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An Alternative History Of Geocaching?

It’s geocaching, Jim, but not as we know it … Or at least not as Groundspeak’s new A Brief History of Geocaching video clip portrays it.

This “nostalgic”, black and white version was created by Fox & Bee – aka Vancouver Island artists Shawn Pigott and Kim Bannerman – during Week 23 of their 52 Weeks project.

Since last September, the duo have been releasing a new video every week and will continue to do so until they’ve reached Pigott’s goal of 52 examples. “He wanted to use the project as a good excuse to explore a variety of styles, genres, filming techniques and stories,” Bannerman says. “Plus he’d written a large catalogue of music and he could use these videos as a way of matching visual images with sound.”

Each clip lasts for one to five minutes and focuses on whatever subject has taken their fancy that week – whether that be a short animation about Pigott eating toast, a sock-puppet show, glorious footage of the moon or a sweet love story between two toys at a garage sale.

Their concept for Week 23 is no surprise when you learn the pair (GC handle: moko_marana) have been geocaching for about four years now.   “It’s a great activity for the family, and we’ve visited so many spots we might never have otherwise seen, if it weren’t for the promise of a cache there,” Bannerman explains.

But their interpretion of those early geo-days owes much to her latest novel, Bucket of Blood – a Victorian murder mystery, which she says has been positively received by the Steampunk community.

“A mash-up of these two ideas led to the subject of Week 23. We had house guests that weekend, so we knew we had access to a small cast of actors;  they’d brought a couple of bags of clothes with them, so we knew we had lots of crazy costumes too. All of the actors are geocachers so everyone was really eager to trudge around in the woods, being filmed, and we kept our eyes open for geocaches as we went.” 

Most of the couple’s 52 Weeks videos are filmed on a Saturday afternoon, before Pigott edits them “over the course of a day or two”. “We have a very fast turn-around and Shawn has a strong sense of staging – he knows exactly what he wants to see, so he doesn’t waste time with experimenting. He doesn’t film scenes that may or may not be used; he pre-plans exactly how each scene will be filmed, much like animation,” Bannerman explains.

For Pigott, that eureka moment for Week 23 came when this line popped into his head: “Times were tough, but no one complained or they were shot and eaten. Nothing was wasted.”

The pair say reaction to their history of geocaching has been overwhelming. “People have been really supportive and positive, and the number of viewers has surpassed what we’d anticipated.”

*You can read Shawn Pigott’s account of filming Week 23 – and the rest of Fox & Bee’s 52 Weeks clips – here. There’s 18 weeks left until the project ends. 

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