Farewell Experimenta – behind the scenes of the ‘bump out’

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This week we bid farewell to Experimenta Recharge the media art exhibition that has attracted large crowds to its interactive exhibits since November, and delighted audiences on its final viewing at White Night Melbourne on Saturday 21 February.

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What a contrast RMIT Gallery is on the first days after the exhibition has ended, and we de-install the artworks. The images of the bustling gallery full of people and artwork are already are fading into memory. The main photo (above, top) is what remains of Khaled Sabsabi’s work 70,000 Veils – a massive piece utilising television screens projecting images to be viewed through 3D glasses (above, with the audience, at RMIT Gallery’s White Night Melbourne event on 21 February).

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The day after an exhibition ends it is always a surprise to walk into the main gallery and the magic has gone, and the space transformed. Where there were artworks and an audience, now it is just an empty space quickly filled with boxes, pieces of wood, material being recycled and everything packed up to be freighted to the next location. Above is the crowd arriving for White Night Melbourne and pouring through the gallery reception – below is the same view, two days later, filled with the massive stack of television monitor boxes that were used for Sabsabi’s work.

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The two week period of ‘bumping out’ the current exhibition and ‘bumping in’ the new one, means that RMIT Gallery is transformed in that time to something of a building site, with teams of technicians working under the direction of RMIT Gallery registrar Peter Wilson, to take down the current exhibition,  and then prepare the walls and perhaps new partitions for the next exhibition layout.

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Down comes Ei Wada’s Towering Records, the installation piece that transfixed audiences with its storytelling and visual magic.

Ei Wada (Japan)

Ei Wada (Japan)

Once all the artwork has been packed away to be freighted back to different locations, all that remains are holes on the walls to be painstakingly patched, and paint colors to be taken back to the blank canvas of the White Cube.  It takes a large team and an enormous amount of work to keep the gallery walls looking immaculate, ready for the presentation of the new exhibitions.Why do we go to this effort?

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RMIT Gallery Director and Chief Curator Suzanne Davies said “we want to intensify people’s experience and we can do that by making sure that the environment supports a pleasurable visual experience for the viewer and reflects the respect with which we hold for the artwork and the artist’s vision.”

WHAT’S NEXT????

In the next few blogs, we will explore the installation of our three new upcoming exhibitions, and behind the scenes details of the genesis of their ideas and curatorial rationale. These exhibitions are:

RMIT Gallery India Exhibition Consultant Helen Rayment's behind the scenes images in India of 'Unfolding: New Indian Textiles'.

RMIT Gallery India Exhibition Consultant Helen Rayment’s behind the scenes images in India of ‘Unfolding: New Indian Textiles’.

Unfolding: New Indian Textiles

20 March – 30 May 2015

Contemporary Indian textile designers and artists examine the reinvention of traditional textiles within the wider context of international art and fashion.

Japanese Art After Fukushima: Return of Godzilla

20 March – 30 May 2015

Japanese artists respond to the events at the Fukushima nuclear power plant in 2011 and its environmental implications.

Backs of Banaras

20 March – 30 May 2015

Photographer Terry Burrows visual essay in the textiles of the everyday that conveys much of the cultural wealth and contradiction that is contemporary India.

 

 

 

 

 

7 am: Reflections of White Night Melbourne @ RMIT Gallery

korinsky relax

 

It’s nearly 7 am and in the minutes of White Night Melbourne and RMIT Gallery’s Experimenta Recharge, we reflect on the audience and their engagement with the media art exhibition during this cultural night of illumination and celebration in the Melbourne CBD.

Our enthusiastic team of six gallery volunteers who worked the 7 pm to 7 am shift were all eager to have “Korinsky time” before the exhibition ended and Experimenta Recharge left RMIT Gallery for its two year tour…this means lying on the floor of the sound art installation (in its own separate gallery room) and immersing yourself in the implications of hearing sounds from the past and placing yourself in a situation where perceptions of time, space and place might be disrupted.

korinsky relax 2

“RL2000 2014”, by German group Korinsky, is a sound and mixed media installation imagines that sound never fully disappears and is present in our universe forever. What would it sound like to hear all the sounds of the past and present? How would it change our perceptions of time and death?

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Sound artist collective Korinsky’s installation inspired by the recent announcement by researchers at the Harvard-Smithsonian Centre that they had documented sound waves from the Big Bang soon after the birth of our universe.

main gallery 3.30 am

 

In the main gallery, our volunteers spent the evening patiently explaining the intriguing artwork by Brisbane based bio artist Svenja Kratz called “The Contamination of Alice: Instance #8”. The work, on a raised white plinth, is part of an ongoing investigation begun in 2008 that has produced a series of installations collectively titled: The Absence of Alice.

