RMIT Gallery’s White Night – the artists’ perspective

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Did you love White Night? The Age’s Deputy Arts editor Hannah Francis selected RMIT Gallery as one of her top Northside tips: “Morbis Artis – diseases of the arts. RMIT Gallery. This was a cracking group exhibition where art met science and wonderful things happened. The oozy projections out front made your hair curl. The lines were long and when I finally got in, there was another 40-minute wait for one of the exhibits.”

But what went on behind the scenes? Did the artists love the result as much? What about the process?

RMIT lecturer Dr Joshua Batty (of MindBuffer) was part of the team (along with digital artist Andy Thomas) who put on Ectoplasm, the audio reactive light display that enthralled the long – long long – queues outside RMIT Gallery on White Night.

“We had a great time putting together and delivering the show for this years white night,” said Josh. “It was the culmination of a four month collaboration with Andy Thomas and us (MindBufer) to really exploit the architectural features of the facade.

“We felt the piece was amplified this year with the inclusion of the sonic element (by RMIT Alumnus Mitchell Nordine) which really created a nice space for people to experience the projections.img_5402

“Overall we learned a lot, received great feedback from the public and the organisers of white night, and definitely see more projects in the future collaborating with Andy.

“We are looking forward to cutting the footage we got of the night so we can share the experience with those that couldn’t make it both locally and overseas. Thanks RMIT Gallery for the amazing opportunity!”img_5329

Next door to RMIT Gallery, the RMIT Storey Hall annex lit up with a compelling animation of Jazmina Cininas’ Girlie Werewolf Project. While MindBuffer were perched on the roof opposite Storey hall to project their light show, Dr Cininas, artist and RMIT printmaking lecturer, had the warmth and comfort of the table of the fast food outlet opposite, where the projector was set up.

Jazmina continues the story.

“My involvement in White Night took me into all sorts of unexpected and previously unexplored territories, not least of which was the first floor of Hungry Jacks, where the projector for What Big Teeth You Have was located.

The floor was closed to the public for the night making it a surreal, solitary oasis of calm (notwithstanding the ubiquitous MTV soundtrack from the mounted televisions) from which to witness the immediate projections and the heaving crowds below.

“The first (and only) projection test for my work had taken place a mere two weeks earlier, before the final form of the work could be determined, so I only had a rough idea of what to expect.control-booth2

“I can’t deny the thrill of witnessing my girlie werewolves emerging larger-than-life from the Storey Hall annex façade as the sun went down, and the enormous sense of relief in seeing that it was, indeed, working.

“There was also a delight in the annex’s unexpectedly ‘collaborative’ role in the work. Neither the projections nor the façade dominated the other, the two instead working together to create something entirely new.img_5325“The real magic for me began, however, when I saw a young girl standing on the wooden bench in front of the façade, posing for a photograph. She was the first of a number of members of the public – predominantly women – who made use of this photo opportunity.

“For me, it was touching to witness women (and occasional male) of all ages and all creeds physically embedding themselves within these images of female empowerment.

“The atmosphere — and lasting impression — was one of celebration, heightened by the carnivalesque hues of the annex façade.”

RMIT Gallery’s White Night Story – come on in!

The White Night is still young – it might be midnight, but RMIT Gallery is open for another 7 hours of White Night light projection and interactive bioart. Come on in!

From Girlie Werewolves to dazzling audio reactive light displays – from the time the doors opened at 7 pm, RMIT Gallery attracted a crowd to the far end of the Swanston Street White Night precinct – and made an bold impact.

Crowds were gathered before the doors opened and filled the last night of the Morbis Artis: Diseases of the Arts exhibition – queuing for up to 45 minutes to get into ((20hz))’s red/blue ‘nauseating’ sound-light artwork.

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Outside, the Storey Hall annex dazzled with printmaker Jazmina Cininas’ towering Girlie Werewolves offering a perfect photo opportunity as audiences jumped up on a bench and posed in the red-yellow-orange glow of the light projection.

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Crowds also patiently waited their turn to get inside RMIT Gallery, listening to Mitchell Nordine’s SciFi-organic sounds which ignited Andy Thomas’ digital forms that exploded over the austere Storey Hall facade.

