Clearing – Harbourfront Gallery – Exhibition Review

By Sophia Gambitsis

Interactive Installation – Publication website

Harbourfront Gallery

Toronto, ON /// 2008

September 27, 2008 – January 4, 2009

Project Team: Lateral Office

Mason White, Lola Sheppard, Joseph Yau

Photographs: Peter Legris

For more than 40 years, Harbourfront Centre has believed to have been both current and creative, bringing together the best in Canadian culture and various other cultures world wide.

Harbourfront Centre is an innovative, non-profit cultural organisation. Whilst I did not see this in-person, the information on the show was very detailed and successful as I felt well informed on the Later office web page .  Documenting an interactive normally has some pictures and a summary, but this one had diagrams of the artists interaction and how people interacted. This created a parallel between knowing and the unknown.

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The project was to highlight the unseen parts of personal space. This meant people would take some round disks to hold the hair like wire. Clearing is a commission for a room-sized interactive space that invites visitors to investigate the politics of personal space.

This is an interesting work which plays with human interactions such as making way for people. It looks like a very fun work that I would want to play in because it’s inviting and open. The images online showed an empty work and a filled one.  The contrast of an interactive work with and without participants was a successful way of photographing the project. After seeing this way of documentation and the diagram, I wish i photographed my installations better as I always a did an untouched installation photograph.  While the information was good on this project it could have had a better understanding of the work if video was used as well, since the movement of people on a time lapse would have been very interesting, as the space would change and dance in a way.

http://lateraloffice.com/CLEARING-2008

Aram Bartholl: Paint figure drawing class – Online Artwork Review

By Maddy Plimmer

Aram Bartholl’s “Paint figure drawing class” combines the amusing nostalgia of MS paint with the quiet poise of a figure drawing class. He reinvents the traditional life drawing class by infusing it with post-internet shitty aesthetics. There are the following restrictions on how participants must draw in the class: They must draw with a computer mouse on a version of a simple computer drawing application, such as Paintxp or Gpaint. No layers, gradients or antialiasing is allowed in the document, and there is a maximum of 3 undos and 48 colours permitted.

Having these restrictions on how the work is made seems as if it’s an attempt to more closely mimic how drawing on paper operates. You can’t exactly draw underneath something you’ve already drawn on the page, nor can you quickly create a smooth gradient and completely remove a mark you’ve made. It creates a more simulated environment. Instead of simply creating a space to do life drawing digitally, it strives to recreate the scenario of the class within a somewhat accurate framework. It speaks to the limitations of virtual technology, and also perhaps how we try to create these digital spaces within an already existing structure. We save a pretend file into a pretend folder on our pretend desktop. Technology creates this window into the cybernetic world, which is separate yet engrained in our corporeal experience. Separate because it is fabricated, engrained because the windows are everywhere. Probably in your pocket and definitely in front of you right now. This constructed space that has limitations entirely different to the limitations of the physical world, however we attempt to situate all its elements within a tangible-world context. We further constrain what a technology can do, by further inflicting our human context on it, but it is also an important part of computers usability is enhanced. Sure, we could create a completely new mode of thought for how we use technology, but by situating it in our already understood context, they are easier and more instinctive to use.

This work to me is not just a class, but rather a participatory performance exhibition. It clearly has roots in conceptual post-internet practice, as a post-internet artist set up the class.  The resulting drawings the naïve drawing style of online memes, and reflect the trollpunk style born out of humans interaction with linear digital technology. This performance celebrates the merging of the traditional with the new, and humans with technology within a fine art context, so let’s join in and embrace the Internet ugly!

http://www.datenform.de/paint-figure-drawing-class.html

Power Plant – Exhibition Review

By William Hadwen

28 Februrary – 16 March 2014

The Wellington Botanic Gardens’ light show, ‘Power Plant’ ran as part of the Wellington Arts Festival, in partnership with Contact Energy. It involved a series of largely light and sound-based interactive installations within the gardens themselves. This public event was provided by a collaborative group of five artists (Mark Anderson, Anne Bean, Jony Easterby, Kirsten Reynolds and Ulf Mark Pedersen) who have converted public parks around the world into large immersive spaces through innovative uses of light and sound since 2005 – transforming nature into nocturnal, other-worldly nightscapes.

A sectioned walkway wound through the gardens for visitors to become immersed in this Alice In Wonderland-esque experience, progressively making their way down from the top cable car station to the duck pond, through the central entrance gardens and back up to the cable car. A huge range of installations ensued as we progressed along this pathway guided by illuminated alien plants, insects and gramophones, catching glimpses of what was to come as strange lights wove through the dark unknown of the gardens. The installations appeared to be very meticulously considered whilst giving an illusion of spontaneity and playful response, seeming almost to be naturally interacting with their surroundings. These works employed sound as liberally as they did light, outlining and highlighting select areas of the gardens in a fantastic resonating array of constantly shifting sounds and light forms in different moods, claiming their domains in inventive and unique ways.

Many of the works were cleverly understated and unpredictable – they were very good – with elements of surprise, fantastic but not ‘theme park’. Some however seemed a bit contrived and underwhelming, specifically the floating dresses and lamp shades, which certainly had potential haunting qualities but perhaps not in this setting. The artists’ site-specific response is to the natural environment of this public space – they worked in situ with what was already there, using the dark of night to their advantage. Changing and emphasising the brief encounters of a familiar, extraordinary mindset – a willingness to believe anything in the depths of night-time.

Mysterious, understated, clever, light and playful. Yet a certain dark undertone. The charm of the show was the illusion and ambiguity which allowed for an imagined sense of drama and atmosphere of mysterious happenings as if waking up inside a dream. Haunting, it gets under your skin, you take away a fictitious unravelling within your subconscious.

Wandering Objects by artist Lucy Wardle – Exhibition Review

By William Hadwen

Lucy Wardle’s recent work in the 2015 Wellington Performance Arcade, ‘Wandering Objects’ featured a shipping container with one open end for participants to enter through, while the other end was occupied by a transparent pink wall. This performance felt approachable and welcoming and participation was quiet and contemplative compared to the more intense and confronting performances I have experienced. Inside the container was a rather inviting pile of what I could only describe as elephant trunks, constructed with hundreds of threaded floral rounds, cut from warm-tone woollen blankets.

In regard to presentation, once lying on the woollen trunks – intertwined and content – I noticed lights had been installed in the ceiling of the container, emphasising the pink glow of the transparent wall and dowsing the interior with an artificial pink glow. This saturated illumination gradually diffused toward the opening, which appeared to provide a certain natural green glow from the outside world caused by my eyes’ over compensation in reaction to the overpowering pink setting. While this work was certainly presented as a contemporary interactive performance – it was in the Performance Arcade, after all – it also showed certain formal qualities which I didn’t expect and was in fact pleasantly surprised by. The processes employed involved both physical objects within the space and a study of light and human visual perception, purposefully displacing what one would expect to see and offering a filtered view of reality – we don’t realise what we take for granted because… we take it for granted.

Simple objects with elements of complexity within a rigid, strongly geometric space brought a certain physical minimalism with potentially darker undertones of a more gruesome or bodily narrative, inside the belly of a whale perhaps. Willing participants, consumed into the warmth of a nurturing interior. My favourite aspect of this sculptural installation was the intentional use of light on the ceiling and walls of the container, it was as though it offered two different poles between the artificial pink overload and exaggerated green compensation. The undulating metal surface alternated between bars of pink and green light, each becoming thicker toward their respected end, but meeting harmoniously and in balance at the center of the container’s interior surfaces.

The success of this work was its understated immersiveness.

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