Ocean Imaginaries catalogue now available

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The Ocean Imaginaries catalogue featuring photos by Mark Ashkanasy and essays by professor John Finnigan FAA and curator Associate professor Linda Williams, RMIT School of Art.

Though inland far we be,
Our souls have sight of that immortal sea
Which brought us hither.

William Wordsworth Intimations of Immortality (1804)

Get your copy of the Ocean Imaginaries catalogue at RMIT Gallery – out now ($10) and featuring essays by Professor John Finnigan FAA, CSIRO Marine Atmospheric Research and ANU Research School of Biology, and Ocean Imaginaries curator Associate Professor Linda Williams.

Williams writes: “The Romantic image of the ocean as a potent, almost limitless source of energy has been contradicted recently by countervailing imagery of the slow violence of ocean pollution; this pollution not only represents a risk to human interests but also to a diverse range of endangered marine creatures. Consequently, while the vibrant imagery of wild, pristine oceans still persists in contemporary culture, it is now often displaced by an imagery of pollution, destruction and potential catastrophe.”

With stunning photos by Mark Ashkanazy of work by artists Anne Bevan, Emma Critchley and John Roach, Alejandro Durán, Simon Finn, Stephen Haley, Lynne Roberts-Goodwin, Chris Jordan, Sam Leach, Janet Laurence, Mariele Neudecker, Joel Rea, Dominic Redfern, Debbie Symons, Jason deCaires Taylor, teamLab, Guido van der Werve, Chris Wainwright, Lynette Wallworth and Josh Wodak.

Professor John Finnigan FAA writes “In this wonderful exhibition artists have taken patterns of ocean life that science has revealed and they have made us see them anew.  Through the creative tension they have built between science’s cold equations and their own potent reimaginings, they have taken us one more essential step towards the time when sustainability will inform both our political choices and our personal behaviour.”

The Ocean Imaginaries exhibition closes 1 July – don’t miss it.

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Vale Richard Toop: a force in our musical culture

Vale Richard Toop, who passed away on 19 June 2017. The world renowned musicologist played a pivotal role in encouraging the focus on a Sonic Art Collection as part of the RMIT Art Collection.

RMIT Gallery Director Suzanne Davies, who acknowledged Toop’s influence in the recent Ocean Imaginaries catalogue, said that Toop “opened our eyes, ears and hearts to New Music of the 20th century and beyond.”

“I am feeling bereft. The world is now a lesser place.”

Toop, who retired from the Sydney Conservatorium (University of Sydney) in 2010, spent his entire career in contact with some of Europe’s leading modernist composers, and is remembered by generations of students as an inspiring and generous teacher.

His publications include a book on Ligeti, a book of Stockhausen analyses, numerous analytical articles and book chapters, and several contributions to the Grove Dictionary of Music, including the entries on Ferneyhough and Stockhausen.

In 2011, as part of three exhibitions that explored music and spatial qualities in architecture, Davies invited Toop to give a lecture on the Greek-born composer Iannis Xenakis.

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RMIT Gallery Director Suzanne Davies introduces Richard Toop at his 2011 Gallery lecture on Xenakis: Music and Architecture.

Davies said Toop’s lecture on music and architecture furthered the dialogue in this area.

Toop spoke about the relationship between music and architecture in the second half of the 20th century, with particular reference to Xenakis, the seminal modernist composer who was also an architect and, during the 1950s, one of Le Corbusier’s right-hand men.

In his lecture, Toop said, “When Xenakis finally asked in 1954 to have an entire project entrusted to him, Le Corbusier immediately gave him the Convent project of La Tourette. This was a slightly ironic choice, given Xenakis’s implacable atheism, and Le Corbusier enjoyed referring jokingly to ‘Xenakis’s Convent’.

“It was at this time that Xenakis began work on what he was to regard as his first ‘real’ composition, Metastaseis. I should point out here one big difference between compositional and architectural projects. Composers work at different speeds, and if you have a day job, as Xenakis did, then you have much less time for composing. Even so, you would normally expect to dispatch a fairly short orchestral work, however novel, within a year, and indeed that was the case with Metastaseis. A building however, can’t really be regarded as finished until it is built, and that takes years. By the time the La Tourette convent was completed, in 1960, Xenakis had broken with Le Corbusier, and his music had moved in very different directions.”

