Digitsed salmon from a model by Claire Brunet and collaborators

Digitized 3D Objects and Audio Signal Convergence by Claire Brunet, Susan Fryberg and Toby Gifford

Salmon computer model

Digitsed salmon from a model by Claire Brunet and collaborators

Recordings of water, specifically chosen to make audible water’s numinous quality, are modified through signal processing mechanisms that are derived from digitised 3D objects. These will be played back along a public waterway, through solar powered speakers, as part of the SCANZ temporary public art works section. Projections of 3D forms data using a portable power generator are linked to the concept of water and its sustainability, and supported by sound. A stretched white net will be used as a projection screen.

Through exploring the ways in which the data from the digitized objects and forms are transformed and translated from nature to code to signal processing mechanisms, we investigate the plural condition of the digital medium. The work explores both interactions with digital data impact on ar1ists’ perception and interaction with the natural environment and foster a plurality of creative approaches. From a research/creation experiential mode of inquiry we investigate the ways in which the digitalisation of spatial, temporal and sonic modalities, impacts on interdisciplinary artistic concepts.

The Project team comprises the following artists: Claire Brunet, sculptor working with 3D digital technology who is completing a PhD on the impact of 3d digital technology and technological environment on sculpture installation art; Susan Frykberg, a composer of electro/acoustic music who often combines feminist, spiritual and social ideas in her work, and Toby Gifford, a music technologist sound designer and acoustic musician who has completed his PhD in interactive music systems, will offer technical support. The project we propose for Water and/or Peace residency and temporary public work (residency with public exhibition project) presents a multidisciplinary approach to the ways in which artists and the audience adapt to a creative experience.

The project combines music and sculptural forms data inside a digital context where sound, space, time and materiality are explored through a digital medium. It addresses an ecological and trans-national discourse, referencing water as an essential element of life. Original recordings, images and 3D objects are sourced from the physical space and location of the three artists – Canada, New Zealand and Australia. Sonic material from recordings of waters will be modified through granular synthesis and digital signal processing, through data obtained from a digital representation of manipulated data forms.

A number of software platforms will be used for this including Max and Ableton Live. Water sounds, changed by the data obtained through scanned elements from nature, parallel the interrelationship of the fish and water. Solar powered speakers will be used to make audible the sonic material.

Image projection will include a digital representation of manipulated data of a salmon form. The fish is an iconic figure of Canadian marine life and is also present in New Zealand and Australia. It is a visual metaphor for the complexity of the living condition. As a way to express the paradoxical aspect of life, the fish species selected also symbolizes the strength of nature’s instinct for survival. On site access to a portable power generator will supply energy for the data projector, allowing projections of 3D forms in nature. A stretched white net will be used as a projection screen.

This sound/projection multimedia installation project will enable us to explore new ways of looking, inventing, imagining and expressing past, present and future perceptions and interactions witl1 tl1e world in which we live. The main focus of our work is nature, transformation and change, through which we address ecological issues via the theme of water.

England Expects

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.

A still from footage taken under the water surface in the Waiwhakaiho River.

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.

A yellow and green mandala with an orange centre.

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

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.

Fluid City

Fluid City by Charlotte Šunde and Alys Longley

Fluid City

Fluid City is a SCANZ 2015 project, shown here is the version at James Cook High School, Manurewa, 16 October 2014. Photo by James Hutchinson.

For the SCANZ 2015 residency, we propose to redevelop the Fluid City content in relation to the local environment and cultures of the Taranaki region. This will be developed in the form of a short water film (for the roving cinema); interviews and stories from locals including tangata whenua from Parihaka marae, farmers, school children, artists, musicians, poets and other residents; and fragments of creative writing or environmental sound (for the roving vessel of stories); and fresh water samples collected from streams and other significant waterways around the Taranaki district (for the roving laboratory). We intend to gather this material in concert with and informed by the local hosts of the SCANZ residency.

In addition, a new site-specific choreographic performance (to be performed in and around the Fluid City site) will be created to accompany the water vessels. We will work with our hosts to attract locals to participate in the dance performance work, guided by a dance teacher from the Fluid City collective. Fluid City creates a space where the general public can engage informatively with ideas and issues around water sustainability, and can also contribute their knowledge and questions through, for example, writing postcards for display or telling stories which are then recorded and added to an interactive audio installation.

Fluid City is an installation for diverse communities of all ages that brings alive issues of water sustainability through a roaming science lab, cinema and vessel of stories. The project is a mobile and transportable art-science collaboration that brings researchers into contact with members of the public in ways that are informative, interactive and inventive. This work invites visitors into embodied engagements, to discover through kinaesthetic, tactile, auditory, visual and interrelational modes. It takes the form of three cupboard-like vessels (that we refer to as ‘roving reservoirs’) towed by bicycles. Each of the three vessels has a unique emphasis.

