POINTS OF ENTRY is an international touring exhibition project of installations and embodied electronic sculptural works using technology, by Australian, Canadian and New Zealand artists.
The works address contradictions and diverse possibilities of working with interactive technologies. The installations range from self-standing kinetic sculptures, to what appears at first to be high speed model cars, but on closer examination are machines that move so slowly they take will decades to move a small distance. A characteristic of all of the works is their physical nature; some are sculptural, while others focus on physical and spatial interaction.
POINTS OF ENTRY, the title of the show, implies options and possibilities for audience engagement with the works. While the concept of interactive art is suggestive of choice and freedom, it is useful to consider the extent of these choices. The questions remains: within the digital domain of preconceived computer works, programmed virtual art and interactive sculptures, how much actual freedom, how much control over our choice remains? Each work in the show takes a different approach to these problems, some use simple interactions, or have pre-programmed behaviours, others subvert the conventions of what we term “interactivity”. Curators: Nina Czegledy, Robin Petterd, and Deborah Lawler-DormerArtists involved: Australia — Sophea Lerner, Greg Bourke Leigh Hobba, Andrew Burrell Canada — Jocelyn Robert and Daniel Jolliffe, Jon Baturin, Simone Jones and Hope Thompson New Zealand — Sean Kerr and Kim Fogelberg, Virgina King, Yuk King Tan, Alex Monteith
The artists/the selected works follows:
a collaborative installation by Jocelyn Robert and Daniel Jolliffe
Ground Station produces music in real time by following the current azimuth, elevation and signal strength of thirty-two Global Positioning System (GPS) satellites. GS is in a sense an audible reflection of the activities of the GPS network it watches. Whereas GPS was developed as a positioning technology to aid in warfare, Ground Station (GS) inverts the traditional use of this data by watching the positions and movement of the satellites themselves. As satellite position data is fed into GS, it is processed by an algorithm designed by the artists that filters and transcodes this into musical notation. This unique, continuous musical score is then played live through speakers, or in certain versions of the work on a Dysklavier piano.
In effect, Ground Station works by borrowing data from the US military’s Global positioning satellite network. There are thus two sets of authors for the music GS produces: the artist-programmers who create and contextualize the work, and the military infrastructure that maintains and oversees the GPS network. The connection between these authors is a definite one: GS is compositionally dependent on the data it receives from the GPS network, and in turn on the military’s own uplink stations that controls the satellites. The central role of Schriever Air Force Base in the music produced by GS is indirect yet significant, as this music depends on satellite trajectory, which is under direct military control. Without this ground control, the music produced by GS would eventually fade and cease, in parallel with the decay of the satellites themselves.
Systems aside, Ground Station was not conceived to champion technology or the possibilities of computer-based musical composition. As collaborators we have little interest in the aesthetics of the ‘music’ produced by the piano. Rather, its goal is to produce music as a kind of cultural artifact of the time and place we live in. Musically, GS relies on the supposition that musical composition is a product of the time and place in which it is produced, rather than its formal or syntactical qualities. A piano played under the rocket fire of wartime Beirut, for example, and Ground Stationís piano-manifested satellite data are both musical compositions that reflect specifically upon the social state of the cultures they are created within.
Ground Station sets out to make visible different cultural approaches to technology, and to make audible the invisible data that connects these approaches. In this sense Ground Stationís performance is not one of music but an aural translation of the current technologized society that we inhabit.
Jocelyn Robert is interested by the instant, the space between nothings, the banalytic archeology. Audio artist, video artist, installation artist, etc artist, he first studied as a pharmacist, then as an architect. He worked in architecture until 1989, then he switched to full time art. He collaborated with Diane Landry, Bruit TTV, Arbo Cyber, and others on different performances and installations, and produced several solo works as well. He showed his work here and there while you were looking elsewhere. He published several cds of his own audio work, on ReR records, Obz and Ohm Editions, participated to another 20 with different artists, showed interactive installations in galleries, published texts in books, interviews in magazines, etc etc etc. Last February, he won the first prize in the New Image category of the Transmediale Awards, in Berlin, with his computer-video installation L Invention des Animaux. In 1993, with Pierre-André Arcand, Christof Migone and a few others, he founded Avatar, an audio artists-run centre in Quebec City and acted as president and artistic director of the centre until 2001. These days he can be found in California, studying in a little studio between trees. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, and more information on him and his work can be found at www.stanford.edu/~jrobert
Daniel Jolliffe (Ontario, 1964). A media and visual artist since 1989, Daniel’s work is a synthesis of sculptural practice and electronic technologies. His works take an original approach to the interaction of the body and technology, creating physically intensive experiences which challenge conventional notions of point and click interactivity. His interactive works and technology based art projects have been shown across Canada and the United States. He was until recently co-director of the Digital Earth in Vancouver, B.C. which in 2000 presented ZDM: A Theme Park of Electronic Culture. He has taught workshops introducing artists to electronic practices both overseas and across Canada. He is currently completing a degree in Philosophy at the University of Victoria, British Columbia.