After splitting with Le Corbusier, Xenakis went on to create many ‘Polytopes’, which combine music, architectural space and lighting in an entirely original manner. Toop included many musical and visual examples in his talk.

The well received lecture drew a large audience and the video remains one of the most popular on the RMIT Gallery YouTube channel.

“RMIT Gallery is a forum for exploring all areas of creative discourse; and architects, designers and musicians benefited greatly from this event,” Davies said.

 

 

 

 

Don’t miss out: Last weeks of Ocean Imaginaries

Ocean Imaginaries closes on 1 July. Don’t miss out on this exhibition which has captured the imagination of audiences. They have filled the visitor’s book with their heart-felt responses.

‘The whole exhibition is astounding!’, ‘Thought provoking’, ‘Wonderful’, ‘Blows your mind’, ‘What a magical place’ and ‘Moving, compelling and inspiring!’

Curated by Associate Professor Linda Williams, RMIT School of Art, this international exhibition showcases the work of 20 artists who provide complex responses to global oceans in our era.

Listen to curator Linda Williams talk about Ocean Imaginaries

One highlight is Lynette Wallworth’s powerfully evocative fulldome video work Coral, Rekindling Venus, shown for the first time in an art gallery. Audiences are transported to the mysterious realm of fluorescent coral reefs, and provided with a glimpse into a magnificent environment threatened by climate change.

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“Coral Rekindling Venus shows such awe inspiring beauty – how can we continue to pollute our oceans? I feel grateful to have viewed the exhibition but I feel also upset and angry and helpless about the situation…change has to happen. Thank you.”

Wallworth, who regularly attends the WEF, Davos as a Cultural Leader and mentors regularly at Sundance Labs, captivated a large audience at RMIT Gallery when she flew down from Sydney to speak of her own experience in how the arts can inspire action on climate change.

 

Number of the Machine – watch the video

RMIT Gallery debuted celebrated choreographer Antony Hamilton’s first ever work for an art gallery – Number of the Machine.

The performance based work, which ran for three weeks (19 May to 10 June) explored the complex relationship between humans and technology.

The time lapse video reveals how over four continuous hours each day, performers Melanie Lane and Amber McCartney laboriously assembled and disassembled a timber dwelling, moving it from one synthetic island to another.

Number of the Machine was created with the support of Darrin Verhagen, AkE Lab, City of Melbourne and Creative Victoria.

 

Under the dome: Immerse yourself in Coral, Rekindling Venus

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Audiences experience Coral, Rekindling Venus, under the dome at RMIT Gallery. Photo by Mark Ashkanasy, 2017.

As part of the major international exhibition Ocean Imaginaries at RMIT Gallery, Coral, Rekindling Venus, Australian artist/filmmaker Lynette Wallworth’s major work for fulldome digital planetariums, is being shown for the first time in an art gallery.

Celebrated for her use of interactive technologies to create immersive installations, Wallworth’s work is a frameless meditation on the fragility and fascinating beauty of coral, taking audiences into the mysterious realm of fluorescent coral reefs, bioluminescent sea creatures and rare marine life living in the oceans most threatened by climate change.

Coral: Rekindling Venus refers to the acute need for international collaboration on a scientific challenge of our own era: how to prevent our coral reefs from further erosion by climate change and other anthropogenic stresses.

Ocean Imaginaries curator Linda Williams explains: “For some years Wallworth has worked with Dr Anja Salih, a marine biologist specialising in coral fluorescence, a collaboration that has enabled the artist to show how corals filmed at night capture and emit light in radiant colours.

“In this sense, her work enacts a kind of biomimicry: as the coral evinces its resistance to erosion as it channels light, so the viewer is momentarily transported by brilliant light and colour into the oceanic world as a realm of wonder.”

Wallworth’s immersive installations and films reflect connections between people and the natural world. She is at the frontier of the use of digital domes to enable a fully immersive space where art, technology, science and beauty can converge.

