So its May already and time is rolling closer to the SCANZ residency
and ADA weekend in July. Thanks to all who have chipped in with
thoughts, responses and hellos in the previous sessions. Gradually
but surely we hope you will all be getting a sense for the artists
coming and the many great projects under development. Please do
continue with any threads of thoughts started as we also keep adding
to the mix with more introductions. SCANZ is an environment for the
development, not necessarily the completion of works, and so likewise
there is no end-date for ideas introduced. This week we introduce a
larger grouping of artists including a collective of four, and two
artistic partnerships. We will therefore wait three weeks, before
introducing the next group.
PERFORMING PLACE & DISTANCE
Becca Wood, Avatar Body Collision, Derek Holzer & Sara Kolster, Xiu
Li Young & Jim Bell
May 2 - 22 [3 weeks]
In this group we have again various practices at work, a few threads
of which are highlighted by this topic. Below is a short summary of
the practices and the SCANZ selected projects under development. As
the below email is already quite large however, I will post these as
is, and then follow up with some questions for the artists. If anyone
has questions or thoughts for the artists, please do fire away, they
are all present on ADA.
The Netherlands artists Derek Holzer and Sara Kolster combine their
audio and visual practices to create projects that are often
investigating the aural and visual details and soundscapes of
specific urban or natural environments. Their work SoundTransit
<http://www.soundtransit.nl/> for example, is an online hub for the
gathering of field-recordings from an open worldwide community of
sound artists, amateur sound hunters and phonographers, uploading
their local recordings to an online database. Visitors to the site or
installation are able to form sonic journeys through various
locations around the world. New Zealand is currently one destination
not represented on the SoundTransit list of itinerary options -
something we hope might be changing shortly!
Other works, such as the performance work resonanCITY, focuses on the
many tiny or otherwise difficult to pick up on everyday sounds and
images that we often overlook. These sources gathered by the artists
from locations around the world are combined using software such as
PureData to explores ideas of "Live Cinema", rendering them into a
dreamlike journey where sound and image are directly interrelated.
Building a new city of sound and visuals inside the old one, the
project aims to inspire curiosity and exploration of one's own
environment. Holzer and Kolster's realtime treatments of sound and
image tend to highlight and enhance rather than obscure and distort
the sources collected.
In addition to project work and performance, workshops form a
significant part of the pair's practice, allowing them to engage with
local practitioner communities. Workshops are given on the Open
Source software such as Pure Data, GEM and PDP utilized in their live
performances, and discuss the philosophy of phonography and the
heightening of one's awareness of the sonic environment through
various listening exercises, techniques and equipment for field
recording (including self-built microphones, reflectors, etc).
Derek and Sara have been asked by the Moving Image Centre to perform
in Auckland the weekend prior to the SCANZ residency - Saturday, July
1st. A 2-day workshop is also in discussion and more details will be
released at a later date.
Canadian artists Xiu Li Young (also Lyllie Sue) and Jim Bell were at
the previous Solar Circuit residency held on Maria Island in Tasmania
in 2001, along with several other participants including Nina
Czegledy (a Polar Circuit initiator), Ken Gregory, Out-of-Sync and
Ian Clothier. The project "Arramagong" - initiated during that time
and completed in Montreal the following year - explores various
possibilities concerning the relationship between digital art, human
experience and the natural environment. On Maria Island they noted
the irony of how the high level of disruption that human activity
inflicts upon the natural world, means a correspondingly high level
of intervention and manipulation is required to protect what is left.
This then brought into question the extent to which our wildernesses
are manufactured, and whether we have the wherewithal to successfully
exert this kind of control on the natural world, for reasons
altruistic or otherwise.
