In A Galaxy Far, Far Away

By Briane Nasimok

(TORONTO, ON) – The other weekend, when a VIA train took me to the nation’s capital for a close friend’s wedding, I got a chance to explore the interactive Star Wars Identity Exhibit at the Canadian Aviation and Space Museum. First let me say, if you don’t have a car, good luck getting to this museum.

On the attractive card that first tempted me to visit the exhibit, there was no addressed printed on it. I should’ve guessed from that, that my trip there might also be an adventure.

City owned OC transit allegedly has a route that goes directly there (and I saw a bus stand with a number on it outside the museum), but I am not sure what day of the month, or hour, it arrives.

My quest began on a Monday afternoon at 1:00 pm, and on visiting the tourist information kiosk in the Bytown Market, I was told that I could take a bus from there to near the museum, but would have to portage for 20 minutes, from the final stop on that route, to the exhibit. Then one of the friendly, local cab drivers advised me that the trip would cost less than $20. Deal. But, due to construction around Villa de Harper, the Prime Minister’s residence, the final tally on the meter was $21, plus tip.

In for a dime, in for twenty five bucks.

On entering the main museum building I went to the ticket desk and was informed that my journey would start far away (okay the exhibit was just across the parking lot driveway), and the cost would be $24. Once again information that I was not given on the hand-out. But being a fan of the films, I knew it would be worth it.

The exhibit was installed in a giant hanger, an edifice that houses the vehicles that people usually come to see at this museum. A ticket checker and security guard greeted me as I entered the main door to the building.

On the way in to the entrance of the exhibit I did get a peak at some magnificent planes that were displayed outside the installation. Unfortunately, because I spent so much time at the Star Wars exhibit, and had to rush back to catch my Toronto train (only a $15 cab ride to the station), I didn’t have time to examine the flying machines.

Maybe next time… okay maybe not…

Before entering the interior of the exhibit each patron was given their own personal listening device, with a French/English option of course, as well as a rubber wrist bracelet.

The bracelet was key because by pressing the central disc against the interactive displays, you created your own, distinct Star Wars character. “Star Wars Identities” is not just an exhibit of costumes, clips, and drawings. No, it is an adventure of discovery for both the real and fictitious “you”.

Our mission was to, “discover the science of identity and understand what makes the characters who they are and what make you who you are”.

After the exhibit I was wondering if I might need a shrink; I didn’t.

In the holding area, our group was given an overview of the exhibit. We were reminded that we would be going on our own personal journey and would create and develop a character by looking at many essential traits on our interactive identity quest. What? We aren’t going to blow anything up? Don’t I at least get a light sabre? Nope.

As I was wondering how this possible identity crisis might impact the eight year old in our group, the curtain opened to reveal the over 200 objects from the film; “some on display for the very first time”.

The exhibit explores the theme of identity using ten components that help make us who we are: species, genes, parents, culture, mentors, friends, events, occupation, personality, and values.

These ten components are grouped into the exhibition’s three main sections, which follow the progression of identity from childhood to adulthood: first Origins, then Influences, and finally Choices. This thematic backbone gives structure not only to the educational content of the exhibition but to the Star Wars collection as well.

Who knew that I might actually learn something? Okay, forget the light sabre.

Before we got into choosing the history and traits that made us who we were, we had to choose what type of creature we wanted to be, and our names.

Yes Ewoks are cute and Wookies seem like a lot of fun but, for some reason, I chose a male Trandoshan. I believe his green coloured skin and scales most influenced my decision, but the large yellow eyes may have been the things that drew me to the character. And for a name I came up with something catchy and easily remembered; Glankto Bobick. Not really the best choice, though, for marketing.

Yes, all the Star Wars favourites were there including, even, the somewhat maligned, Jar Jar Binks.

As we journeyed through the exhibit, we watched video clips from the movies that reinforced each interactive station and were given ample information to discover the motivations behind some of the more well known characters.

As I was alone on this mission, when it came time to pair-up with another character, at the dual interactive “friends” station, I couldn’t find someone to join me. Guess I had to go Solo on this one. Sorry.

imageFinally, after completing the journey, I came to my final choice. I was given the option to join the Dark side. But the Force was strong so, of course, I passed on the offer.

Then, just before I exited, I accessed the final image of Glankto and the history of my character. All this and even more were then sent to my email address.

The following is my bio and picture (which I have been given permission to share. I don’t want to piss off Lucasfilms, or go to court). After Mr Lucas sees what a valuable addition I could be to the next cast, he might consider including Glankto in the upcoming chapter.

So George, and everyone else, here is Glankto Bobick.

I was raised on the forest planet Kashyyyk, where members of my community made their living in tree house real estate. On holidays my friends and I would traditionally celebrate on the beach with music, dancing, and bonfires.

My parents raised me with a mix of independence and support, and I inherited my natural abilities from them. Later on I spent some time with the great leader Padmé Amidala, whose guidance left me with knowledge I still use every day in my job as a Jedi Knight.

I remember this one time, when I crash-landed, on a strange planet. I didn’t let this affect me too much, though. Instead I became a successful trader of scrap metal and found a home among the Jawas.

People often tell me I’m a generally energetic and social person. I also tend to be relaxed and imperturbable. But, the most important thing to me is self-direction. I believe that living in a free world means we all have the right to choose.

I have pretty strong powers with the Force. I guess that’s why the Emperor came looking for me. When he offered me limitless power in exchange for my allegiance, I fought the urge to join him and his evil minions and rejected his offer.

George, if the name might be a problem, I will change it. And if I have to join the Dark Side, I will, as long as I get to wield a light sabre.

The exhibit only goes on until September 3, but I am sure it will resurface somewhere.

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About the Author

Ian Shalapata
Ian Shalapata
Ian Shalapata is the owner and publisher of Square Media Group. He covers politics, the police beat, community events, the arts, sports, and everything in between. His imagery and freelance contributions have appeared in select publications and for organizations in Canada and the United States. Contact Ian with story ideas.