After a slow start we managed to get to the sympoium for the second panel titled Augmented memory and place telling chaired by Ted Whitaker.

Dan James is an artist and VJ (Noir Desir), who has a long history of live measure performance. Lots of mixing of samples of pop culture audio and video, scratches and bass. Dan performed last night at the opening. He is also a DJ at techno parties.

Miriam Ross is a lecturer in media studies from the Victoria University of Wellington, where she focuses on urban landscape in 3D, in particular stereoscopic 3D. Stereoscopy goes back to the 1830s, e.g. Wheatstone’s Stereoscope 1838. Marketed as spectacular vistas as they were 3D and the viewer could be transported to the place and have a ‘real’ experience.

Miriam Ross, Urban landscapes in 3D: spectacular and realist views
Miriam Ross, Urban landscapes in 3D: spectacular and realist views

Judith Robinson, is a postgrad architecture student focusing on remnant architecture. The Tiki in Architecture, big in the 1950s and there is a recent resurgenct. Interested in the past of the tiki, where this expression of threat has changed to a smile. They exist in 6 part of architecture: gables, peak figures; house posts; doorways, canoe prows; gateways, fences and boundary markers. The tikis claimed by Europeans in the 1820s are the earliest remains now as the they were taken to Europe and the remaining ones where burnt by missionaries.

Judith Robinson, Tiki in Architecture
Judith Robinson, Tiki in Architecture

Kedron Parker and Bruce McNaught’s project The Wet Index focuses on water as the canvas and the topic. The focus is on storm water and water that comes form the sky.They ask a number of questions: Can water be an indirect shortcut, and where does it lead us to? In nature, or in the city, what emotional channel does it open. Can it be an indirect shortcut to memories, awareness, honesty? I am reminded of the film Water : The Great Mystery that was shared with my by Yorta Yorta elder Sharon Atkinson. They will be creating a water curtain, which will also be a surface of projections and viewers can walk up to it and see their image reflected on the curtain.

The third panel was titled Revealing Layers, and chaired by Caro McCaw (Academic Leader Communication, School of Design, Otago Polytechnic).

The first presenter, Andrea Selwood discussed her project Raising the creek: reconnecting the flow, which is an artwork response to community art project. In short she creates art acknowledging the environmental change of an area. The project is a response to people and place, acknowledging that a sense of belonging takes time. The project looks at the re-emergence of the creek in the Houghton Valley and the resilience of the community. Some of the initiatives included clearing the springs, meeting with council. Andrea’s artwork is quite beautiful, using topographical map imagery and video to create a rich narrative of the land.

Andrea Selwood, Flow Chart
Andrea Selwood, Flow Chart

Taarati Taiaroa talked about her collaborative project Make the Park where she has been working with Sarah Smuts-Kennedy. The focus of the project is on the difference between public and private space. When is a view public or private? Taarati questioned the complexity of issues related to privacy when considering Google Street View in this context. One of the ways they gathered information was by looking at urban environments and they tried to access rooftops of buildings. The project that was conceived Urban canopy project is a series of community and public based garden projects, some of which focus on bee keeping and the idea of pollination. A very interesting a thought provoking project.

Chris Berthelsen, Making Friends: Becoming Real and Mythical Animals as a Research Lens. Tokyo Tanuki real and imagined creature. The project Making Friends is realtime research, storytelling and prank. It explores how we might interact with new people in urban environments without mobile devices. In Tokyo, a mythic shapeshifting animal (Tokyo Tanuki) reaches out to human inhabitants with simple props and a spirit of generosity. This project looks like a lot of fun and although Chris says he is not interested in being a performance artist or interacting with people. I disagree, as what he is doing is highly engaging and playful and it is difficult not to see this work as a form of performance.

Chris Berthelsen, Making Friends: Becoming Real and Mythical Animals as a Research Lens
Chris Berthelsen, Making Friends: Becoming Real and Mythical Animals as a Research Lens

Then there was a workshop by Birgit Bachler titled Big Data Bastelstunde. We were not able to participate in this workshop, but I hope to follow up with Birgit in the future and talk about her work. I did get a chance to see some of her projects on Sunday night after the official symposium closed. We had a great get together at artist Raewyn Turner’s house which ended up being a very social and fun series of presentations by people at the dinner. Martin Drury and I even showed our collaborative project Geokult Travel and talked about our other obsession – travel.

Birgit Bachler shows us creative ways with the Big Data Bastestunde
Birgit Bachler shows us creative ways with the Big Data Bastestunde

Anyway, back to Birgit, her workshop looked at the creation of wallpaper from code. Here is the synopsis:

Big Data Bastelstunde (“Big Data Craft Hour”) is a one hour workshop exploring the art of generating wall paper patterns from open data sets.

Birgit is an artist and coder with a background in information design states. She finds it quite appalling that wallpaper nowadays does not carry any deeper layer of meaning, and is solely being designed for decorative purposes. Her Big Data Wall Fillers are an attempt to make abstract datasets more accessible for domestic use, by processing them into decorative wall paper.

Birgit will bring datasets she has worked with and invites participants to bring their own datasets. During the workshop will introduce ways to use the programming environment Processing to render abstract spreadsheets into nifty patterns for home decor.

I think I might ask Birgit if she has some notes to share about Processing as I would love to know how to do some stuff with this program.

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