• SCANZ 2015: water*peace

    SCANZ2015 Water and peace are two essential components to life and sustainability. Science today is providing overwhelming evidence of the interconnection of humans to the environment and other species, just as indigenous peoples have always known them to be. Join together with those from the arts, sciences and humanities, across cultural boundaries in January 2015. See more »

New Plymouth spatial interventions by Allan Giddy and team

Three artists resident in Sydney but originating from England and New Zealand will work for two weeks with the New Plymouth central city area to enliven it for one or two evenings prior to the SCANZ walking symposium.

Our goal will be to “play” the city spaces using light, sound and architecture to provide novel artistic responses to the SCANZ theme in the areas surrounding Huatoki Lane. The projects will be undertaken to trial technical delivery systems for art with an aim to better directly communicate with a populous outside the traditional white cube.

Geo – specific responses to the site will be played out in the public arena and the installation of the works becoming a series of public performances/events.

The Sydney team is keen to work with colleagues from Glasgow School of Art and renowned German artist and curator Christine Biehler in what we hope will be the most striking set of artistic interventions yet seen in Taranaki.

The plan is to spend a two week residency in 2015 scoping and “fitting” our installations to sites within the New Plymouth CBD before exhibiting work in a group display of public interventions.

This will be done after more than a year of preparations that began with a site visit by group convenor Allan Giddy in Nov 2013. During that visit potential sites were identified and the group was sent images and historical information to develop interest. Contact was also made with a Maui Gas platform in an attempt to get sets of used battery systems to power remote projects (without recourse to the electrical grid).

Water is central to the site (between St Aubyns and Ariki) and the works focus their visual and sonic interventions around these features. Upstream water connects to Mount Taranaki and the Land while downstream to the Sea and the oil fields. Topics include water rights, water management, tracing the creek, carbon fuels, renewables, pollution, boundaries and ownership.

In this context installation itself becomes a performative act with artists working within the site of an intended audience. In effect the show starts with the residency as the body of artists present in the community has an impact in itself and further connects the site to the community and its history. That said this group will be convened with an eye to visual impact on the opening night and observers should expect a quirky and diverse range of work to emerge.

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Water and Peace by Sharmila Samant

Public art should function within the public realm. Its critique negotiates a series of overlapping issues extending from urban hierarchies, diversity, to operations of power. As a cultural practitioner I prefer to address these questions through the agency of art in non-art realms and bring forth aspects of livability and sustainability within a community through user-centered strategies of participatory practice. Such a discourse necessarily engages with horizontal relations, of talking with someone rather than to (or at) them. It is in this way that praxis can be thought of as human potential, a process of opening, of transformation and mutual reinforcement.

For SCANZ2015, I propose to work within a community were water has a distinct significance either in terms of ancient/ indigenous knowledge, cultural values, metaphysical connections, or political/social contentions.

From my past experiences of working with commmunities and in new/ unfamiliar locations to come with a preconceived project when approaching a community that one is hoping to collaborate with is not always real or seems like a ‘top down approach’. I prefer a serendipitous process that will evolve with discussions between the community members, curators, and me that can shape the outcomes of the project in accordance to the thoughts of all involved through discourse while exploring ideas of exchange, accessibility and authorship.

To be in dialogue with others is to find meaning in one’s experience. Encounters of this kind envision a world, which is comprised of subjects rather than objects and such subjects are equally capable of being co-creative and making shared meanings.

Living in the world that we are, that is fast depleting its resources, interdependency and connectivity have become key issues for survival, but are regrettably virtual. ‘The next world war if fought will be over fresh potable water’ is an ominous prediction that is being reiterated by many a scholars and organisations. Privatization of water, change in patterns of land use, sustainable development and circumventing greed for a shared future, peace and respect for all living beings is what we as communities need to urgently address. The importance of water has a shared reverence across cultures. Civilisations have flourished around water bodies both historically and in contemporary times. In the Vedic philosophy water is one of the panchamahabhutas- the same laws of nature which govern the elements and their interactions in the world must necessarily govern the elements within our bodies.

‘Changing Currents’ (2006) was a multi media, cross- disciplinary event focusing on the various water related issues in the urban and rural environments in India. This was conceptualized and executed by Open Circle in collaboration with the Narmada Bachao Andolan and the National Alliance of Peoples Movement was a knowledge gathering project where politics of water were addressed ranging from pollution, conservation, irrigation, building of mega dams and their detrimental effects on environments and displacement of communities, coastal water management, fisheries, depleting of water tables by multinationals to water rights.

