A portrait | online

A portrait | Online | Youth exhibition

It is with great pride that Sporobole presents A Portrait, an exhibit created with the student community of Mitchell-Montcalm high school as part of photography and sound creation workshops!


Seeking the gaze of others while fearing it, isn’t that the cross that the adolescent must bear? Since the distant invention of mirrors, young people probably never worried as much about how they are perceived as now. Each cell phone is a camera, each place a potential setting for staging. And the community around, are they loved ones or a public ready to judge, thumbs up or thumbs down?

Certainly, the transition from childhood to adulthood is always the advent of the social being which will unfold over a lifetime. On the other hand, the ubiquity of virtual space at the moment puts the visual representation of oneself at the center of our lives, for better and for worse. What about young people whose affirmation of identity seems conditional to their presence on small glass screens?

No one knows the long-term effects of this early preoccupation with self-representation. However, the prognosis for today’s adolescents is unequivocal: mental health problems are on the rise. The upheavals of recent years are certainly not for nothing, but it appears that it was already a major trend. Why do our adolescents, despite being so protected, feel so many precipices around them? Raised too high in their acute awareness of themselves, they undoubtedly feel dizzy…

In such a context, the role of art is not so much curative as exploratory. The A Portrait project aims to get young people to rethink the selfie. In collaboration with the Sherbrooke artist center Sporobole, with the Cosimu organization, creator of Fonofone digital tools, with the Mitchell-Montcalm high school and with psychologist Nathalie Plaat, the project will culminate in an exhibit at Sporobole of pictorial works and sounds that the teenagers will have created, as well as a virtual gallery.

Erik Beck, head of educational programs at Sporobole, will first meet a group of secondary 4 youngsters to do 4 introductory photography workshops. Focused on portraits, the workshops will offer various techniques to stimulate creativity. Then, Nathalie Plaat will present a conference on image-related disturbances, self-presentation and healthy narcissistic development. Her conference will take the form of workshops in which the works under construction will be put to good use. The project aims to create one or more black and white portrait photos of young people printed in large format in the Sporobole workshops.

Subsequently, author and composer Benoît Côté, director of the Cosimu organization, will join Erik Beck, also a musician, to work on sound creation with the young students. During 3 other workshops, using the Fonofone application, the teenagers will record sounds associated with their personality, tastes and memories. Benoît, through his parallel experience as a recognized author, will guide them in writing relevant texts to be integrated into their work. With the Fonoimage application, which allows sounds to be pasted into the image,they will then be able to “sound” their portrait, bringing out the interior garden which is suggested, but also enclosed in the image. To reveal these sounds, you have to scan it using the cursor or your finger with an electronic tablet. In fact, it is by touching the face that the music is revealed.

At the end of the project, the portraits will be presented on the walls of Sporobole; in front of each photo, an electronic tablet and headphones will allow the public to have another perspective of the work by having the possibility of hearing the soundscape that the teenager has created.

Source : Benoît Côté