Under the glow of a fragmented projection, a lifelike face with disturbingly blinking eyes appears over a an inert mask. A dome above contains a decaying, contaminated jelly like version of the mask. The series explores biotechnologies, specifically Saos-2, a cell line isolated from the bone cancer lesion of an 11-year-old girl, Alice, in 1973.

The artist says the following about this series:

“Since the establishment of the Saos-2 cell line, Alice’s cells are routinely in research
laboratories throughout the world. As such, even though Alice is most likely long
deceased, due to the virulent nature of her cancer, the overall biomass of the
remaining cells now most likely far outweighs the mass of her body when she was
alive.”

Our volunteers agreed – once everyone understood the story behind “The Contamination of Alice” they were really intrigued.

queue 3.30 am

The long queues waited patiently until at least 5 am for the work “A series of small wire objects (many of them uninteresting): Object 2”. This work, which only allows two people to view it behind the black curtain at a time, contains a series of small wire objects (actually, twisted paperclips) and is concerned with extending sound art composition into visual form through the use of an ordinary
sculptural object as a means of focusing audience attention.

The artists RMIT lecturer Darrin Verhagen, Stuart McFarlane and Toby Brodel explore how the simplest of objects may be transformed into something startling and mesmerising through the simultaneous use of sound, light and colour.

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A real crowd pleaser was Japanese artist and musician Ei Wada’s work Falling Records. Our volunteer’s agreed – “everyone was ‘oohing and aahing’ over Falling Records‘” which is presented as a performance work. The tape in the soaring plinths slowly winds down, then the mechanism stops, and then jumps into reverse, to the sound of strange music…

Ei Wada explains in his wall text:

This is one of the works that I have created based on my notion of Electronicostic
Imagination. Electronicos is a word I have coined which means something old has
been transformed from its original use into a new contemporary paradigm.
The idea was inspired by an incident in which I observed a tape dropping and piling up
on a floor.

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In future, inhabitants of some unknown culture and who have never seen a tape
recorder may uncover this machine with one broken reel and try to play the tape
back… 

And because of their fascination with the phenomenon of music visually piling-up, they
might build a huge tower of Electronicos in some public space. In the evening, they will
look at the tower, the magnetic materials falling, the rotational movement, the
rewinding. And, over time, the sounds and vision will be indelibly inscribed in their
memories.

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No one will quickly forget Brazilian artist Anasia Franco’s three works in the exhibition – especially the so called ‘screaming teeth’ – or the work ‘Paranoia’. And that includes not just the fanciful fairy who wandered in after midnight, but also the poor baby who leaned in to the interactive work from the safety of his father’s arms, only to get the fright of his life when the teeth screamed at him.

“That poor baby! His screams were louder than the teeth,” one volunteer recalled.

In contrast, Anasia Franco’s other interactive work, “Emanating Happiness” did just that – when anyone stood on the pod, they laughed, giggled, and playfully interacted with the floor based work. It was a joy, and aptly named.

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With every interactive exhibition, and especially for an event as big as White Night, there is the temptation to take home a little of the experience…and so we found that the 3D glasses used in Khaled Sabsabi’s massive work 70,000 Veils, which originates from the Prophet Mohammed’s teaching
that ‘there are 70 000 veils of light and darkness separating the individual from the divine, went ‘walkabout’.

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In 70,000 Veils, Sabsabi explores the depths of this teaching, exploiting the infinite possibilities of digital image rendering and media technology to contemplate its spiritual essence and application within a lived reality. Each of the 100 monitors in this installation plays an individual file of 700 photographs composited over the top of each other. Each file plays for 700 seconds each before repeating, producing a random installation of 70 000 images.

The images are photographs of the everyday taken over the last 10 years of the artist’s career and include architectural features, streetscapes, and photos of media propaganda taken during his travels to the Middle East. All the better viewed with 3D glasses….

 

 

 

RMIT Gallery delights at White Night Melbourne

crowds A steady stream of enthusiastic art lovers flocked to RMIT Gallery for the last night of Experimenta Recharge – an interactive exhibition of media art. To the hum of the music around the nearby State Library,  patrons played with the art works, delighting especially in Brazilian artist Anasia’s Franco’s “Emanating Happiness”. white night happiness Anaisa Franco works with robotics and low-fi electronics to produce interactive sculptures and installation that connect mechanical processes with the subconscious human mind.   “Emanating Happiness” was developed during an artist in residence program at Creative and Cognition Studios, University of Technology, Sydney as part of the EMARE AUS CDN Move On Exchange (European media artists in residence in exchange with Australia and Canada). This program is supported by the Culture 2013 Programme of the European Commission and the Goethe Institute. teeth Inspired by psychology, dreams and the possibilities inherent in DIY electrical engineering, Franco animates objects – such as her reactive shattering mirror “Frustration” (below) with behaviours and feelings to blur the boundaries between body, mind and machine.