“Doukhoubor communal bath age 5”
a photo based installation by Jon Baturin
“Doukhoubor communal bath age 5” is a modular environment using sensory triggers, sound, heat and photo-based imagery. We see — sense — almost feel — warm bodies, thighs, bellies, flesh. Inner and outer. Young and old. Ecstatic and mortified.
“Communal bath” occupies a physical space (small) and psychological space (large). It is tactile. Intimate. Comfortable, snug. A place for understanding — for belonging. Not a place to fear or a place to be feared.
“I was 5. My mother was dying — had died of cancer. We traveled to Grand Forks B.C. to spend healing — and grieving — time with our Doukhobour family. There was ritual song and ritual prayer. Hugs and whispers. (Russian & English) Endearments and tears. warm laps.
The communal bath-house. A place of tradition and lore; of family and of precious bonds. A place for renewal; for hope and for resolution for my father. A place to share me. A place for spirit, for worth, for meaning. A place to embrace when god deserts. A place — when sense of place has gone. I was five. I knew none of this.
My Father shared steam, sweat, talk, grief. He cried copiously. Our tears were deep water. Clean water. They fit this place. I learned that well. Sat quiet. Sat low. Uncles and aunts, cousins. family friends. boy flesh. girl flesh. Man flesh. Innies and outies. Bellies and thighs. Met them all. (Met them often). Gentle hugs. Whisperings. Quiet pleas. “health/ disease.…” “life / death.…” “…death…” “…death…” “…death…” lots and lots and lots of death.… too much for one aged 5.
So much older now. Yet I reside there still. see it again. See it often. The dead. Uncles and aunts, cousins. friends. boy flesh and girl flesh. Innies and outies. Bellies and thighs. Dangly bits. Death. Mortification. Ever-present tragedy. Unrequited sorrow and — on occasion — unanticipated joy.”
Jon Baturin is Associate Professor and Program Director (Photography and Explorations) York University, Toronto Canada . He has in his recent photo-based and digital work collaborated with visual artists, social activists, poets, novelists, actors, musicians from North America, England, China, Australia, Brazil and the Caribbean.
His photographic and digital works have been shown extensively including:
- Liminal Body: Australian Centre for Photography (2000 Sydney Olympics)
- Digitized Bodies: Virtual Spectacles: Ludwig Museum of Contemporary Art (October 2000 Budapest, Hungary) Mestna Museum Galerjia (February 2001, Lubjiana Slovenia)
- …About ENDS (the hope project): Gallery 44, June 2002, Toronto Canada)
Studies in Compulsive Movement: Anxiety Box No.1
by Simone Jones and Hope Thompson, 2002
Studies in Compulsive Movement: Anxiety Box No.1 is an interactive audio sculpture with two animation flipbooks. Each flipbook triggers a separate audio soundtrack when picked up and activated by the viewer. The flipbooks contain animated drawings of a repeated body movement.
Through the juxtaposition of the audio soundtracks and the animated images, the work examines the relationship between psychological and physical compulsion. Lastly, both the flipbooks and the audio tracks have the potential to loop endlessly (compulsively!) the work is completed by the interaction of the viewer’s the action of activating the flipbook mimics the repeated nature of the moving images and looping audio soundtracks.
Simone Jones makes electronic sculpture and video. Hope Thompson is a writer and filmmaker. Studies in Compulsive Movement: Anxiety Box No.1 is their first official collaboration.
installation, 2001, by Sean Kerr (in collaboration with Kim Fogelberg)
The installation plays upon the beauty of simplicity. The work shares Lye “direct philosophy” being created entirely within a computer with no external sampling.