For Solar Circuit Aotearoa New Zealand, Jim and Xiu Li have proposed
some experimental journeys traversing Mount Taranaki in Egmont
National Park, to map local history and knowledge with personal
memories and random thoughts concerning the mountain and the nearby
surrounding region whilst also collecting video and audio data for
later research. Lyllie Sue is also interested in developing a
collaborative project to explore the history of cultural production
in New Zealand, with an emphasis on race, cultural difference, and
cultural hybridity. The aim is to conduct research, collect data, and
liaise with the Diaspora of Asian New Zealander artists through the
process of discussions, interviews, and studio visits. Lyllie's
intention is to push discursive limits and challenge stereotypes
aligned with identity politics, sexuality, gender, culture, and the
notion of ‘other’.
Avatar Body Collision (ABC), is a collaborative, globally distributed
performance troupe who live in London, Helsinki and Aotearoa/New
Zealand and hail from backgrounds in theatre, visual arts, writing,
net.art and information science. The Colliders have been exploring on-
stage and virtual presence in what Helen calls 'cyberformance' for
the last four years. Early performance work with existing software
which included crashing established virtual spaces with performance
based public protest after the performance of "Dress the Nation" (in
support of the Lysistrata project, a global protest against the Iraq
war), and creating comic book techno-noir characters to experiment
with creating a play-making system in the work "Screen Save Her".
More recently their work has involved the creation of a browser-based
software called UpStage, in collaboration with artist and programmer
Douglas Bagnall. Though in development, the ability to play with
background, prop and avatar graphics in a live gathering space
online, has created an engagingly open and playful space.
In order to explore this as a social space, Helen Varley Jamieson and
Vicki Smith of ABC, in conjunction with ADA, has set up an ongoing
series of 'Swaray' gatherings, the inaugural "cocktail party" being
this Sunday, 7 May at 9pm and you are all invited. Information and
updates are available here: <http://upstage.org.nz:8084/>.
The Avatar Body Collision will be meeting altogether, physically, for
the first time at SCANZ, and will explore their physical
collaborative process as they begin a new work, the third in the
"Dress the Nation" series which began in 2003 and continued with
"DTN2" in 2004. With this new work they seek to develop an
interactive performance format that can be adapted to different
situations including completely online, online and offline hybrid,
and installation performance for exhibition-style events. The
Colliders are: Karla Ptacek (UK), Leena Saarinen (Finland), Vicki
Smith (Aotearoa/NZ) and Helen Varley Jamieson (Aotearoa/NZ).
Becca Wood and her collaborators are experimenting with the use of
telematic networks in the development process to explore ideas of
time, space, place and body. Coming from a contemporary dance
background, Becca is interested in ideas of cyberspace as a context
for creating an engaging exchange between movement based artists.
Below is a gathering of thoughts of intent from the artist.
"Limitations and new definitions of time and space in communication
create new parameters for exploring the language of choreography. The
bodies consciousness shifts as the senses experience a virtual space,
outside of the physical space. This extension of the body allows a
new perception of the self and the other, and in the virtual place a
new idea of space and time begins to exist. Communicating in this way
challenges our acceptance of social interaction. The play between the
virtual realm and the physical 'local body' presents the opportunity
to explore the cause and effect that these 'symbolic' actions have on
This 'virtual' communication is reshaping our social environment.
Interaction via telecommunications has made an impact on our
language, our social behaviour and our perception of time and space
in the physical world. The metaphorical ideas that communication
technology creates such as virtual space, overlapping of space and
time, deception, displacement and dislocation of the body and
cultural and political difference are all reflective of the
experience of this global network. The context for this work is to
explore these ideas performatively and thematically.
Using the method of mapping as a choreographic tool we locate, shape,
direct, project, measure, order, describe etc, the body to locate the
body as site. In mapping the body we look at body as site, or place.
Mapping allows us to imagine, represent and create spaces, material,
immaterial, actual or virtual.
The collaborative process using communication technology will evolve,
mutate and translate to stories that communicate our sense of place
and physicality in the world."
