of the island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, between San Fransisco and Hawaii that is in fact made from miniscule bits of plastic waste that has been broken down through its journey to the “drain pool” of sea. We learned about how our actions, consumption and decisions are affecting/creating this situation.
Using the fable version of this reality, we moved throughout the week as these animals, charged with the responsibility to communicate these ideas and issues to the humans. The precursor to the final presentation was a wild and passionate parade of trash-clad little girls chanting at the top of their lungs, “No tirar basura, RE- CI – CLAR!” (Don’t litter! Recycle!) and my favorite, “Hemos hecho por tu contaminación!” (We were made from your contamination!) All the way to the plaza where our creatures were hanging from the tree and where the girls performed a dramatic, comedic and acrobatic show for roughly 60 people. The cell phone store across the street spontaneously jumped on board with the production and offered up their INSANELY LOUD sound system and played music to set the tone of each of the three scenes.
Apart from the creative and educational opportunities that were brimming that week, we also camped out in tents (many of us for the first time in our lives). And we ate different food, listened to music, did yoga every morning, went on a field trip to the country side and met other kids, watched movies and a FIRE DANCE performance that scared us silly!!! It turned out to be such a wonderful week that none of us wanted to leave Plasticolandia!
*** A special note of thanks….for all of you that sponsored a girl last spring, this experience was made possible by your generous support. The time we spent together in this week was something that I can honestly say will live in the memory of these girls for a long time. Thank you so much for allowing myself and my wonderful, crazy and talented friends to be able to pull this off. Also, thank you to all of you wonderful, crazy and talented friends for being there, sharing your craft and your inspiration and most importantly making Plasticolandia rock so hard!!!!