Photo of a child dressed in a red hooded coat with the forest behind her

Cultural mediation activities for young audiences

The educational vocation of the Centre national d'exposition

At the Centre national d'exposition (CNE) in Jonquière, young audiences are pampered. One of the center's vocations is to inspire children and teenagers, to expand their learning through the arts. Educational programs are developed in connection with the exhibitions presented. It is in this spirit that the director, Ms. Manon Guérin, suggested I collaborate with her team to design tools and cultural mediation activities to accompany the photographs in my series Beyond the Looking Glass on show in the main hall of the CNE this fall. It was the perfect opportunity to enhance this exhibition, which has already been very successful elsewhere in Quebec.

Making contact through video

First of all, we agreed that I would make a video capsule where I would speak directly to the children about my work, a way to establish a link with young visitors and give them some reference points to better understand my photographs and the meaning of my artistic approach.

Don't forget to display the video's English subtitles of needed.

A game of seek and find

Since I explain in the video that I create my photomontages by superimposing several photos, the idea came to me to create a game of observation from the visual elements that appear in my images. On the floor of the exhibition room, about twenty photographs of isolated details are scattered.

view of an exhibition hall with photographs on the wall
Exhibition view, CNE, 2020

The goal of the game is to associate each of the details on the ground with the corresponding framed photomontages. A playful activity that encourages a careful examination of the works. A challenge that even grown-ups will have fun taking up!

Demystifying photomontage

Always with the goal of bringing visitors to a better understanding of my creative process, I designed a large photographic mural that dissociates the main layers of visual information that go into the composition of Eat Your Soup, one of the most technically complex images in my series. It includes photos of fish and the seabed that I took at the Oceanographic Museum of Monaco, the window of a disused house, a dining table on which my husband pours a bucket of water, the tapestry of my mother-in-law's bedroom, and a mountain landscape in the eastern Pyrenees.

a series of photos deconstructing a photomontage of a child eating soup underwater

And here's a fast-forward video that gives a glimpse of how I superimpose all these photos on the computer :

An underwater photo booth

The icing on the cake is Mrs. Guérin's great idea to concoct a photo booth for children also inspired by my picture Eat Your Soup. After a few discussions on how to build the device, it is the CNE team that has the merit of having put it all together. What a fabulous job they did! Children will be able to take a seat at the underwater table and leave with a souvenir photo of their adventure beyond the looking glass.

Great ideas to keep in mind

I am really delighted with all these great additions to the exhibition, they are cultural mediation tools that I will not fail to propose to future presenters. If the images of the series Beyond the Looking Glass have already travelled a lot, they could still go a long way and make other audiences happy...