Derek Holzer & Sara Kolster (Netherlands)
Derek Holzer [US/NL]
Holzer [USA 1972] is a sound and radio artist with a background in
free radio, net.radio and streaming media technologies. He was
involved with some of the first net.radio experiments in Hungary
(Pararadio) and Czech Republic (Radio Jeleni). He has also worked
with Re-lab, a net.radio group in Latvia who gradually shifted their
focus towards broader issues of 'acoustic spaces' and networked audio
communications. In August 2001, Derek participated in the Acoustic
Space Lab, which brought together an international team of 30 sound
artists, community radio activists, and scientists to experiment with
a 32 meter antenna, recording sounds and data from planets,
communication satellites and the surrounding environment. Recently,
his work has focused on capturing and transforming small, unnoticed
sounds from various natural and urban locations, on the
electromagnetic resonances in our everyday environment, as well as
the use of free software such as Linux and Pure-Data.
Sara Kolster [NL]
Kolster [NL 1978] is a visual artist with a background in design.
Recently, the focus of her work shifted more towards video and film;
capturing details from urban locations, visualizing fragments of
stories of these environments. She uses different strategies, from
time-based media (video, film, photography) to appropriated research
methods belonging to different observational disciplines (journalism,
documentary & archeology).
"I choose my images carefully, with a main focus on details and close-
ups. The camera observes, looking for stories behind objects and
locations. In my work, i emphasize the uninhabitated environment in
which human appearance seems to be even more accentuated. This
environment, obviously designed by humans, shows inevitably their
traces. Questions as, who lived there or what has happened, i leave
to be answered by the viewer."
Xiu Li Young & Jim Bell (Canada)
Xiu Li Young
An artist who likes to play with a computer and is based in Montreal,
Xiu Li's past performance work has progressively evolved to include
experimentation with complex digital interfaces where she enjoys
rearranging, manipulating, exposing, subduing, collecting, destroying
and altering perceptions concerning issues that confront sexuality,
identity, popular culture, mass media representation, feminism,
ethnicity, gender and minority politics. Her studies include Studio
Art at Concordia University, Women Studies at the Simone de Beauvoir
Institute, East Asian Studies at McGill University, and
Interdisciplinary Studies at the Nova Scotia College of Art and
Design. She has been a member of Studio XX, a digital media
intervention center for women, since 1995.
A new media artist and audio professional based in Montreal. He has
exhibited and performed in Canada, United States, Australia and
Italy, and is a recent recipient of a Media Arts production grant
from the Canada Council for the Arts. He has worked as a sound
recordist and in post-production for various short and feature length
films, and as a sound designer for art installations and theatrical
projects. Over the past several years he has produced a number of
installation works featuring audio and video, interactive sensor
technology and kinetic elements, exploring correlations between
natural and constructed worlds, obsolescence and novelty, control and
communication, perception and meaning.
Avatar Body Collision — Helen Varley Jamieson, Karla Ptacek, Leena
Saarinen, Vicki Smith (New Zealand, UK, Finland, New Zealand)
We are the Colliders: four women who met online in 2001 through the
[abc]experiment, and who came together to form Avatar Body Collision.
We are a collaborative, globally distributed performance troupe who
live (mostly) in London, Helsinki, Aotearoa/New Zealand and
cyberspace. A central thematic in our work is the relationship of the
body to the machine, and in particular, to examine what it means to
be human in a world of intelligent machines. We devise and rehearse
online using chat software that is cross-platform and free to
download. Our primary software applications are the Palace (a 2D
graphic-sonic chat application) and iVisit (web cam conferencing
application) and our own custom-built Upstage browser-based software.
Upcoming projects deploy mobile phones, Wifi and other mobile
Internet technologies to extend our performative mobility and include
a street spectatorship. We play with mixed realities in a variety of
Becca trained in both Visual Communications in Design and
Contemporary Dance. The combination of design and dance-making drives
her interest in developing new methods of articulation in
performance. Her performance and installation work integrates dance,
sound, lighting, slide/video projection and interactive devices. In
August 1999 she created her first interactive work using triggers,
for ‘Soliton’ an annual event of non-stop music, film, performance
and installation. Since then she has attended workshops in the USA
exploring interactive performance devices and telematic performance.
