Visualizing Free Expression: Crossing Borders through Graphic Storytelling 24 hour regional marathon
PROJECT Main event is going to happen in June 15-16, it's a 24 hour graphic storytelling "Visualizing Free Expression" with participants from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey. It is financed by US state department's Democratic Commission grant, we - Actual Art cultural NGO - won it. This event is targeted to develop comics in Caucasus neighborhood, where except Turkey - it is underdeveloped since Soviet times. Also, it'll have social topic addressing issues of concern for the society. We anticipate the main output to be an artists and organizations in our region who are concerned about social issues to form a community and start collaborate. We use the term "graphic storytelling" instead of "comics". We noticed, that very often "comics" is received as something funny. In our case it might be not, it might be dramatic or tragic....in principle it is a sequential art, the story told through graphics. EVENT The marathon will take place in Gyumri, Armenia. Also, there will be a chance to participate on-site. For the ones who couldn't come to Gyumri, being it from Armenia, or other Caucasus countries and Turkey, or other world, they can participate on-line, within the same rules and timeframe as on-site participants. For all participants the special web-site will be prepared to let everyone get registered. The web-site also will periodically publish ready pages of participants, so that everybody could see the progress. In Gyumri we'll have scanners for that, and will encourage on-line participants to scan and send their works to the site. REGIONAL VS WORLDWIDE That is to say, although the event has a regional focus of developing graphic storytelling in region, but it is open to the outer world for the ones who concerned about freedom of
expression. So, the 24 hours has no regional border - everybody from around the world could participate. And project is encouraging artists from our region to do that. BACKGROUND In general we are following the model developed in 1990 by Scott McCloud and now in use in about 20 countries, which is to make a 24-page finished story during 24 hours. No one knows the exact topic of the marathon, so no one has chance to get prepared to it beforehand. In June 15 at 1300 (1pm) the topic will be announced and participants will start thinking/drawing, 24 hours later everyone will drop the pen down, it'll be over. Although it seems a lot of time, but it is not - we witnessed it during Angouleme BD Festival in 2011 and 2013.In his site the inventor of the format Scott McCloud brings an interesting calculation: 24 pages during 24 hour means 1 page per hour. If page consists of nearly 6 panels ( there is no restrictions on panel #, it is just an average...), it means one should spend 10 minutes per panel. Which is not much time! So it is a real challenge for everybody, being it skilled artist or not. LINKS More info about the concept is here: http://www.24hdelabandedessinee.com/public/index.php - about Angouleme 24 hour Bande Desinee. Also there is Scott McCloud's site http://scottmccloud.com/4inventions/24hr/index.html Now in US there is annual 24 hour Comics Day, you can see it here http://www.24hourcomicsday.com/ JURY We want to invite some internationally prominent comics artists to serve as a jury, it'll be an on-line jury, when members can vote for works. This kind of a jury will bring a prestige to the event and will foster Comics development in this region. AWARDS There will be 5 nominations: a grand prix for the best graphic novel and four regional winners, one from each participant country. In this way we'll acknowledge the best work regardless it's country of origin, and the same time will have place for best works from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey that will encourage artists and contribute to the comics development in the region. Besides, it'll appreciate exposure of local problems. For this moment we're seeking funds for publishing the winners' works as separate 24page books. This item is not funded by a grant, so now we're seeking for funds. But, anyway the winners works will be in the 24 hour marathon's catalog, it will be emphasized and exhibited in web-site, these works will be displayed during the following exhibition of works. Besides the best works will be send to the inventor of 24 hour marathon, Scott McCloud.
EXHIBITION The marathon will be followed by an exhibition of works in each participant countries. Mainly it'll be a big banner ( some 27 x 1.5 m) with 5 works of winners that could be displayed indoors or outdoors. We are thinking about this format, because each work contains 24 pages, so other formats of classical exhibition seems less attractive. MASTER CLASSES The event will be performed in June 15-16. Before that, in June 13 and 14 a two-day master class will be provided in Gyumri. We anticipate to have a master-class teacher from Turkey. THE TOPIC OF MARATHON One of the options of announcing the topic is the following. In frames of "Visualizing Freedom of Expression" four national coordinators would develop a list of 2-3 topics each and would share it with each other, forming a mutually acceptable pool of topics. Then by random choice one (or two) topic(s) will be selected and announced immediately - live in Gyumri and through the web-site for on-line participants. Coordinators will keep all these activities confidential till the moment of announcement. SPONSORSHIP To make a project more comprehensive we anticipate to attract some funds. Sponsorsâ€™ logos and links will be allocated on promotional printing materials of all events, in the web site, as well as books and the catalog of the event.