‘Mrigajal – The Mirage’ (2010) scrutinized the uses of place and site as they relate to questions of identity, memory and civic issues through the political paradigms of water. This intervention was part of ‘The Fluid City’, a public art project co-curated by the Mohile Parikh Center and ArtOxygen, which invited artists to respond to the paradoxical role that water plays in the city of Bombay/Mumbai, raising questions of excess, desire and denial of this precious natural resource and urban futures. I invited Dr. Amar Joshi, a water diviner and geologist, this intervention employed both divinatory and scientific techniques to locate existing water bodies that still lie under the city, now veiled by buildings, roads, slums and encroachments. There by interrogating the history of water bodies and its unequal distribution in the city while marking two contrasted sites: the elite area of Kala Ghoda (Fort) and the disadvantaged slum area, Annabhau Sathe Nagar, Mankhurd.

One of my recent projects ‘The Wasteland’ (2012), in Taranaki on a residency, outside my personal geographical context I had proposed to look at ancient mythologies and whakapapa (genealogies) evoked through water as a sacred element in Maoridom. Centred on the Waiwhakaiho river, I tried to pursue cross-cultural encounters with local kaumatua and tangata whenua to record personal relationships and histories that connect ancestry with landscape, comment on present-day constraining of traditional values and knowledge, and attempted to warn of impacts our actions have for our land and futures.

In the current project in Wales, I looked at the water as a means of provocation and the strength of dissent. The village of Capel Celyn in the Afon Tryweryn Valley, North Wales , was ( despite much resilient opposition) demolished then flooded to create a reservoir to supply Liverpool with water. This immense incitement in 1959-65 changed the emotional and political landscape of the Welsh people for ever. Many, stung by the betrayal of one of the last remaining heartlands of Welsh culture and Welsh language, reacted politically. The act roused nation wide protests and reassertion of Welsh identity following this welsh language was introduced in all schools in Wales the public signs were bilingual.

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Reverie by Kate Richards

I am proposing to undertake practice-led research into the potential for audiences to have a meditative experience – to find ‘peace’ – when viewing water.

Water is a universal metaphor for consciousness, perception and feeling. Perhaps because it comprises a large part of our human body, and is essential for life, water is not only fundamental to our actual existence, it also represents our inner lives. With its unique combination of constancy/ubiquity and infinite variance, water is a cypher for many layers of human experience.

During dreams, we use water to communicate our state of consciousness to ourselves. Many people will be familiar with the well documented metaphors that our unconscious uses to communicate our emotional state to our consciousness, through dream affects, scenarios and symbology. Clear shallow water represents a clear and unproblematised emotional state; pounding, relentless and dragging surf suggests we are finding times emotionally ‘rough’, a situation is dragging us down, and under; turbid, unappealing water might communicate that there are aspects of our current emotional state that are clouded, polluted or stagnant.

Metaphorically, water asserts itself in every culture as a symbol of abundance, transformation and depth potential, in the stories and shapes of water gods, goddesses and creatures of all kinds – some personifying the dangers of visiting ‘the depths’, others celebrating the bravery and spirit of those who do. Some – like Neptune of the western pantheon – represent both the beauty and intensity of grand illusion, and the crashing depths of dis-illusion.

Yet behind all these centuries of cross cultural symbology, myths and meta-narratives, lies the subtle but constant variance of water – influenced by turbidity, surface tension, light refraction and angle, amongst other things. These characteristics of variant invariance* make water a perfect medium for an exploration of “immersion”. I define “audience immersion” – a hot, over-used term – as that state that can potentially arise out of the absence of excessive variance of information. First, we know that while there is a threshold for stimulation, there is no threshold for perception. So, if people are exposed to a situation which is relatively free from constant stimulations arising out of difference (e.g. changes to intensity, pitch, dynamics), we can explore the extent to which variance in the ubiquity of water, has the potential for heightened perception in the absence of excessive stimulation. As James Gibson said – to perceive the world is to co-perceive oneself, so if one’s perception is of peace in the form of subtly changing water, then one’s co-perception of oneself would also be a sense of subtle change yet constancy.

During the residency I will explore these ideas; iterative with this research, I would love an opportunity to develop a video projection outcome to test and advance my ideas with the SCANZ audience.

* James J. Gibson – An Ecological Approach to Visual Perception, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates 1979-1986

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Ringbalen by Ali Sanderson and Ben Pederick

Uncle Major Sumner by the Coorong River

‘Uncle Major Sumner on the Coorong’ from ‘Ringbalen River Stories.’