She continues to investigate the potential of dance and interactive
performance and installation, working collaboratively or facilitating
other artists. While technology based work fascinates her she remains
passionate about analogue and ‘lo-tech’ methods of artistic
expression. The conversations between ‘old’ and ‘new’ and ‘lo-tech’
and ‘hi-tech’ are celebrated in her work.
For the past few years she has been lecturing in Movement/Dance and
Interdisciplinary Practice at the School of Performing and Screen
Arts, Unitec, Auckland. She is currently working on a choreographic
exchange with her colleague Norah Zuniga Shaw who is now based in
Ohio, USA. The dialogue began in 2002 and will be presented ‘live’ at
thanks to all,
Solar Circuit Aotearoa New Zealand July 3-16 2006
SCANZ is supported by Creative New Zealand, the TSB Trust, the Western
Institute of Technology at Taranaki, the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery
Moving Image Centre.
I've recently been re-acquainting myself with the Techno Maori CDROM and just discovered that the printable texts use the font HelveticaMaori, which is interesting. Unfortunately, the font doesn't seem to be on the disk for installing and the link for downloading the font no longer works.
Can anyone recommend a site for locating this - or similar - fonts, or know of similar projects? Just curious.
Another thing I've just noticed is that, whenever I try to type kapa haka into Microserf Word, it auto-'corrects' it to 'kappa haka'. Cultural overlays or what?
Anyone done any research on the inbuilt dictionaries that come with cellphones for predictive texting? If you try writing Brian Eno, my phone gives me Asian Don. John Cage becomes loin acid. I'm sure there's some fascinating cultural misnomers out there too. Wonder how hard it would be for Vodafone to add some Maori to the phone's default dictionary or if this has been discussed/tried?
Reading the discussions about mythologies is interesting and apt for
me - especially the denigration of mythology that Lisa and Ian
mentioned.. as I'm sitting here reading 'Gaia' by James Lovelock -
This is his first book written 26 years ago - and I'm reading the
latest edition where he writes in the preface about how difficult it
was for the Gaia hypothesis to be accepted by scientists for many
many years just because of its associations with mythology - Gaia
being the ancient Greek goddess of the earth. Many scientists could
not accept any idea that had any associations with myhology... and
because of this it has taken nearly 20 years for the ideas of a Gaia
theory to be acceptable.
"The critics took their science earnestly and to them mere
association with myth and storytelling made it bad science... the
force of their objections slowed the natural development of Gaia
theory. Until 1995 it was nearly impossible for a scientist anywhere
to publish a paper on Gaia, unless to disprove or disparage it: now
at last it is a candidate theory awaiting approval" James Lovelock.
So now he's written a second book The Ages of Gaia, specifically for
This is very depressing, but the good news is that apparently most
scientist appear to accept Gaia theory and apply it to their
research, BUT they still reject the name Gaia and have renamed it
Earth System Science or Geophysiology. what a booring and uninspiring
lot they are.
Hello All. Greetings from Windsor Canada where I am currently presenting a survey exhibition of my work and Artist in Residence at the Art Gallery of Windsor. I have been away from this discussion for the last week due to the installation spotty net access and am trying to catch up. Thanks to everyone that has posted so far. Thanks Trudy for the introduction.
>Ken's project for SCANZ will draw on both traditional Matariki celebrations as well as making >connections between the navigational and observational techniques of Captain Cook's time in New >Zealand and Ken's own sense of himself as an explorer to New Zealand using current electronics, >weather sensing and data collection technology to 'navigate'. Ken would like to collaborate with local >Matariki) equipped with solar panels, GPS, and sensors to collect data on temperatures. Simultaneous >to this data collection the kite will also emit an audio 'bird call', taken from archival recordings of the >now extinct bird the Huia, so that, in Ken's words: 'the Huia [can] fly again metaphorically'. Integral to >the development of Ken's project is his desire to collaborate with New Zealand artists, drawing on >local knowledge of Matariki and the history of the Huia.
