The Narratives in Space + Time Society (NiS+TS) is a cultural organization that creates public art projects. These projects use mobile media such as smartphones with GPS, portable digital projectors and audio/video elements combined with themed walks to help us explore our city and our history.
On Saturday April 18th, the group will lead a walk called Aftermath: Walking the Debris Field (Halifax Explosion) which leaves at 1pm from Veith House, 3115 Veith Street in Halifax.
Dartmouth’s Barbara Lounder, a member of NiS + TS, explains a little about the organization and the upcoming walk.
When and how did NiS+TS get started?
BL: Some of us started exploring GPS tracking as a creative tool on an informal basis about 8 years ago, and we incorporated our group in November 2012. We all share a love of walking and creative exploration.
Who is involved?
BL: In addition to our core members (Robert Bean, Mary Elizabeth Luka, Brian Lilley, Léola LeBlanc and myself), we work with other creative collaborators such as actors, vocalists, cinematographers, community activists and writers. Members of the public are participants in our projects, and contribute their own images and stories.
What events have you held so far?
BL: In May 2013, we carried out a mobile media and walking-based project at the abandoned Hippodrome in Montreal, site of the old Blue Bonnets racetrack. Since then, we have concentrated on a new project having to do with the Halifax Explosion.
Has there been a lot of public interest?
BL: We are thrilled with the public response and participation! People have been very keen to participate in our public walks, and to contribute their own information, stories and images to the narratives that we engage with. We are also very grateful for the support that we have received this past year through Arts Nova Scotia.
Tell us about the upcoming April 18th walk, Aftermath: Walking the Debris Field (Halifax Explosion)
BL: Walking the Debris Field is a long-term project that will culminate in 2017, the centenary of the Halifax Explosion. We are carrying out public walks and our own “research” walks in various areas around the Explosion site. Our interest is primarily in lesser-known sites, and in the stories that we don’t always hear. Aftermath is part of this larger project, and focuses on the immediate response to the disaster, as well as the ongoing process of building and rebuilding communities.
Who’ll be interested in attending?
BL: Aftermath will be of interest to those who are curious about the history of this area, as well as those who want to experience our contemporary urban landscape in a new way. The event will last about 2 hours and will use the public sidewalks. At three different sites, we will be indoors for short periods of time. The route is not especially long or difficult, but there is a hill to climb coming up from Veith Street, and two of those indoor sites involve staircases.
Why do you think what NSTS does is fun and important?
BL: The topic of the Halifax Explosion is a very sad and painful one in many ways, but participants have said that they find our projects interesting and enjoyable. The walking events that NiS+TS creates, such as Aftermath, are art works in which sights, sounds, scents, movement and other sensory experiences play a big role. We think it’s important to experience history in the present, and not as something that is static, distant and unchanging.
For more information about NiS+TS, visit the website at www.narrativesinspaceandtime.ca. From there, you can connect to the group by Facebook, Twitter or email.