Ringbalin – River Stories is a geo-located documentary that invites you on a journey along Australia’s great Murray Darling Rivers, with Aboriginal Elders from the oldest cultures on earth acting as your guides. It contains dozens of traditional and personal stories and takes the form of a film, an iPad/iPhone App, and website.

This story starts in 2010 during Australia’s worst drought in history. The Murray Darling River was dying. A group of Aboriginal nations united to try to save the river and the life that relied on it by performing the traditional Ringbalin ceremony.

It took them on a 2,300 km journey following the river system, and we captured this historic experience on film. We went along to film what happened. By the time they had finished dancing, the rain was falling, and what followed were the biggest floods on record.

At the SCANZ 2015 residency we would seek to create a geographical cycle of storytelling with local traditional owners and investigate extensions of our current successful work Ringbalin River Stories as an international layer of geolocated narrative and knowledge.

As a part of our residency project we want to take field trips to connect with local traditional owners and investigate their methods of story telling and collaborate to make content such as short films, audio stories and photo stories which we would hope could be presented in a variety of forums and platforms.

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Water People Power Project by Don Huner and Ana Terry

The Water People Power Project (WPPP) is a community based set of events centered around hui, exhibition, and workshop activities that facilitate access to information and hands-on experience in affordable home-built energy generation.

Aotearoa New Zealand is water, wind, and solar rich in potential energy, we pride ourselves as very independent peoples with the ability to innovate. However, we have become increasingly dependent on corporates for our most basic needs such as water and power supply. We are providing an opportunity to demonstrate and teach at a grass-roots level our individual capacity to harness power and claim back our independence. WPPP has been developed from a recognized community-level need to bridge the gap between technical knowledge available through the Internet, and accessible, affordable and culturally appropriate application of that knowledge.

Come and work alongside us to construct simple and affordable homebuilt power generation system while exploring the cultural and environmental implications of these activities. Materials used will be off-the-shelf from local hardware stores and scrap yards. It is intended that workshop participants will go away with a small scale working power generator for their own use, with the skills, confidence, and knowledge to be able to up-scale this to a larger size.

As an outcome of the hui and workshops, Number 8 Collective will create an artistic response in a sculptural form with autonomous energy generation using a possible combination of solar, water, wind and people power. It is proposed the sculptural form will consist of an interactive component to engage the participant in discussion. These conversations will center around the cultural and environmental responsibilities of our communities in relationship to our need to harness energy and resources from nature. The exact artistic response will be derived from conversations held at the hui and workshops.

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Water Bodies: Lorelei and Tāwhirimātea by Ilka Blue

Phrase of Place

Water Bodies: Lorelei and Tāwhirimātea uses as a web of water references to create a complex story between Mythological and Hydrological Cycles. The aim of the work is to give audiences an opportunity to engage peace as a body of water, a constantly cycling force in our world.

From spiritual water bodies such as Lorelei and Tāwhirimātea, to physical bodies of water like swamps, glaciers and oceans, water remains a constant in these multiple manifestations. Could there also be a constant ‘existence’ threading through the varying states of peace? It’s a question that invites a deeper perspective of peace, as adaptive, flexible and changing.

Inspired by Lee Mingwei’s ‘The Letter Writing Project’, and mixing Wagner’s ‘Ring Cycle’ with local Waiata, Water Bodies creates a participatory experience of ‘cycles’ that situate the audience in ‘the larger world of emotions in which we all participate’. In it’s physical form, the work is a life-size shell/ter for the endogenous/exogenous ‘self’.

This project offers an experience of:

• the ‘exogenous’ sight of words/ language/ poetry/ history/ science/ patterns
• the ‘endogenous’ immersion within a dark-protective-shell-like-space
• the feeling of ‘self’ fear/trust with the invitation to ‘speak’ their peace to the ‘story shell’ recorder
• opportunity to participate in connections between cultures and hydrological systems



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A River Runs Through Us by Ava Werner

Water reflects connections and is an essential element, without which life would not be possible. This connection I want to draw attention to because it is through this connection and understanding of our environmental crisis, that we might learn to work together to achieve a peace. Peace with nature and peace with each other as we are all interdependent on each other and the choices we make about our water supplies.

As water travels downstream from the melted runoff in the mountains it comes to different junctions along the way. Some are minor and uneventful and some are pivotal and challenging. These junctions mark areas of human intervention. The river picks up this activity and carries it on to the next junction. The water forever changed.