Around the corner, Viral Screens, by Morbis Artis curators Sean Redmond and Darrin Verhagen, intrigued. There is plenty of time to enjoy the artworks – come and see us!

Behind the scenes – RMIT Gallery plans its Werewolf White Night event

Jazmina Cininas, What big teeth you have, projection mock-up, 2016.

Jazmina Cininas, What big teeth you have, projection mock-up, 2016.

RMIT alumnus and printmaking lecturer Dr Jazmina Cininas will present a bold new incarnation of her ongoing Girlie Werewolf Project on the Storey Hall annex next to RMIT Gallery during White Night Melbourne (18 February) from 7 pm to 7 am.

White Night is when the heart of the city comes alive, pulsating with people of all ages who surge through the streets, laneways and gardens over 12 hours to watch illuminations, installations and interactive events.

RMIT’s iconic building – stunningly renovated 21 years ago – will morph into an enormous canvas as Cininas’ light projection with bite transforms the surfaces. In a way, it is a homecoming of sorts for Cininas.

“When I commenced my Fine Art degree in 1992, the annex served as the printmaking studio and it was here that I first fell in love with the medium,” Cininas said.

RMIT Storey Hall annex, photo by Helen Rayment, RMIT Gallery

RMIT Storey Hall annex, photo by Helen Rayment, RMIT Gallery

“In the early nineteenth century, Hibernian Hall (now Storey Hall) was leased to the Women’s Political Association, whose purple, green and white flag flew from the rooftop, inspiring the colour scheme for the Ashton Raggatt McDougall renovation in 1995.”

Cininas said that cultural constructions of women as intrinsically lupine have existed throughout the centuries, whether as nurturing mothers (think Romulus and Remus), as ravening man-eaters, or as inherently demonic. Research into such representations inspired Cininas’ doctoral research and Girlie Werewolf  Project. Four her her prints are held in the RMIT University Art Collection.

Jazmina Cininas Maddalena was a True Marvel in her Day, 2011 Linocut on arches aquarelle hot press 300 gsm paper 39.8 x 40.4 cm (image), 51.5 x 49 cm (sheet) Purchased through the RMIT Art Fund, 2013 RMIT University Art Collection Accession no: RMIT.2013.47

Jazmina Cininas
Maddalena was a True Marvel in her Day, 2011
Linocut on arches aquarelle hot press 300 gsm paper
39.8 x 40.4 cm (image), 51.5 x 49 cm (sheet)
Purchased through the RMIT Art Fund, 2013
RMIT University Art Collection
Accession no: RMIT.2013.47

Cininas’ light projection What big teeth you have is very timely in the current political climate and has global as well as local resonance.

“Where you’ve seen the most female werewolves occur in popular culture have been at times when women-kind itself had been under attack,” Cininas explains.

“The female werewolf has been far more prevalent than her relatively modest profile suggests. We see this not just in the suffragette era but also—with rather more dire consequences—during the Early Modern witch-hunts.

“The nebulous figure of the female werewolf has encompassed different, often contradictory, identities over time, absorbing changing perceptions of women, wolves, morality and the monstrous throughout the centuries.

“The advent of menstrual lycanthropes and Red Riding Wolves is part of an ongoing evolution and revolution that borrows from the past in order to create new possibilities for imagining the female werewolf.”

Jazmina Cininas Christina sleeps on both sides of Grandma's bed, 2010 Linocut on paper 52.8 x 71.8 cm (image), 76.5 x 91.5 cm (sheet) Purchased through the RMIT Art Fund, 2013 RMIT University Art Collection Accession no: RMIT.2013.45

Jazmina Cininas
Christina sleeps on both sides of Grandma’s bed, 2010
Linocut on paper
52.8 x 71.8 cm (image), 76.5 x 91.5 cm (sheet)
Purchased through the RMIT Art Fund, 2013
RMIT University Art Collection
Accession no: RMIT.2013.45

The RMIT Gallery light projection for White Night Melbourne 2017 is part of this ongoing ‘evolution and revolution’. Cininas said her images of female werewolves would provide a strong feminist statement in the light of women’s Take Back the Night initiatives as they glare down larger-than-life onto the audience, like sentinels.

