as one of those fat-cat, non-hacker artists who's just deinstalled a
for-sale, month-long solo-show somewhere in Ponsonby
(actually, Starkwhite in Karangahape Road, but close enough!
) I thought I might have something to contribute. I have to say, too,
that just because it is possible to buy something, doesn't mean it's a
likely prospect, or that the commercial artworld is entirely evil.
This conversation seems to have a strand of hostility to stuff like
going to art school (one possible way of meeting other artists and
making better artwork). What we do have a healthy culture of in NZ is
artist-run spaces (None, Rm, A Centre For Art, Enjoy, Newcall, Gambia
Castle...), which often serve the studio and salon functions that
hackerspaces seem to be useful for. I guess the differences are
falling within the mainstream of contemporary art, and a lower level
of electricity use. Are there other distinctions? How different are
digital artists from other artists?
Perhaps this preponderance of artist vs. hacker spaces has something
to do with the historical fact of CNZ not funding digital art
separately, whereas Australia used to have a pot labelled 'new
media'. This is one reason, perhaps, that digital practices in NZ
often exist within, say, a sound art/music or screen innovation realm,
and perhaps is also why this particular area seems more developed in
Australia (correct me, please, if I'm wrong).
I agree that the area of public culture is something we don't
necessarily do very well at in NZ, and is something it would be great
to think of ways around improving. On the other hand, as Douglas
pointed out, collaborative environments are not productive for every
artist (I find them often really pleasant socially, but impossible to
get work done in). The idea of trying to work in a room full of
computers and other people fills me with dread, which is why Adam's
mention of Sarai was useful, because, although I've never been there,
it seems distant from that model.
I meet heaps of people in my travels that tell me
they'd love to go
to New Zealand, that ask about medialabs or residencies there.
Well of course! New Zealand has just been ranked in the world’s top
five best destinations by readers of prestigious Condé Nast Traveller
magazine for the sixth year running!
The tenor of this conversation seems to be that 'this is something
that someone should provide for us because we'd like to use it',
rather than 'this is something I've found valuable, and would like to
help build... here's some thoughts on how. I'll do this bit...'.
I think it would be useful to turn the conversation in this direction,
but also to recognise what already exists, like Makerspace in
), or the Audio Foundation (www.audiofoundation.org.nz
), working in a related realm.
In terms of the actual lab stuff, in Auckland, there is Colab (http://www.colab.org.nz
), which, you can see by the extensive lineup of logos on the bottom
of the page is a project by AUT University and MIC (which receives by
far the largest wodges of public money for digital arts and "promotes
a dynamic and growing culture of interdisciplinary media-arts practice
in Auckland and New Zealand, supporting an environment of innovation,
in which fusion of art and technology is developed and
nurtured." (according to MIC's own website).
Perhaps this might be a good place to point prospective visitors?
On 5/10/2009, at 4:45 AM, Julian Oliver wrote:
..on Mon, Oct 05, 2009 at 12:40:43AM +1300, Douglas
that's what it means to me, and that's
why i care, because i know
are other people back home dealing with the same shit i was
in my head, and that since such a place would have helped me, it
help them too.
You know Damian, probably not. Young men, early twenties, feeling
isolated and confused, think they might be artists? There is nothing
that can help them.
Well, people aren't annointed 'Artist' by some Divine Paintbrush at
bearing that mark with unbridled self-determination until death.
Much of the
time people find that they have made something that someone else
and as such are then called 'the artist'. The term only has value in
of what's made, where and how it is read.
I've taught "young men, early twenties, feeling isolated and
workshops or university contexts in Europe, The Americas, Asia and
I've found that all it often takes is just a little guidance and
some basic resources, documentation in their language, time and
they're coming out with great work, 'Art' or not, in no time. Some
of that work
has gone on to do very well in the electronic art circuit.
Good ideas are everywhere. Implementations are not. An advantage to
(read: central working space, talks, tools, library, coffee machine
bandwidth) is that it provides direction and facilities to those
and/or making their minds up about where to take their ideas.
Anyway, as I say, you know the weather in NZ better than I. The
paint is of a country of careerists too self-interested to publicly
skills and knowledge. If so, that's both boring and sad.
No wonder media artists I know that've visited NZ return entirely
lost as to why
they couldn't find or connect with any local scene of makers.
because there just isn't one!
home: New Zealand
based: Berlin, Germany
currently: Berlin, Germany
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