I will trace the water route of a selected river in New Zealand and find the significant intersections of change or invasive human/animal activity. Samples of the water will be collected at these junctions. The water will then be analyzed for its chemical properties. Once all the collections have been made the water from each junction will be put into glasses. These glasses will be labeled with their content. Those glasses will be displayed in an installation. The water from all the collections will be combined in one pitcher of water. Next to that pitcher will be an empty glass. Projected into the pitcher will be a video of the exhibition visitors.

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Water Links: active reflections by James Werner

Water Links uses locative media with audio and video capture. It allows the public to actively seek and participate in the art work, as it provides a place for their own creative input on issues of water and peace. The project will utilize locative media so that visitors can identify key locations within the larger event area. The participants can find some installation stations randomly, or use a GPS device with application interface to locate them all. Each physical location will be equipped with recording and projection devices and will allow visitors to record their perspectives on topics surrounding local water and peace concerns. Footage of participants will be edited in a final video piece for night time projection.

The work embraces the active participation of the community and offers the opportunity for reflection and creativity by visitors. During the two week residency we will learn details about the community and local history surrounding water and its impact. We would like to collaborate with communities in New Zealand. Each installation station will focus audience reflections on critical issues learned during the residency and in the exhibition.

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Lifeforce Water Elixir Generating Bowl by Tom Greenbaum

The Lifeforce Water Elixir Generating Bowl is a battery-powered Inner Peace Machine and sculpted art piece. The art work is to be set up on a table top sited along a river walkway.

The design incorporates a healing crystal, an etched-copper chime and a kiln-fused and slumped glass bowl. The glass bowl is held within a set of two gimbals actuated by two servos. The glass bowl holds pure spring water to be transformed into an elixir energized with lifeforce energy. The purpose of the servos and gimbals is to gently rock the bowl so that the spring water is swirled in a circular motion. A ring of 16 pure white LED lamps are arranged in a circle shining up into the bowl from the base.

The automated sequence of servos swirling the water in the bowl, the sounding of the chime and the illumination of the LED lights are controlled by a microprocessor. The programmed actions of the art piece take place within a coordinated ritual in which the audience participates.

The audience is asked to visualize Peace and to energetically charge the water with positive vibrations. The audience thereby empowers the transformation of the swirling water contained in the bowl into an Elixir of Peace. For the finale of the ceremony, the bowl is removed from the gimbals and taken down to the waterway where the water is poured into the flowing current. In this way, the Elixir of Peace spreads blessings to all of the surrounding area and to the entire Earth.

The Lifeforce Water Elixir Generating Bowl is organized and structured according to sacred geometry and the 5 elements system of the Mahabhuta. This Inner Peace Machine utilizes the elements of nature and the balancing cycles and rhythms of nature. Water is the vital essence of life, consciousness and contains the secret to ultimate peace.

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Water Resistance by Ricardo Del Farra

Water resistance is a series of sound/music works focusing on water, our environment and the search for peace, created by composers/artists from around the world.

An event focusing on peace, awareness, diversity, knowledge and understanding, having water and our environment as the key elements.

Acousmatic music and sound art for a peaceful listening.

A session to hear, to reflect, to feel, to exchange and to inspire actions as well. In an open air environment or a large hall, a series of electroacoustic pieces linking art, water and peace.

As a first draft for WATER RESISTANCE, some works are listed below as an example of the variety of approaches and styles of the pieces to be programmed, the overall compositional quality, and the origins of the composers/artists. It is not a final list of works. The program for SCANZ 2015 will include works by recognized artists from around the world; pieces created for the ‘art! ⋈ climate’ project, a collaboration between the Balance-Unbalance project and the Red Cross/Red Crescent Climate Centre; and probably pieces that will be created during 2014, specially for this event.
Agua by Antonio Russek (Mexico) – ‘art! ⋈ climate’ project –
Many Drops by Richard Garrett (UK) – ‘art! ⋈ climate’ project –
Dripsody by Hugh Le Caine (Canada) –
Electrohidrofonía by Damián Paul Espina (Argentina) – ‘art! ⋈ climate’ project –
Stati d’Acqua by David Monacchi (Italy) –
Riverrun by Barry Truax (Canada) –
- Between my Sky and your Water by Ricardo Dal Farra (Canada/Argentina) -

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  • About Intercreate

    Intercreate.org facilitates projects in the areas of art,science, technology and indigenous knowledge. Our main project is SCANZ, a biennial event that includes a hui-symposium, a two week group residency and an exhibition. Other recent projects include exhibitions in Istanbul, Rio de Janeiro and Albuquerque. Creative New Zealand, Western Institute of Technology at Taranaki (WITT), the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery and Puke Ariki are project partners.