Gee , on reading this I wonder how I'll get all this done in two weeks!
>Both Nina and Ken draw on ancient practices of celebration (Matariki and traditional Nordic and New >Zealand festivities around the Aurora) in their projects, which make connections between traditional >community rituals and the ability today to congregate in virtual communities.
In my research prior to submitting my proposal I found the following;
"Maori beliefs hold that Nga-Mahi-a-te-Rehia, the "arts of pleasure", originated with Raukatauri, Raukatamea, Marere-o-tonga, Takatakaputea, and other such persons who are associated in M?ori mythology with singing, dancing and other such performing arts. The arts of pleasure, which include weaving, carving, akotanga, oration, problem solving (tupea), singing, dancing, story telling, feasting and game playing - would be practiced prolifically during Matariki festivals.
Matariki celebrations were a dynamic, vibrant process that linked Maori to their rich storehouses of pleasurable activities; to creative processing and inexhaustible artefact production. Matariki was also an inter-tribal period for forging relationships and for sharing ideas and technologies.
Games, as arts of pleasure, were an integral part of Maori life. Games were not restricted to a time or a place. This was particularly evident during Matariki festivities. Throughout pre-European New Zealand, the great Matariki Festivals were the annual catalyst for a broad spectrum of games development, invention and experimentation.
However, during this period of joyful abundance tribes throughout New Zealand, without exception, historically placed their greatest emphasis on kite flying. "
quoted from http://history-nz.org/kite.html
The 'spirit' of the previous Solar Circuit residency in Australia in 2002 and its predecessors, Polar Circuit 1, 2 and 3 in northern Finland seems to be echoed in the traditional Maori Matariki celebrations as described above. Although not conceived as a festival, the Polar/Solar media arts residencies have evolved to include many of key elements described above. This quote could be used to describe all of the previous Solar/Polar Circuit events.
"rich storehouses of pleasurable activities; to creative processing and inexhaustible artefact production. Matariki was also an inter-tribal period for forging relationships and for sharing ideas and technologies."
It's this in mind that has driven my interest in participating in SCANZ. Primary to my practice as an artist is the participation in these types of events. These events are vital to artistic and personal development. Concentrated programs such as this inspire, challenge, and teach. The social cultural exchanges are unique. This opportunity to exchange ideas, workshop new ideas, share information, create new art work, create new contacts, increase awareness of other cultural and artistic practices, make new partnerships, etc. is essential for an artist and as a human being on this planet.
>3. Working cross-culturally raises interesting questions around notions of ownership and indigenaity. >Many of the SCANZ artists have flagged both an interest in exploring this terrain and an awareness of >the possible risks and (yet also rewards!) in working outside of ones own cultural heritage
>Ken, you've stressed the need to approach such culturally sensitive projects with an attitude of >collaboration and knowledge sharing. Can we talk about different strategies of approach artists may >have in this area? What does it mean to be a newcomer to a country and work with the histories/>cultures/politics/social fabric of the local and the particular?
The more I know , the less I know. I don't know where I heard this but it seems appropriate here.
Misunderstandings, assumptions, learned stereotypes that are wrong, hearsay, and cultural exploitation are all traps that can create all kinds of problems for a newcomer. Collaboration, work-shopping, knowledge and skill sharing for me start with a non-hierarchal approach to interacting with other participants . Everyone has a life library of learned knowledge, ideas, philosophies, skills, etc. stored in their heads and bodies and has something to add to the experience. In the previous Solar/Polar Circuit events, the generosity of everyone involved and almost everyone we encountered was one of the most important lessons.
I created the electronic kite project before I knew of the SCANZ residency. It's with the research regarding going to New Zealand that a context of ideas to work within became apparent. It's a draft proposal, an experiment that I hope will be a springboard to something positive and valuable. I look forward to work-shopping the idea with the active participation of anyone interested.