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Franco’s work “Paranoia” 2010, a reactive sculpture, had audiences reaching for their phones to record the false teeth screaming and laughing. Instant replays were viewed as people left the gallery – a lingering memento of Experimenta Recharge ready for replay at any time.

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The performance piece “Toki Ori Ori Nasu: Falling Records 2013” featuring reel to reel tape decks, pedestals and sound by Japanese artist and musician Ei Wada attracted a large audience, keen to see his speculative work in action. Ei Wada was inspired by an incident in which he observed a tape dropping and piling up on a floor – and he imagined a future in which inhabitants of some unknown culture and who have never seen a tape recorder may uncover this machine with one broken reel and try to play the tape back…… Wn darrin The collective work by Darrin Verhagen, Stuart McFarlane, and Toby Brodel only allows one person at a time in the blacked out sound booth – but a patient audience queued for to watch – and listen – to the work “A series of small wire objects (many of them uninteresting)”. The piece is  is concerned with extending sound art composition into visual form through the use of an ordinary sculptural object as a means of focusing audience attention. The artists explore how the simplest of objects may be transformed into something startling and mesmerising through the simultaneous use of sound, light and colour.

RMIT Gallery open for White Night Melbourne

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White Night returns this Saturday February 21 with an expanded footprint, great new sites and returning favourites. And RMIT Gallery will be open from 7 pm to 7 am.

Come and join us for the last night of the interactive media art exhibition Experimenta Recharge.

The exhibition presents a collection of over 18 works from Australian and international artists, who question how technology and cultural contexts create new perspectives on knowledge.

White Night, now in its third year, is inspired by the international Nuit Blanche movement that began in Paris, France.

It provides an all-night, free cultural event with visual art, illuminations, music, food, theatre, sport, fashion, film, design and performances on display in the city.

Public transport will be running regularly right throughout the night, and the message from organisers is to arrive after midnight to beat the crowds.

Title: White Night at RMIT Gallery
Date: Saturday 21 February
Time: 7pm to 7am
Venue: RMIT Gallery Building 16, City campus
Cost: Free

LEISA SHELTON PERFORMANCE AT RMIT GALLERY

IMG_5950Leisa Shelton will be performing Mapping Australian Media Art at RMIT Gallery time on Saturday 21 February from 1-4pm.

In this participatory project, Leisa will sit at a table in the gallery inviting individuals to join her in a conversation about significant encounters they have had with media art in Australia – to name the
artists that have made an impression on them and marked us as a culture.

Come along and share your stories with Leisa.

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We will be sealing the archive box and marking the end of Mapping Australian Media Art at RMIT Gallery from 4-5 pm with a small celebration following, hosted by Leisa Shelton and Elise Routledge, program manager, Experimenta.

Date: Saturday 21 February

Time: 1-4pm, followed by a small celebration 4-5 pm for sealing the archive box.

Venue: RMIT Gallery 344 Swanston Street, Melbourne.

Cost: Free

Seeing red at White Night

RMIT’s Alumni Courtyard will be a part of the popular White Night festival on Saturday from 7pm and 7am.

The newly-revamped Alumni Courtyard Food Market will be glowing red, referencing the Seven Deadly Sins theme in the adjoining Melbourne Gaol, and market traders will be open all night offering festival-goers an ambient space to rest and revive.

Artists talk about Experiment Recharge

On Wednesday 11 March, from 5.30-6.30 pm, Experimenta Recharge: 6th International Biennial of Media Art,  artists will gather at RMIT Gallery for an informal after work artist’s talk.

Cake Industries, (Dean Petersen and Jesse Stevens), Stuart McFarlane and Darrin Verhagen (with Toby Brodel), and Leisa Shelton will speak about their work in the exhibition. Please join us for this fascinating insight into the exhibition and artistic practice.

Experimenta Recharge ends on Saturday 21 February at White Night Melbourne. RMIT Gallery will be open from 7 pm to 7 am and we welcome everyone to come in and play with the works!

 

Cake Industries, Simulacrum 2014 3D printed portraits, frame, LED lights, motors 92 x 130 x 25 cm

Cake Industries, Simulacrum 2014
3D printed portraits, frame, LED lights, motors
92 x 130 x 25 cm

Cake Industries 

Dean Petersen and Jesse Stevens have worked under the collaborative pseudonym of Cake Industries since 2006. Their practice uses electro-mechanics and robotics to create anthropomorphic and autonomous objects that embrace retro-futurism.

Cake Industries’ Simulacrum reinstates the sense of occasion and significance of ageold
processes of portraiture that have become disposable in the digital world. The
artists invited 15 members of their community in Melbourne to have their portrait
taken using 3D scanning and printing technology, a process that involves careful and
time-consuming preparations by both the subjects and artists to ensure a successful
outcome.

