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<nettime-ann> Big Bang for Australian Media Arts
ANAT Communications on Tue, 11 Nov 2008 06:19:09 +0100 (CET)

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<nettime-ann> Big Bang for Australian Media Arts


Big Bang for Australian Media Arts!

Media art has proliferated and blossomed in Australia, with a
spectacular survey of playful and political, intellectually and
visually engaging media works currently being exhibited at the
Premier's National New Media Art Award at the Gallery of Modern Art
(GoMA) in Brisbane.

Beautifully demonstrating the diversity and maturity of these expansive
new art practices' is the visionary work Earthstar of David Haines and
Joyce Hinterding - a monumental multi-sensory portrait of the sun.
Haines and Hinterding are talented artists in their own right, but
together their work is visually and conceptually explosive! Embracing
research across the fields of arts and sciences their sun study allows
the audience to see, hear and smell our closest cosmological neighbour.

While media arts work often tend to be global, Earthstar has a
particularly Australian sensibility. The images dominating the
installation space - that of a harsh and powerful sun were recorded
with the artists own telescope in the West Australian desert. Solar
transmissions are captured live in the gallery by two alarmingly simple
looking, yet technically complex artist created antennas, allowing us
to experience the suns energy at a vibrational level. The installation
also contains two smell stations - one containing the scent of a
bushfire and the other with the refreshing smell of new rain. Utilising
age-old techniques the artists have created a limited edition ozonic
perfume - Solaire Amour.

Approaching media art as a site for social change ex-pat Natalie
Jeremijenko's Greenlight addresses the Global climate crisis with very
local, practical and aesthetically delightful solutions. Jeremijenko
has designed a self-sustaining, carbon-neutral installation of indoor
hanging native rainforest ferns, growing under a soft light powered by
solar collectors on the roof of GoMA. As well as greening an indoor
environment the ferns operate as a highly efficient and beautiful air
purification system.

Showcasing the enormous impact new media has had on traditional arts
practice the exhibition also presents two artists extending their
painting practices into video and 3D animation. Julie Dowling's
Oottheroongoo is a timely and intimate four channel video installation,
narrating her and her family members' displacement and return to their
Badimaya country. The Premier's Award recipient Peter Alwast's
3D-rendered, visually luscious hyper-realistic space Everything,
utilises a multi-layered mashup aesthetic, inserting divergent source
material seamlessly into a three channel video installation. As part of
the $75,000 Award Alwast's work will be acquired for the GoMA

Expanding sculptural notions into real time intimate relationships,
artist Mari Velonaki presents a love story between two magnificently
crafted and networked auto-kinetic robots embodied within sculptural
wooden cubes. The magical texts displayed on the crystal screens of the
Circle D: Fragile Balances boxes distorts if handled roughly, but
respond poetically if treated gently, reminding us of the fragility and
care needed in human interactions.

Master artist/programmer John Tonkin's elegant Time and Motion Study V2
provides an insightful glimpse into our culture's absorption with
self-observation. Within his darkened installation the software
discretely captures and smoothly renders the viewers almost
imperceptible movements, re-presenting their image around the
installation in toned time splices - each viewer's personal visual
memory, providing instant recall in a searchable 3-dimensional
futuristic image library. Sam Smith's equally engaging sculpture,
Control Structure, also investigates ways of seeing and recording. A
representation of his exploded head lies on the gallery floor,
channelling tension between the primacy of two perspectives of the eye
and the lens.

Media artists are increasingly working in the growing cultural spaces
of virtual reality and gaming environments. A pioneering virtual
artist, Adam Nash composes songs within 3-dimesional online multi-user
worlds. His series of moving geometric audio sculptures Seventeen
Unsung Songs is located on an island in Second Life, and unlike a
conventional song, the audience must bodily move via their avatar to
play and hear it. In a similar vein to Tonkin and Velonaki, his work
demands a different relationship with audience. The "do not touch" days
of gallery viewing are dwindling as the participatory nature of media
works demands audience engagement.

Anita Fontaine's sophisticated CutexDoom II is a modified version of
the video game Unreal Tournament 3. In this sequel to CutexDoom I the
player is trying to escape from a religious cult, which believes that
the possession of cute material objects will lead to happiness. Level
II parallels our cultural experience of what Alain de Botton describes
as Status Anxiety. In a reversal of visual hierarchy, CutexDoom II's
physical installation is modelled on Fontaine's stunning signature
in-game graphics, so wherever we look we are surrounded by her
extravagant techno-rococo Ideology wallpaper.

Australian media art doesn't stop here - in fact this is just the
beginning of a constantly expanding field where artists are working
with the latest technological development in bio-art, wearable
technology, locative media, software development, nanotechnology,
artificial intelligence, virtual reality and gaming. Media arts culture
is increasingly shaping our imitate and global perspectives,
influencing our choices, spreading new ideas, enabling relationships
and encouraging participation in spaces that were once strictly

ANAT is delighted that the prominence and importance of this art form
is being acknowledged by the proliferation of Media Art Awards both
nationally and globally. For comments please contact Amanda Matulick,
Communications Manager at communicate {AT} anat.org.au.

The Queensland Premier's National New Media Art Award has been
intelligently and sensitively curated by Jose de Silva and Nicholas
Chambers, and the exhibition is viewable until February 8, 2009 at

Media Kit http://qag.qld.gov.au/about_us/?a=62880
Media Images http://visualarts.qld.gov.au/media/premier/


ANAT is assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia
Council http://www.ozco.gov.au its arts funding and advisory body, by
the South Australian Government through Arts SA
http://www.arts.sa.gov.au and the Visual Arts and Craft Strategy, an
initiative of the Australian, State and Territory Governments.

If you would like to change your contact details or be added or removed
from this list please email anat {AT} anat.org.au

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