The Story Lantern

The Story Lantern Project is a collaborative, community-based multimedia project that combines visual art and oral history to create a room-sized, revolving Story Lantern in a public installation. The nature of the community can vary from youth (middle-high school will be best), elders, intergenerational, family, or other cultural or issue-based community. Inspired by traditional Chinese revolving lanterns depicting scenes from folklore, and by different folk traditions of "story cloths" and paper-cutting with narrative images, the project draws on diverse cultural traditions to create a contemporary, process-based artwork to engage participants and audience in the stories of communities.

The lantern will consist of an interior translucent cylinder (4' diameter x 6' ht) applied with life-size silhouette images, motorized to revolve around a central light source, and an outer 10'x10'x10' translucent "lantern chamber" which becomes the viewing screen for the projected moving images. Viewers can enter the lantern chamber, and as they move around inside the lantern chamber, they also become part of the story. The combined imagery of the artwork and the viewers' shadows are further projected onto surrounding room surfaces outside the lantern, to make a layered connection between the community narrative and the environment of the artwork.

The project will progress in 3 phases: 1. Planning/Classroom Art Creation, 2. Lantern Fabrication and Installation, and 3. Final Celebration