Cake Industries, Simulacrum 2014 3D printed portraits, frame, LED lights, motors 92 x 130 x 25 cm

Cake Industries, Simulacrum 2014
3D printed portraits, frame, LED lights, motors
92 x 130 x 25 cm

In homage to the forgotten subjects of 19th century daguerreotype photographs, the
artists have chosen not to identify their subjects by name but by archetypes, including:
The Neighbour, The Mechanic, The Performer, The Illustrator, The Explorer, The Artist,
The Melbournian, The Cultural Ambassador, The Student, The Salesman, The
Costumier, The Designer, The Master Craftsman, The Music Agent and The Activist.

A series of small wire objects (many of them uninteresting): Object 2 2014 dimensions variable sound, light, code, plinth, black-out curtains, AkE (Audiokinetic Experiments) Lab RMIT, (((20Hz)))

A series of small wire objects (many of them uninteresting): Object 2
2014
dimensions variable
sound, light, code, plinth, black-out curtains,
AkE (Audiokinetic Experiments) Lab RMIT, (((20Hz)))

STUART MCFARLANE & DARRIN VERHAGEN with TOBY BRODEL

Stuart McFarlane and Darrin Verhagen explore how the simplest of objects may be transformed into something startling and mesmerising through the use of technology.

Verhagen and McFarlane are Melbourne based artists working across a variety of art and design disciplines. Their collaborative works emphasise emotion in relation to light, motion and narrative.

A series of small wire objects (many of them uninteresting): Object 2 2014 dimensions variable sound, light, code, plinth, black-out curtains, AkE (Audiokinetic Experiments) Lab RMIT, (((20Hz)))

A series of small wire objects (many of them uninteresting): Object 2
2014
dimensions variable
sound, light, code, plinth, black-out curtains,
AkE (Audiokinetic Experiments) Lab RMIT, (((20Hz)))

A series of small wire objects (many of them uninteresting) is concerned with
extending sound art composition into visual form through the use of an ordinary
sculptural object as a means of focusing audience attention. The artists explore how
the simplest of objects may be transformed into something startling and mesmerising
through the simultaneous use of sound, light and colour.

In this work, an open-source platform created by Stuart McFarlane and Darrin
Verhagen has been pushed to its limits through collaboration with audiovisual artist
and programmer, Toby Brodel. This second iteration of the work, ‘Object 2’, was
inspired by the sensory immersion of Panos Cosmato’s cult film Beyond the Black
Rainbow (2010).

LEISA SHELTON

LEISA SHELTON, (centre) meets with audiences in this participatory project at Experimenta Recharge

LEISA SHELTON, (centre) meets with audiences in this participatory project at Experimenta Recharge.

In Mapping Australian Media Art, Leisa Shelton has responded to a perceived lack of
knowledge about the history of media art in Australia. In this participatory project,
Shelton will sit at a table in the gallery inviting individuals to join her in a conversation
about significant encounters they have had with media art in Australia – to name the
artists that have made an impression on them and marked us as a culture.

Leisa Shelton, Mapping Australian Media Art 2014–16 performance, desk, chairs, archive cards, rubber stamps, stainless steel archive boxes, custom built plinth 90cm x 236cm x 38cm

Leisa Shelton, Mapping Australian Media Art 2014–16
performance, desk, chairs, archive cards, rubber stamps, stainless steel
archive boxes, custom built plinth
90cm x 236cm x 38cm

Notes from each conversation will be documented on an individual archive card, stamped
and signed, and placed in a handcrafted archive box. Individual cards will never be
displayed and will only ever be accessed by the artist. This process will be repeated at
each venue as Experimenta Recharge tours Australia during 2015–16, building a
serendipitous history of media art across Australia.

Leisa Shelton, Mapping Australian Media Art 2014–16 performance, desk, chairs, archive cards, rubber stamps, stainless steel archive boxes, custom built plinth 90cm x 236cm x 38cm

Leisa Shelton, Mapping Australian Media Art 2014–16
performance, desk, chairs, archive cards, rubber stamps, stainless steel
archive boxes, custom built plinth
90cm x 236cm x 38cm

While Mapping Australian Media Art honours the handmade and the individual, it
shifts significance beyond the tangible material produced, marking conversations,
collective remembering and the sharing of information as vital, conceptually rich
outcomes.

 

Leisa Shelton, Mapping Australian Media Art 2014–16 performance, desk, chairs, archive cards, rubber stamps, stainless steel archive boxes, custom built plinth 90cm x 236cm x 38cm

Leisa Shelton, Mapping Australian Media Art 2014–16
performance, desk, chairs, archive cards, rubber stamps, stainless steel
archive boxes, custom built plinth
90cm x 236cm x 38cm