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"Every living thing that shares the planet with us has had to adapt and evolve over millions of years. Every flower, every insect, every animal is a miracle waiting to be discovered, a marvel to be respected and loved. But we like to replace them with our own inventions, served up by the magicians of advertising, the promoters of progress and over-consumption. Unfortunately, these inventions are outmoded all too quickly. They break down, often taking with them that which is essential to our lives and happiness, the elements needed to sustain the real miracles accomplished by nature."
Frédéric Back


Synopsis of the film
¿Illusion? denounces the damaging effects of runaway urbanization on the natural environment. The film also questions dehumanizing technology and the false dreams held out by our consumer society. In the epilogue, Frédéric Back expresses his wish to see children reject the gizmos and gimcrackery of a destructive 'progress' that he sees as… an illusion.

The movie is a powerful metaphor for postmodernist thinking. The magician, commercialism, corrupts the children into a world of servitude to lights, bells and whistles. Music and animation transform sophisticated concepts into a loveable children’s story that is easily understood.


There are four workshops centered on the work of Frédéric Back, in particular his short animated movie ¿Illusion?. All workshops are self-contained and can be done independently of one another. There is no order to follow if you choose to do more than one. Each workshop states how long it would take to complete and materials required. These activities are meant to be fun.

Workshop 1: Natural Happiness Workshop 2: Create a Sculpture Workshop 3: Illusion – A Game Workshop 4:  Infomercial DVD Production

Activity Kit Writers
Charleen O’Pray and Owen Ferguson, teachers, Chignecto-Central Regional School Board, Nova Scotia


Leaders: Teachers and parents
Locations: Home, school, camps, community groups
Participants: Children age 9 to 13

Note: Use the objectives, notions, activities and materials in a combination that is appropriate to your child or group.
Intermediate objective
To have children experience and create art to interpret and communicate about the destructive urbanization of nature.
Specific objective
Environment
•  To develop an appreciation for the beauty and importance of nature.
•  To raise awareness about the serious impact of leaving what is natural to rely only on things that are man made.
•  To identify the differences between an urban and a rural landscape.
•  To utilize our ability to make decisions that support reducing, reusing and recycling as a means to make children happy.
•  To support children in not wanting materialistic items in order to be content, successful or pleased.

Family
•  To recognize the role of family in teaching the importance of nature in terms of behaviour (for example, walking vs. driving, playing a board game vs. playing video games, or visiting a natural park vs. shopping).
•  To support family discussion on how advertising impacts wants and needs.

Art
•  To interpret how powerful images can be in impacting behaviour.
•  To use art as a means to express our opinions and perceptions.
•  To use art as a means to express our opinions and perceptions.
•  To deconstruct how lights, bells and whistles influence our perceptions.
•  To experiment in the various mediums of art to develop awareness and depth of expression.
•  To develop an understanding of how films teach in a conscious and subconscious manner.
•  To understand that film and art engage the viewer to interpret and make meaning of the subject presented.

Language
•  To extend various writing styles such as procedural, narrative, descriptive and recount.
•  To extend verbal communication skills to listen for understanding.
•  To extend verbal communication skills to be productive members of a team.
•  To edit and revise written work to meet the conventions of language.
•  To organize written work in an efficient and productive manner.




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