“My intent is to leave the audience with a sense of wonder for the complexity of the coral community and a deep-felt longing to see it survive,” said Wallworth.

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Lynette Wallworth speaking to an audience at RMIT Gallery, with the fulldome video work Coral, Rekindling Venus, shown for the first time in an art gallery.

Wallworth regularly attends the WEF Davos as a Cultural Leader, and also mentors regularly at Sundance Labs.

Listen to the celebrated artist and TED Talk veteran talking about her work in this podcast of her floor talk at RMIT Gallery.

Part of CLIMARTE’s ART+CLIMATE=CHANGE 2017 – a festival of exhibitions and events harnessing the creative power of the Arts to inform, engage and inspire action on climate change.

Coral, Rekindling Venus
Lynette Wallworth’s immersive fulldome reef installation
Shown for the first time in an art gallery
Dates: 5 May – 1 July 2017
Times: Mon-Fri 11 am/ 5 pm/ Thurs 11 am – 7 pm/ Sat 12 noon – 5 pm
Venue: RMIT Gallery
Free – no bookings required

Kinetic sculpture explores tension between human and machine

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Number of the Machine, opening night performance, RMIT Gallery, 2017. Photo by Vicki Jones

Number of the Machine (19 May – 10 June) a compelling new performance-based work by celebrated choreographer Antony Hamilton at RMIT Gallery, explores the complex relationships between humans and technology.

In an age where Artificial Intelligence platforms are making inroads into both white collar and blue collar jobs, and climate issues are impacting on the most vulnerable in our communities as well as the environment, Number of the Machine is open to a range of interpretations and offers a powerful image of where we might be headed.

Audiences are invited to watch as over four continuous hours each day, performers Melanie Lane and Amber McCartney laboriously assemble and disassemble a timber dwelling from one synthetic island to the other.

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Number of the Machine, opening night performance, RMIT Gallery, 2017. Photo by Vicki Jones.

Number of the Machine is Antony’s first ever work for gallery spaces. “There is something about the very different spatial and narrative possibilities offered at RMIT Gallery that attracted me to presenting Number of the Machine in this environment,” Hamilton said.

Hamilton was invited by Darrin Verhagen, Director of RMIT’s Audiokinetic Experiments (AkE) Lab, to develop a work following a residency this year.

Verhagen, a senior lecturer in Media and Communication, said that the Audiokientic Experiments (AkE) Lab has facilitated a number of projects over the last three years which have been presented in various exhibitions at RMIT Gallery.

“Many of these projects, such as Object 2 (Experimenta Recharge 2014), Einsturzende Neubauten’s Klangbewegungmaschine (Geniale Diletanten 2015 – pictured below, left), blue|red: VIMS\SIMS (Morbis Artis, 2016 – pictured, below, right) explore the boundaries of what might be classified as fine art – philosophical challenges the gallery has been generous to platform.”

Antony Hamilton’s work takes the question to the next level – not only exploiting the choreography of two 6DOF Motion Simulators, but involving two live dancers in the installation.

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Number of the Machine exploits the choreography of two 6DOF Motion Simulators. Opening night performance, RMIT Gallery, 2017. Photo by Vicki Jones.

RMIT Gallery Director Suzanne Davies said that Hamilton’s kinetic work has a powerful resonance that complements the concurrent RMIT Gallery exhibition Ocean Imaginaries, which focuses on some of the contradictions and conflicted feelings raised by how the ocean is imagined in an age of environmental risk.

“We must not forget that climate issues impact on humanity – indeed, the most vulnerable in our communities, as well as the environment. Catastrophic environmental events will affect us all no matter how secure we think we are,” Davies said.

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(left to right) Antony Hamilton, Suzanne Davies and Darrin Verhagen, at the opening performance of ‘Number of the Machine’, standing in front of ‘Crossing the Rubicon, 2017’ a large scale photograph of an underwater sculpture by Jason Decaires Taylor that features in RMIT Gallery’s ‘Ocean Imaginaries’ exhibition.

Number of the Machine was created with the support of AkE Lab, City of Melbourne and Creative Victoria.

