Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Art binge - Part 2 (of 2)

At the end of my last post I was looking at the Incinerator Gallery at Moonee Ponds.  At Screen Space I had been told that they had curated a video program at the Art Fair, including a video by Peter Daverington.  I had looked briefly at the videos at the Art Fair and not seen any that interested me, but I then realised that there were several video sessions and the one I would be interested in was on in the afternoon.  So I went back to the Art Fair.

Back to the Art Fair

I did see the Daverington video.  It starts off in a very abstract-geometric fashion and eventually introduces synthetic scenery (which seems to be a theme of today).  I have seen it before, but it was well worth a second look.

Presentation: most of the videos were shown on flat-panel displays with headphones; one was projected at a large scale with sound through speakers.  Unfortunately the sound for this video included quite loud synthetic noises meant to represent the clucking of a hen, which made it hard to hear any subtle sounds that might be coming through the headphones.

There was also a space set up as a proper theatrette, showing (in the afternoon) a video by Baden Pailthorpe  about drone warfare in Afghanistan.  Certainly the darker space, seats, a proper screen and multi-channel sound system made a difference (though one of the speakers had a problem).  The bare mountain scenery in Pailthorpe ’s video also appeared to be synthetic, but unlike the Piccinini piece the whole thing was an overt techno-fantasy about something that ought to be a techno-fantasy but is all too real.

Globelight at the Abbotsford Convent

The last instalment of my weekend art binge was a visit to Abbotsford Convent, in the opposite direction from Moonee Ponds (and a moderate hike from Victoria Park station).  By now it was dark, so I was able to see the various works to best advantage, especially the outdoor sculptures.

Outdoor sculpture by Sean Diamond


Among the outdoor works an  intriguing piece was a pendulum by James Tapscott, the organiser of the festival.  This was a globe that swung freely over a satellite dish,  The colour of the light inside the globe could be controlled and affected a sensor hidden in the dish, which controlled the generation of sounds.

Among the works inside buildings the most spectacular was Orb, a large disk with lights forming vertical stripes that turned on and off in various patterns.  There was a sonic component to this work also.

There were a couple of interesting video projection ideas.  One work had two projectors aimed at a considerable number of hanging gauze panels; not a new idea, but well done.  Another had what must have been a small screen at the bottom of a long triangular tube: looking down it produced a dazzling kaleidoscope effect.  Kaleidoscopes were a sub-theme of the weekend: apart from the Perpetual Light Machine there was a work in the Art Fair that made a similar use of mirrors, though it didn’t have a screen inside it.

A projection by Kate Geck
The last thing I saw was the audio-visual performance by Abre Ojos (Scott Baker).  This used three video projectors: as well as the main screen there were two more pointing at the ceiling showing a separate video feed, all being controlled in real time by Scott.

Globelight has another major component , a month-long exhibition at Anita Traverso Gallery in Richmond, which I had seen on an earlier visit to Melbourne.

On Sunday I went home!

Art organisations

My little art binge of a day and a bit sampled quite a few types of art organisation.  One high-end public gallery - ACCA.  One municipal gallery, with its brief to show local artists and to bring art from other places to the local populace  - Moonee Ponds Incinerator Gallery.  One very commercial Art Fair, though to its credit it did offer a bit of space to non-profits and the like.  One not-for-profit space, which I assume survives on grants and voluntary labour - Screen Space.  And one festival, which has come about largely because of the vision, energy and huge personal input of one person, James Tapscott – Globelight.

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