One is a mini-cinema that invites the passers-by to come in close and peer through a diving mask into the vessel to view a film about water. The film is a three-minute animation featuring water in a variety of abstract and functional forms (the reservoir, mountain stream, flowing across the road, entering a stormwater drain, spilling into its sink/the harbour or ocean), including mundane, everyday uses (irrigating the garden, boiling peas, taking a shower). Few words are employed. The moving image has proven captivating to all ages.

A second vessel is a scientific mini-laboratory that enables participants to test water samples collected from local waterways. The reconstructed mobile laboratory houses a powerful microscope and a range of test tubes on display. Participants don white lab coats and select a test tube sample, identifying its source from an accompanying map of the collection sites in their local catchment. The audience will be guided by a qualified microbiologist who can explain what is typically invisible to the naked eye: the microbial worlds of their waterways as active, colourful, alive – explaining differences in water quality that distinguish a forested stream from a polluted waterway.

The third vessel provides a space for people to sit (on upturned buckets with cushions) and listen through headphones to different voices sharing a variety of stories, poems, songs and scientific explanations about water in its myriad forms. The audience is also invited to share their personal memories and concerns about water through writing or drawing on postcards (which we will design) and to then contribute this writing to a kind of washing line set up along the river-side space. This will create a tapestry of stories, issues, thoughts and pictures of water reflecting a multiplicity of meanings and ideas.

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.

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.

SCANZ2015 confirmed dates

Dates for SCANZ2015:water*peace have been confirmed, with participants arriving on the 17th of January 2015 and departing on February 2nd 2015.

The first night will be spent in Nga Motu New Plymouth so that participants can travel by van and car to Parihaka, leaving around 8am on Saturday the 18th. As a special feature of SCANZ 2015, we will be staying overnight. We return to the WITT campus on Sunday afternoon, for a first meet up at the WITT campus.

The final weekend of SCANZ occurs on the 31st of January and the 1st of February 2015 with participants departing on Monday the 2nd of February.


“Parihaka, depicted in this painting by George Clarendon Beale (1856–1939), was New Zealand’s largest Maori community by 1881. Its prophets attracted followers from around the country.” Source:http://www.nzhistory.net.nz/media/photo/parihaka-painting, (Ministry for Culture and Heritage). CC-BY-NC

SCANZ 2015:water*peace to begin at Parihaka

water*peace is set to commence at the settlement of Parihaka, on the 18th of January 2015. The 18th and 19th of each month are set aside by the Taranaki community, to celebrate their prophets of peace, Te Whiti o Rongomai and Tohu Kakahi.

SCANZ participants will join the community of Parihaka in this celebration. It will be noho marae, meaning the stay will be overnight. Kaumatua (elder) of Parihaka Ruakere Hond, has asked that the participants collectively present their thoughts and feelings on peace to the community on the Saturday night, a great honour.

Previously at SCANZ 2013, participants visited on both days. The noho marae presents a deepening of association. Some of the Aotearoa participants have iwi (tribe), hapu (sub-tribe) or whanau (family) links and are hoping to work with members of the community on projects.

The Parihaka story

It is the 5th of November 1881. “The Europeans are expecting a bloody battle. In the build-up to the invasion, some of the men have been sitting around the campfires boasting about who is going to shoot the first Maori.

On the other side, the 2000 people of Parihaka have been expecting the troops. In preparation, the women have baked 500 loaves of bread to share with their visitors.”

The events at Parihaka that fateful year, are a significant part of the history of Aotearoa New Zealand. The response of Maori under the guidance and leadership of Te Whiti o Rongomai and Tohu Kakahi has been inspirational to peace movements led by people such as Mahatma Ghandi and Martin Luther King Jr. The episode is also defining for local iwi (tribes), and is significant to many New Zealanders.

The words quoted above are from a piece of insightful writing by Virginia Winder from her article for Puke Ariki’s website. Thanks to Jo Tito for forwarding the link to Virginia’s article.


The Parihaka story
Parihaka painting from the Ministry of Culture and Heritage site
Te Whiti and Tohu on Te Ara, the encyclopedia of New Zealand pages on Maori prophets
Waitangi Tribunal report (includes Maori perspective of events)


Artists at Parihaka

SCANZ 2013:3rd nature residency artists and Parihaka hosts outside Te Raanui, a whare kai (house for eating). The visit to Parihaka set the 2013 residency off to an excellent beginning. In 2015, we will stay overnight.