Kinetic sculpture performance by Antony Hamilton
Performers: Melanie Lane and Amber McCartney
Dates: 18 May – 10 June
Times: Mon-Sat 12.30-4.30 pm/ Thurs 2.30-6.30 pm
Venue: RMIT Gallery, Building 16, 344 Swanston Street, Melbourne.
Free – you are welcome to enter and leave at any time during the performance

 

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Antony Hamilton’s kinetic sculpture opens at RMIT Gallery

RMIT_NumberMachine_Evite_800pxIn an age where Artificial Intelligence platforms are making inroads into both white collar and blue collar jobs, and climate issues are impacting on the most vulnerable in our communities as well as the environment, Number of the Machine, a compelling new performance-based work exploring the complex relationships between humans and technology, opens tonight at 5 pm at RMIT Gallery.

Created by celebrated choreographer Antony Hamilton, Number of the Machine (19 May – 10 June) is open to a range of interpretations and offers a powerful image of where we might be headed.

Number of the Machine is Hamilton’s first ever work for gallery spaces.

Hamilton’s multi-award winning performances involve a sophisticated melding of movement, sound and visual design. He has worked extensively throughout Australia and overseas, predominantly with Chunky Move, Lucy Guerin Inc and Australian Dance Theatre (ADT), winning numerous awards including the prestigious Helpmann Award for Best Male Dancer (2009).

“There is something about the very different spatial and narrative possibilities offered at RMIT Gallery that attracted me to presenting Number of the Machine in this environment,” Hamilton said.

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Artistic Director Antony Hamilton watching a rehearsal of Number of the Machine at RMIT Gallery

In the work, which is performed continuously for four hours each day, two performers engage with a machine that reflects human intellect and biological physicality, but at the same time the task they pursue is seemingly futile and endless, and one that requires total physical activity at the expense of independent thought or creativity.

Combined with an ominous sound design by (((20hz))) that amplifies the rhythmic patterns in the two 6DOF (six degrees of freedom) motion simulators which activate the bodies, the machines exhibit a sentient quality that rivals the human body’s rank in the space.

“The idea is that people can stay as long as they want, watching the performance, and come and go throughout their visit to RMIT Gallery,” Hamilton said.

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Performers Melanie Lane and Amber McCartney in rehearsal for Number of the Machine at RMIT Gallery.

The original dance and motion simulator collaboration evolved through Hamilton’s residency with RMIT’s AkE Lab. The multidisciplinary research, teaching and learning laboratory uses motion simulators, 4D cinema seating, light and VR to explore relationships between sound, movement and vision.

The Audiokientic Experiments (AkE) Lab has facilitated a number of projects which have been presented in various exhibitions at RMIT Gallery. AkE’s associated artistic collective (((20hz))) has been supported by the gallery in presenting Object 2 (Experimenta Recharge 2014), Einsturzende Neubauten’s Klangbewegungmaschine (Geniale Diletanten 2015), blue|red: VIMS\SIMS (Morbis Artis, 2016) as well as Number of the Machine (2017).

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(((20hz)))’s Toby Brodel, from AkE (Audiokinetic Experiments) Lab RMIT, setting up the programming, system design and sound for Number of the Machine at RMIT Gallery.

Number of the Machine explores our entangled relationship with the constructed environment over countless millennia. The work invites audiences to watch as over four continuous hours each day, performers Melanie Lane and Amber McCartney laboriously assemble and disassemble a timber dwelling from one synthetic island to the other.

Hear Hamilton talk about Number of the Machine:

Hamilton’s kinetic work complements the concurrent RMIT Gallery exhibition Ocean Imaginaries which focuses on some of the contradictions and conflicted feelings raised by how the ocean is imagined in an age of environmental risk.

Daily performance times: 19 May – 10 June – Mondays-Saturdays 12.30-4.30pm and Thursdays 2.30-6.30pm.

Artistic Director Antony Hamilton, Programming, System Design and Sound (((20hz)))

Timber structure Justin Green Performers Melanie Lane and Amber McCartney

Sponsors Created with the support of Darrin Verhagen, AkE Lab, City of Melbourne and Creative Victoria.