“Dot_IV. reflects my fascination with musical structure and the association of sound, images and repeating loops,” says Kerr.
Sean Kerr is a Lecturer in Intermedia, Elam Fine Arts School, University of Auckland, Auckland and practices as a Professional Visual Artists and Freelance Curator.
installation, 2001, by Virgina King
King draws an analogy between the human presence in Antarctica and the way she works, the anomaly of her delicate works created by using noisy, aggressive machinery. Suspended macrocarpa sculptures are massed together, evoking the complexity and diversity of their forms in real life as revealed by the electron microscope. The works move, turning slowly, their movement inducing a hypnotic effect on the viewer. The survival of life forms is the fundamental theme of the work, described by Gilbert Wong as a positive statement about the tenacity of life in the extremes. By exaggerating the scale King allows us to make other connections, to allude to her previous works, some of which also make reference to microorganisms.
Sound and light contribute to a sense of the subterranean and the mystical a leap from scientific data to the indefinable world of the spirit. The fluorescent surfaces of the works are bathed in eerie ultra violet light and the darkness of the space hints at the journey to Antarctica. Ultra violet light makes reference to research that has been conducted on its effect on diatoms.
In the video, King has layered and dissolved electron microscope images that are computer coloured and animated with footage she filmed on location in the extraordinary Antarctic landscape. These are interspersed with images of the sculptures and the presence of life forms, their reality and their new representation, is in stark contrast with the dramatic vistas.
Virginia King has been exhibiting in solo and group exhibitions since 1978. In 1999 she participated in the Pacific Rim exhibition Volume and Form Singapore í99. Her survey exhibition Tideline-Sculpture: a ten year survey was presented at Whangarei Art Museum. She has made two previous art videos: Passage, 1995 and Styx (Sticks), 1997. Both videos have been included in the Video programme organized by the Moving Image Centre as part of the Asia Pacific Triennale, Brisbane Art Gallery, Queensland, Australia. In 2000 Styx/Sticks was purchased by Brisbane Art Gallery for public viewing. Virginia lives in Auckland and works full time as a sculptor.
The new Siteseer
installation, 2002, by Yuk King Tan
Using rockets whose bodies contain small cameras Yuk King Tan has developed a series of “landscape” images taken from the missiles downward trajectory. The photographs and the artwork discuss the issue of border, territory and the division of land.
The location of the “take-off” and most of the photographs were situated at the edge of the Tamaki Drive between Mission Bay residential and the sea. The underlying interest of the project is the intersection between land and harbour, history and development, home and habitat. An activity like launching a small rocket breaks the usual flow of the daily traffic suggesting a slight shift in convention and norm. Evoking the subtle menace of military surveillance and a humorous retake on tourist photography the work subtly questions how we may perceive land and home.
Yuk King Tan was born in Australia and is a graduate with a BFA from the University of Auckland. She has had solo exhibitions across Australia and New Zealand and participated in group shows worldwide. Her work has received media reviews in Australia, New Zealand and Europe.
24 frames reframed
installation, 2002, Alex Monteith in collaboration with Darren Glass
The installation of this work (which is still in progress and will later become part of a body of works) presently involves a single video projection. The projector is fed its image from a video switcher (the kind they use in video surveillance for security) which reads signals from 4 videos running simultaneously. This switcher enables the viewers to select and sequence one after the other any or all of the signals being sent from 1–4 of the video decks. The speed it switches between views of the dandelion is variable.
Alex Monteith is currently studying for Doctorate in Fine Arts at Elam School of Fine Arts, The University of Auckland, New Zealand. She has worked and shown her films and videos extensively and received prestigious awards worldwide.
The Glass Bell
installation, 2002, Sophea Lerner
A house haunted by a ghost, a lake haunted by a forgotten bell, dreams haunted by a language you have never learnt to speak… Based on some of the stories the artist’s grandmother took with her when she left the village in Finland where she grew up. A poetic reverie on language, memory and separation The Glass Bell explores the role of stories as placeholders for the unutterable, for what falls between languages and places when we leave.