“These Girlie Werewolves are going to be three stories high, and say, don’t you dare mess with me!”

This is Cininas’ first foray into light projection, and she has been working closely with an animator and technical team to translate her striking artwork of female werewolves, some of which are represented in the RMIT University Art Collection.

“Generally digital artists start with the building first and then decide what can they can do to animate the building,” Cininas said.

“Whereas with my project, the challenge is how to make these images that originated as prints work with the building, particularly with the distinctive façade of the Storey Hall annex which in turn distorts the faces of the werewolves. I want to really engage with the building and animate it in some way that makes sense with the images as well.”

Jazmina Cininas, light projection test on RMIT Storey Hall, photo by Helen Rayment, RMIT Gallery

Jazmina Cininas light projection test for ‘What big teeth you have’, RMIT Storey Hall annex. Photo by Helen Rayment, RMIT Gallery

One of the challenges Cininas faces is recreating her lupine ladies will loom billboard size over Swanston Street.

“Size is one of the technical challenges that I’m presented with. As a printmaker, I know if I’ve got to print something of that size, the DPI has got to be enormous. But is it the same for projection and what happens when you project film? Can you project normal film onto that? Can you use normal film software? So these are all of the grey areas that are outside my area of expertise, and that’s where, you know, I have other people to help me out.”

It’s going to be fabulous! Come and check it out on White Night. Oh – and for the record, Jazmina Cininas is not a werewolf.
What Big Teeth You Have

When: 7pm Saturday 18 February to 7am Sunday 19 February
What: Girlie Werewolf Project by Jazmina Cininas
Where: Storey Hall annex, 342 Swanston Street Melbourne.

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Expanding print panel discussion: what next for print?

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Performprint, is a collective featuring two artists and an anonymous skateboarder, takes printmaking off the walls and out of the gallery. Photo by Tobias Titz.

Using the premise of the matrix, from which all prints emanate, the RMIT printmaking exhibition Out of the Matrix at RMIT Gallery (6 May-11 June) invites viewers to explore new ways of thinking about printmaking.

Join printmakers Jazmina Cininas, Joel Gailer, Bridget Hillebrand, Clare Humphries and  Andrew Tetzlaff on Thursday 12 May, 5.30-6.30 pm as they discuss what it means as an artist to be print informed, and how they use both analogue and digital techniques in their work, and ponder the nature and future of printmaking.

What: The expanding print – panel discussion

When: Thursday 12 May, 5.30-6.30 pm

Where: Green Brain RMIT, Storey Hall, Level 7, 344 Swanston Street, Melbourne. (NOTE: we have moved the event next door from RMIT Gallery due to size of the audience and restrictions of gallery space).

Bookings: free – register here for seating.

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Andrew Tetzlaff with his work Yarra (suspended), 2015. Inkjet fabric print.

RMIT University has a long tradition of pushing the boundaries of printmaking, and this exciting new exhibition at RMIT Gallery brings together a group of artists who activate an expanded understanding of print practice, and who all have a connection to the RMIT printmaking studio either as staff or alumni.

With 2016 declared ‘the year of print’ in celebration of the Print Council of Australia’s 50th anniversary, Out of the Matrix focuses the spotlight firmly on the outstanding achievements of RMIT printmakers over the past 65 years, and their current agency within the wider print community.

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Clare Humphries, installing her work What remains, what returns, 2016. in Out of the Matrix at RMIT Gallery.

About the panel

CHAIR: Jazmina Cininas’s technically demanding reduction linocuts of female werewolves have been exhibited extensively both nationally and internationally. The unconventional portraits feature in ABCTV’s Re-Enchantment documentary project and can be found in many major Australian public collections. Jazmina completed her PhD project The Girlie Werewolf Hall of Fame in 2014.

Joel Gailer’s work directs its focus to the mass produced and commercial world of print and copy-based technologies. Highlighting our excessive and compliant consumption of printed media his prints are a light-hearted reverence for printmaking and its relationship to mass production, media and print processes. Gailer’s practice is extended through the collaborative development Performprint.

