This interactive installation comprises a darkened circular room with a large circular dish/screen upon the floor, with multi-layer imagery of ultra-close up images of organic materials gliding across it, disappearing into the darkness. On the far wall another smaller oval dish has a series of diffused moving lights playing across it, accompanied by the sound of gently whirring motors. Each of these 3D-printed robotic light assemblies has organic materials mounted within its barrel, and through which light must pass, before it plays on the dish, causing complex, diffused revolving patterns. The sound track that travels around the perimeter of the room presents a mixture of found and processed nocturnal sounds of the South-Central Queensland/Australian bush at night, recorded during a time of seasonal change. Audience movements (disturbances) within the space are sensed and cause subtle changes in the video mixing, and in the sound mix’s layering and panning, and in the pace of the robotic motors, all of which are computer controlled.
By drawing inspiration from the subtle transitions between what Europeans once named ‘Summer’ and ‘Autumn’ and the multiple seasons recognised by indigenous cultures, and by including audience ‘disturbances’ within the work, Seasonal creates a compelling environment that wraps audiences in luscious, yet ominous atmospheres beyond sight and hearing. By amplifying and shining light upon a myriad of mysterious lives lived in blackness, the work presents a sensuous, deep engagement with nocturnal seasonal forms: whilst hinting at a far less comforting background increasingly framed by anthropogenic climate change.
1: Solo exhibition, Over Many Horizons, UTS Art Gallery, Ultimo, Sydney, (An official event of National Science Week), Aug 3rd- Sept 28th 2016, Mon-Fri 12-6pm, Sat. 12-4pm. (Opening 6-8pm, August 2nd, 2016)
2: Solo exhibition, The Mesh, Stegmann Gallery, Sasol Library, UFS, Bloemfontein, South Africa, Jul 17th- Aug 11th, 2017, (An official event of Vrystaat Kunstefees/Arts Festival/Tsa-Botjhaba), (Opening 8pm, July 17th, 2017)
Keith Armstrong (Artistic director), Lawrence English (Co-Director), Luke Lickfold (MaxMSP Design)
Australia Council For The Arts, UTS Gallery, Curated by Tania Creighton and Eleanor Zeichner, QUT Creative Industries, National Science Week 2016, Sydney Science Week 2016, Sydney Design 2016, UTS Institute for Sustainable Futures, Programme for Innovation in Artform Development (PIAD), Vrystaat Kunstefees/Arts Festival/Tsa-Botjhaba, Angela De Jesus, Johannes Stegmann Art Gallery, University of the Free State, South Africa, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
This project has been kindly assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body. Keith Armstrong is supported by a part time senior research role at QUT Creative Industries.
Seasonal was part of a long term research project with outcomes produced both in Australia and internationally, which aimed to create media works that could draw attention to that which we will lose when biodiverse worlds disappear – what biologist Robert M. Pyle called the ‘extinction of human experience’. The works were also informed by the deep scientific and practical understandings of landscape-wide seasonal change by collaborator Dr. Peggy Eby, our collaborating Behavioural Ecologist who has longstanding expertise in the nectar and pollen of flowering native eucalypts favoured by Australian flying foxes.
By tapping into the deeply interlocking seasonal cycles of environments that are themselves intimately linked with social, geographical & political concerns, participating audiences become challenged to see the night, their locality & ecologies in new ways, extending their personal limits of perception, imagery & comprehension.
Seasonal seeks to embody both the risks of seasonal disturbance and the need to empower local ‘change agents’ to develop sustainable lifestyles that work with and for the future. Seasonal is therefore both an experiential artwork designed for galleries and festivals and a framing device for ‘Re-Futuring practices.