I think this installation is one of the highlights of my professional art practice!
I wish to thank you personally for your efforts in helping me ‘stage’ HABITAT @ immerse. It could not have happened without the skills each of you have contributed to the project. I am deeply grateful.
It is no easy task to set up an exhibition with so many important aspects – choosing me as an immerse artist, sound design, DVD burning, flat set-up and gallery design, blacking painted surfaces, installation of structures, hanging art, writing for the catalogue, IT expertise, curatorial advice / backup / facilitating, fabricating, recording movies, printing labels, transport, administering, words of encouragement, Opening assistance, general support of the artist, and much more! YOU all made it work!
Medium: Wood, canvas, paper
This is a new presentation. It combines STACCATTO, ACCESS, and ENCODE. The pattern increases in complexity the further you get to the edges. In a simple version, it suggests more than the eye can see – like that which the Haldron Collider is in the pursuit!
This is a new presentation of an old sculpture. It is a dog-level for sniffing access.
Medium: Wood, Letters, fabric dog
Sent to the doghouse’ is an idiom suggesting punishment and shame for your unpopular actions or attitudes. This top-dog lives on the upper floor, above criticism and the patter of everyday life. Yet, she will never be given the chance to ‘rule’. She has no money, power, or social influence. She makes no promises. Apparently, she has no future in politics. What a lucky dog!
Though the tones between black and white are infinite, it is possible to move from one to the other in six tonal steps – using only fabrics found in the ‘average’ Spotlight Store. We are told the same ‘six step’ dictum often holds true in directly connecting oneself with a famous relative or celebrity. Through the morass of human beings, a linking thread of commonality can be discovered. This may also point to connection with all creation.
Some text relevant to HABITAT:
See every creature as an image or mirror of Divinity. Every creature reveals something about God to us – maybe it is beauty; maybe humour that shines through; maybe simplicity; maybe complexity. With the right eyes of perception, everything reveals something of the divine to us. Matthew Fox on Thomas Aquinas
By dwelling on creatures the mind is inflated to love the divine goodness. We love God and know God in the mirror of God’s creatures. Thomas Aquinas
If we are looking to find the ‘ultimate and noblest perfection in things,’ then look to the whole. Today, we know the order of the universe is a very dynamic order, a rapidly evolving order, an order in motion, an order of the birth, death, and resurrection of galaxies, supermovas, stars, and planets, including earth. We all exist to serve a larger order, the cosmos itself. Matthew Fox on Thomas Aquinas
Part 2 of 2
What started out as a reasonably simple idea expanded into this soundscape equivalent of a veil of water filling every available airspace between the installations of HABITAT at immerse. After almost twenty (20) years collaborating on sound design with Flossie Peitsch, the output always seems to extend dramatically beyond the small initial idea. This particular piece stretched from three (3) minutes to thirty (30) minutes during the progression of the composition.
This piece unusually uses a forward and backward presentation of the spoken clips. The initial elements of water and wind are also reversed – giving a familiar and yet random quality throughout. The soundscape is designed to be played at low volume. Surprise elements are layered to fit under the melody of the wind in a way that is almost a replacement of one for the other – even though our ears momentarily focus on the added element. A continual destruction and electrification of the original recordings blurs the boundaries between humanity, self and technology which resonates throughout this exhibition.
Part 1 of 2
This recording is a compilation of only natural sounds – those immediate to Flossie’s and my lives. For me, the surrounding water and wind bring me peace. For Flossie, her love of animals has been a constant throughout her life. By manipulating the different samples throughout the recording, the bark of Priscilla the dog turns into a howl with a melody of its own. Also, the wind sample used I first heard singing through the gaps in my house’s walls, playing a melody that I’ve never heard anywhere else. The running water recording was recorded in a small town cave in rural China in pitch black after a heavy rain. The experience of being alone in a cave is unsettling enough and a rare opportunity to experience. Coupled with the inability to see anything, the stream seemed to grow into a river, into a roar, where the blackness quickly painted itself into creatures by my fertile imagination. The blocks of silence are added to allow our ears to breath.
‘Visible creatures are like a book in which we read the knowledge of God. One has every right to call God’s creatures God’s “works”, for they express the divine mind just as effects manifest their cause.’ Thomas Aquinas. Seeing the creatures, the creator is made visible. The created world is the thing we are ‘a part of’ – not ‘a part from’. In this expansive and edgy installation – the mirror, the bodiless mask, the shifting plates, the sanctuaries along the dark corridors, the stand-up feet – each element constructs a path and platform where one can consider one’s own place in the world, amongst all its existing mysteries.
During the Opening, someone filled in a BLOG sheet for my attention. Here is what was written about my performance art:
“I didn’t know if I can interact with the performer and the communication of the following reflection which is inviting but the mask distances this. What are the barriers of communication in the work and other possible areas?”
Thank you for writing this reflection! Feedback for an artist – like myself – whose art is conceptual and requires the viewer’s genuine input or puzzlement to open the discourse, is invaluable!
You have already grasped the answer to your own question. I think ‘the barriers’ are ‘the point’. 1) The mask is clearly an un-nerving barrier to the viewer. It suggests someone who is here but not available as the mask has no opening mouth. (However, some people did push in close anyway and asked me questions expecting a reply through the plastic. Interesting, eh?) The mask observes you observing the art. 2) The mirror held by ‘the mask’ is also a barrier. If you come close to it, you will find yourself reflected back to you. In fact, you are observing yourself observing the art. 3) Not displaying ‘the obvious’ usual motifs (skull, fire, garbage) of environmental issues is also a barrier. Viewers need to think for themselves. 4) The bodiless feet are also a barrier to communication as their message is unclear. Again, viewers need to think for themselves.
I think ‘the barriers’ are ‘the point’. People are used to being ‘in charge’ and understanding things intellectually. This exhibition suggests other voices in the disciurse. Viewers are tipped out of their comfort zones to be led gently but firmly, given a chance to think about the world and its creatures. Here, intrigue through another’s voice prevails. Environmental issues are not black and white, are they?
Immerse chose to hold the Opening of the entire project at The 1812 Theatre from 7:30 to 9pm. There were speakers from the Council and a few Art Prizes awarded. Light supper and drinks were provided for the group of exhibiting artists and their support groups. Plenty of the partakers made their way – nervously – down the dark corridors of HABITAT. The disquieting soundscape keyed their ears. They were mesmerized by the eerie blue-lit display they encountered. Soooo powerful is the lighting (what a brilliant idea for Robin to use the black lighting tubes!), audio and visuals on/in HABITAT that many people came through several times in Saturday night and stayed a long time!! One person said he kept returning as he loved being in the space! Two women stayed chatting and pointing for twenty (20) minutes!
KEY WORDS: Environmental Conversation, QR Codes, Creative Thinking for our Time, Pattern and Design, Spirituality in the Everyday, Interactive, Non-traditional mediums
EXHIBITION Description: Various sculptural and wall-mounted objects – including 44 legs; several long cloth panels arranged as a floor-based installation; 3D found objects altered for intrigue; various presentations of QR Codes as fine art; seven (7) large cloth panels of precision, performance art and more.