“Here you are on the surface of language, skating on thin ice, what you are saying, the words, are not your mother tongue. You have never learned to speak her language…”
The Glass Bell has been exhibited in three forms: As a radiophonic broadcast for The Listening Room, Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), developed during a Australia Council/ABC Audio Arts fellowship in 1998 then first shown as an interactive audiographic water installation developed collaboratively for Nextwave Festival 2002. This current version does not include the collaborative interactive elements.
- Text, Images, Sounds Sophea Lerner
- Translation Kaarina Rauramo
- Cello & improvisation: Ion Pearce
- Viola & violin: Natasha Rumiz
- Percussion & improvisation: Tony Lewis
- Voices: Annikki Harris, Virginia Baxter, Eila Himmelreich, Sophea Lerner, Zoe Smith
- Editing and arrangement: Sophea Lerner
- Sound engineer: John Jacobs
- Principle supporters: The Australia Council for the Arts, Nextwave Festival, Film Victoria
- also supported by: Muu Media Base, Performance Space, University of Technology, Sydney.
- Whilst the interactive waterscreen is not included in this version special thanks go to code artist Ryan Sabir and designer Kieran Larkin for their contributions to the project as a whole.
Sophea Lerner is an Australian sound and digital media artist specialising in interactive audio. Her work includes sound performance, installation, film sound and experimental radio features. She has done lots of different jobs, most of which have involved getting sounds and/or machines to do unexpected things. She currently lectures in media & sonic arts at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki.
Machines for Time
sculpture, 2001, by Greg Bourke
A series of three aerodynamic models, which are fictional prototypes for high-speed transport, with an aura of speed to them. One of the objects for instance, is a fully articulated machine that moves at a rate of 1 cm a year, this slowness is in contrast with its high speed looking design. The objects are not meant to work, and perhaps will never be built to full scale, however the construction of the models is considered, refined and precise.
Greg Bourke is studying media arts at the University of Tasmania. Earlier ( 1998) he graduated with a diploma in design and desktop publishing. In 2000 he received The Dean’s Roll of Excellence from the University of Tasmania. In 2001 Bourke exhibited in the “Mars Attack” exhibition at Hobart, Tasmania.
installation, 2001, by Leigh Hobba
Red is the second in a trilogy of works, Red, White and the Blues (1997–2001).
Red is a response to a journey from the Edge of Australia to the Centre. Two rocks from the bed of the oldest river on the planet, click together in response to an audience approach. A recording of a brief, light shower of rain falling into the river, plays into the space. Some audio manipulation of the “click” resonates through the space. The rocks were selected for their sound from all the possibilities one has when wandering down a dry, rock strewn river bed. They are ancient rocks – the click is a clock– the “timelessness” of the oldest continent and the process of change through weathering this clock against our fleeting interaction with the planet. The process is connected to mechanical based interaction (solenoid and electro/mechanical trigger eg pressure mat or light beam) which also triggers the sound software — this wraps the metaphor — timeless natural elements — intervention and control as a contemporary condition.
Leigh Hobba currently lives and works in Hobart Tasmania. Since the 1970s his sound and video installations were exhibited widely across Australia and abroad. His interdisciplinary practice includes installations, videos, performances, curatorial work and he has also published widely, Notably Hobba curated “Pulse Fiction” (1995) an exhibition/survey of art and attitudes affected by the first wave of artists access to media technologies and strategies of media based art works through the 1960s and 1970s in Australia and “Immediate” (2001) — Installations that address issues in New Media practice.
installation, 2000, by Andrew Burrell
The work “Here” presents the viewer with an internal dialogue, both single sided and conversational — circular in nature- with no beginning or end. This dialogue is contained within two small drawers and accessed audibly by the viewer each time one or both are opened. Perhaps here really is a place we cannot leave?
Each of the two boxes have a drawer that upon opening allows one half of a conversation to be played. Only when the viewer realizes that the voices within each box are in conversation and has both drawers opened at once, will they hear the complete dialogue.
Andrew Burrell graduated from the Sydney College of the Arts with an MFA in 2000. He has had solo exhibitions as far back as 1992 and participated in several group shows across Australia. Since 1999 Burrell has been intensively involved in the Polar Circuit project in Lapland and spent a residency leading up to Finnish exhibitions at Inari, Lapland in 2001.