Place, Ground, Practice.
St Paul Street Gallery, Auckland, New Zealand, December 1- 22, 2005 Gallery One
An Exhibition coinciding with the Cultural Futures conference.
Bandung Centre for New media (Indonesia),
Lisa Reihana ( Aotearoa New Zealand),
Rachael Rakena (Kai Tahu/Ngā Puhi/Aotearoa New Zealand),
Sarai Media Lab (Delhi, India),
Sriwhana Spong (Aotearoa New Zealand)
Co-curated by Amanda McDonald Crowley and Nova Paul
Place, Ground and Practice
The exhibition Place, Ground, Practice has been developed to coincide with the symposium Cultural Futures, and includes a range of work from artists participating in the event that reflects upon the discussions and dialogue Cultural Futures interrogates. The exhibition, like the conference, responds to important transformations that have reconfigured opportunities for arts and media practice in the Asia and Pacific regions in recent times.
The phenomenal increase in access to information and communication technologies internationally over the last two decades, and more recently across the Asia Pacific, has in some localities led to new media practices becoming well established and recognised as part of the art world. In other places these practices have yet to carve out their own cultural space. The artists included in this exhibition create technologically assisted spaces for storytelling. Some stories are deeply personal, some are political, all are culturally specific to the places where the stories originated, yet each resonates with the technologically mediated times in which we find ourselves.
The emergence of a so called ‘new media’ environment has exponentially increased the engagement of artists from these regions with the rest of the world. At the same time, it could be said that if there is a ‘new’ element in new media practice, it is perhaps a return to an art embedded in culture, using contemporary tools and investigating their impact on society. Each of the artists and artists’ groups in this exhibition make work that engages with and critiques the impact of technological development on contemporary cultural practice.
Artists around the world are engaged in a critical discussion on urban futures and technologically mediated moments, discussions that are infused by complex sociological and political debates. This exhibition includes the work of artists from New Zealand, Indonesia and India whose work is informed by these global conversations. That the artists also look inward and across the region for inspiration reflects a growing recognition that the Asia Pacific contains distinctive cultural concerns that are common to its members and that cultural value is not centered in Europe or North America.
This exhibition extends and fosters the understanding of New Zealand’s unique position in the Asia Pacific region through and in relation to new media and art practices. The works encompass an exploration of the spiritual, ethical and technological challenges that face us in the 21st Century. The artists variously ask us to explore spaces suffused with possibilities for engaging with a technologically mediated present, but inevitably caught up in the varied and complex pasts of various places close to home.
Amanda McDonald Crowley, November 2005