Opens Thursday August 28, 6 - 8pm
Hours open: Friday - Sunday 11am - 5pm, August 29 – September 14, 2014
Artists talk: Saturday 6 September at 3pm
The repetitions of the everyday have an unnoticeable - and even invisible – quality. What is the threshold of noticeability in a world of attention-seeking and attention deficit? How do we measure wonder in ordinary living? These experimental images made by an automatic device attached to a body-tripod register the perimeters of perception, using sensors to track daily movement and location. A psychogeographic mapping of the local, the images are made using a Narrative Clip, a wearable device that geo-tags and timecodes the images, uploading them to a server so they can be viewed on a phone or iPad. The process raises questions about the limits of privacy and the ethics of the image in its current metamorphoses.
Helen Grace is a filmmaker and new media producer based for several years in Hong Kong, where she set up an MA Program in Visual Culture Studies at Chinese University of Hong Kong. She recently returned to Australia after two years as Visiting Professor at National Central University, Taiwan on a (Taiwan) National Science Council Fellowship. She is the author of Culture, Aesthetics and Affect in Ubiquitous Media: The Prosaic Image, Routledge, 2014
The device & the process:
The exhibition consists of image sequences, arranged in 'scrolls' - a daily selection plus a caption over three months, like ‘proofs’ of daily activity - as well as maps of walking tracks and small screens of animated image sequences.
The Narrative Clip is a Swedish-designed, Taiwanese-manufactured device that picks up on what Microsoft's SenseCam started about ten years ago. Initially, such devices were tested in clinical trials to see if they could be helpful in enhancing memory in contexts of memory impairment (dementia, amnesia etc) but I was more interested in the everyday & in the aesthetic qualities of lo-tech images. I’d been doing research on camera phone pictures, lo-tech and ubiquitous media in Hong Kong & I pre-ordered the device, after a Kickstarter campaign in 2012.
I first became interested in 'life logging' tools when I was working with a team of architects in Hong Kong and we wanted to measure and visualise the 'rhythm' of public space in an old area of the city that we were studying, using photography & video with students. The area was in the path of major infrastructure developments (a new metro line, new expensive apartment complexes) & we wanted to register the impact of that, but we were interested in everyday life in this area - the patterns and rhythms of an enduring locality. Even though Hong Kong is a global city with everything changing all the time, for those who live in the city, there's a fragile permanence that's been maintained painstakingly at a very grass-roots level by the residents of the older areas. There weren't yet any devices like the Narrative Clip, so we couldn't use it, but when I moved to Taiwan I continued the interest in lo-tech devices. Taiwan has two-thirds of the world market in pure-play semiconductor fabrication & it's a global leader in optronics & photonics research, producing a big market share of plastic lenses, used in most everyday devices.
The Narrative Clip is much smaller than other similar devices (such as Autographer & Parashoot). It doesn't record sound or video, & because you have no idea when it is working, nor what it’s seeing, it's completely random and very Cagean. Sometimes the sensors misfire & this produces beautiful abstract images of machine noise, which represent a kind of 'temperature' of the device.
This current project involves daily use of the device either for a year, or until I lose the device or until it stops working - whichever event comes first. Each day I select one image, caption it & upload it to Facebook. The exhibition is a 'work-in-progress' of this overall process.
I started the project to observe everyday life in Australia after nearly eight years living in Asia & trying to figure out why everything has become so weird in this place I thought I knew.
Helen Grace, August 2014
Artist's talk 2pm Saturday 16 August - all welcome.
Conversation between Wendy Howard and Margaret Roberts in The Bronze Age at Articulate project space, Saturday 9 August 2014
In the beginning the whole focus was metal, but I think if I was really thinking about metal I would be thinking about it in its liquid state because that is what is so remarkable about metal - it can be melted and re-melted and its a liquid. But I certainly would not want to do any forging pouring or casting.
What I am really interested in is having something perfectly flat so its like it doesn't exist at all, its like a mathematical abstract of some kind, like a flat plane or a straight line between two points. So what I am trying to find is the smallest gesture to make that makes it absolutely become a real thing in the world rather than stay that abstract thing.
You're as mad as me. Why do you find that interesting? I don't know if I could say why.
When I do it I try to make a really simple action and everyone can see the simple action I made. So you can perfectly see a flat thing and a simple thing being done to it, but the end result is completely not that, it's like magic, its some kind of magic.
Is the magic somehow the physical world?
Yes it's something about the physical world, and suddenly you have these things that are floating and flying and doing this and doing that, its really fascinating. And suddenly you have a real physical relationship to them as well.
The materials have their own characteristics and limitations and language. Is that how they part of the physical world?
I am curious to think how far you can go, one step leads to another, how far you can go to still have that effect without having to do very much at all, so it is more and more transparent what you have done.
You make me remember the work you had at First Draft about 1990 of a flat sheet of metal sitting on a stand.
That was a cut out oval shape sitting on a musical stand, made out of cold rolled steel which is a lot more resistant that hot rolled. It was heavier than the metal used here.
Does this work come out of that First Draft work?
It's just obvious that I am really interested in making that flat thing do something which is almost like making it fly. In this case there is a lot of floating going on in both things, and it's interesting how similar it is to Brenda's works up on the Articulate upstairs wall—which are floating little shapes with lots of space between them
I don't know what to think about the fact that the whole idea came from archaeology but once you get into it, to have little relationship to it whatsoever.
So why did you go for the bronze age context?
The Bronze Age is open Friday - Sunday 11am - 5pm, 9 - 24 August.
An artist's talk is planned for Saturday 16 August at 2pm. All are welcome.
The Amesbury Archer was buried near Stonehenge in c. 2,500BC with rich burial goods. As well as gold earrings, copper knives, flint tools and wrist guards, a black cushion stone was buried with him, a vital metal working tool, that demonstrates how important metal working skills were regarded. Isotape analysis of his teeth shows that he was born far away in Central Europe.
The Uluburun shipwreck, a Bronze Age ship that was wrecked off the coast of Turkey c. 1,350BC, is remarkable evidence of travel and trade in raw materials in this era. There were 10 tonnes of copper ingots, 1 tonne of tin ingots, glass ingots, ivory, Mycenaean pottery and Baltic amber.
The more than 800 abstract rock carvings at Oppeby in Southern Sweden are uncharacteristic of Scandinavian rock art of the period. Instead of ships, chariots, animals and warriors, the carvings are abstract symbols whose meaning is undiscovered. Placed at a river mouth, a likely arrival and departure point for shipping expeditions, they would have conferred great status on the people and the leaders of this territory, linking them with other Bronze Age centres in the Mediterranean where writing was beginning to be used.
The Bronze Age Part 1: Travels is a site specific installation, an artist’s investigation into the iconography of the Bronze Age and the symbolic and transformative meanings of metal. It is a poetic engagement with the archaeological evidence in an attempt to understand a distant world.
The Bronze Age opens at Articulate project space on Friday 8 August 6-8pm and is open Friday - Sunday 11am - 5pm, 9 - 24 August.
An artist's talk is planned for Saturday 16 August at 2pm. All are welcome.