Bridget Hillebrand is completing her practice-based PhD at Monash University. She has a Master Degree in Fine Art, RMIT University where she lectures in the Print Imaging Practice Studio at the School of Art. She has won a number of printmaking awards and is represented in numerous collections in Australia and overseas.

Clare Humphries current practice explores objects of the deceased and notions of materiality within rituals of bereavement. She is a lecturer in Drawing and Printmedia at the Victorian College of the Arts and has work represented in major public collections including the National Gallery of Australia.

Andrew Tetzlaff is a Melbourne-based artist, curator and academic. His practice considers the felt bodily encounter of matter, phenomena and site—specifically focusing on ways in which material objects can reveal or allude to intangible forces. Recent projects include: 2015 – The Door in the Wall, Yarra (suspended), CONCRETE POST 3 and Tomorrow Never Dies; and 2014 – Situations and Displace.

 

 

 

Art Against the Grain: The RMIT Collection pops up in the 700s Arts Festival from 13 August

RMIT Gallery Collections Coordinator Jon Buckingham with an RMIT student in the Swanston Street library, in front of Juan Ford’s work Degenerator, 2013, oil on linen, 180 x 240cm. Photo Evelyn Tsitas

RMIT Gallery Collections Coordinator Jon Buckingham with an RMIT student in the Swanston Street library, in front of Juan Ford’s work Degenerator, 2013, oil on linen, 180 x 240cm. Photos by Evelyn Tsitas

RMIT Gallery cordially invites you to Art Against the Grain, part of the RMIT Library’s 700s Festival, featuring a pop up exhibition of selected works from the RMIT University Art Collection, and Library Returns, a performance by Mick Douglas (curator/artist of upcoming RMIT Gallery exhibition Performing Mobilities opening 25 September).

700s Arts Festival at RMIT University Library 
Celebrating our arts, design and media collections with exhibitions, presentations and workshops.
13 August – 25 September

Opening Thursday 13 August 
6.00 pm-7.30 pm

Official proceedings will begin at 6 pm with a keynote speech from Professor Paul Gough on The Art of Browsing (and the Browsing of Art) and will be followed by a program of performances:

  • Mick Douglas, curator of the upcoming RMIT Gallery exhibition Performing Mobilities, performing Library Returns.
  • Literary art band, Baron Von Choice (featuring Martine von Choice on book, Jenelle von Choice on drums, Karen von Choice on bass and Kim von Choice on synth-wall) performing to a sweet synthetic beat, with “cringe-worthy words charting the course between poignant smut and the teenage ego.”

Location:
Swanston Library
RMIT
Building 8, Level 5
360 Swanston St
Melbourne, Victoria 3000

BEHIND THE SCENES: creating a pop up exhibition from the RMIT Art Collection

set up compositeA defiant protest against oppression, issues of social justice, environmentalism and power, and displacement and identity through the lens of art. These are the subjects explored in Art Against the Grain, a pop up exhibition of works from the RMIT University Art Collection, curated as part of RMIT Library’s 700s Festival.

From August 13, Swanston Library will host exhibitions, talks and a series of workshops to celebrate our arts book, journal and DVD collection. This collection is classified within the 700s of the Dewey Decimal System. Swanston Library’s “700s” are recognised for their strength, diversity and as an inspirational browsing collection. They are now the largest collection held on-site at Swanston Library.

As part of the Festival, Art Against the Grain  will enable students to enjoy being surrounded by works from both modern and contemporary Australian and international artists, including John Brack, Noel Counihan, Jazmina Cininas, Juan Ford, Maria Kozic, Trevor Nickolls, Polixeni Papapetrou and Antoni Tápies – many of whom have been staff or alumni of RMIT.

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According to the exhibition curator, RMIT Gallery Collections Coordinator Jon Buckingham, “art is a tool for understanding the problems of society. While we might wish it could, art cannot change the world. What it can do is help us realise that change is possible. ”

As part of the Festival, books from the 700s section that relate to the artists and works will be available to browse through, illustrating the abiding connection between the Library and Gallery collections. Many of the works on display are by RMIT staff and alumni, and the University’s ongoing commitment to Australia’s cultural history.

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RMIT Gallery is currently closed for essential building work and will reopen on Friday 25 September to the public with two new exhibitions, Performing Mobilities and Power to the People!