Tag Archives: Art

Antarctica project: editing begins

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The wall of my MDes office is slowly being taken over by small prints from the Antarctica: Sixty Shades of White project. It represents a tiny proportion of the 1TB of data, stills and video I collected while on The Ice in October. It is still very early days but at least five possible collections/projects are emerging … this will keep me going for years!

Sometimes Antarctica felt like a different planet…

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As this photo of Warren on the sea ice at Cape Evans illustrates, Antarctica can feel unlike anywhere else on the planet at times. When I saw him in all his survival gear casting this massive shadow in the midnight sun I instantly thought of the photos of the astronauts on the moon (thanks NASA for making them public btw). Two harsh environments where man goes to extraordinary lengths to survive – it was about -20˚c when I took this.

The dark “landmass” on the right is in fact an iceberg trapped in the frozen sea-ice.

Kermadecs exhibition closes

After five years, 20 venues around New Zealand and the Pacific and the generation of a huge body of work the Kermadec: Lines in the Ocean exhibition has closed for the last time.

It is no exaggeration to say it has been a life changing experience.

Of course the opportunity to go to such a remote and pristine place was outstanding. Thanks to the NZ Navy for that (and huge up for you work with the earthquake this week too!)

I have meet, worked with and become good friends with some of the top artists, environmentalists and scientists in the country. It has pushed me to new creative heights and opened doors for future projects. We have been interviewed, delivered talks and worked with school groups.

Of course the most significant achievement of the project was to assist in getting the Kermadec region in the public and government spotlight. We are now so close with the Kermadec / Rangitahua Ocean Sanctuary under debate at the moment. We can only hope that common sense prevails and that the truely global issues we face eclipse short term selfish thinking of some and we can hold our heads high knowing that we are taking action for future generations. We need to proudly bear the weight of Kaitiakitanga.

On Sunday a good proportion of the artists got together along with Pātaka Director Reuben Friend and Marama Fox MP at Aratoi in Masterton to discuss the work and Sanctuary before formally closing the exhibition. Photos Bob Zuur.

Thanks to all the organisations that made it possible: PEW, NZ Navy, all the galleries, Insight Creative and Massey University, College of Creative Arts to name a few.

The biggest thanks possible to my fellow artists (Phil Dadson, Bruce Foster, Fiona Hall, Gregory O’Brien, John Pule, John Reynolds, Elizabeth Thomson, Robin White) and the powerhouse Pew team of Amelia Connell and the unstoppable Bronwyn Golder.

Thank you for your friendship and the collective experience.

Weddell Seal in Antarctica

A real highlight of our expedition to Antarctica was camping out on the ice with a team of scientists/divers at Cape Evens. And a highlight of that highlight was when we dropped a GoPro down one of the dive holes to get a glimpse of the world under the 2m thick sea ice.

Little did I know that seconds before I pulled the camera up a Weddell Seal cruised by to check out the rope (this footage has been edited because it sat on the bottom doing very little for a while).

Earlier that day Warren had dropped a hydrophone down the hole to reveal the constant chatter of the seals – wait until you hear what he captured! The background audio on this pales in comparison.

The divers cut a hole through the ice using a “heat drill” and park a modified shipping container over the hole to give them a sheltered work area.

Weddell Seals are now my favourite animal!

Kermadec panel discussion at Aratoi

Please join us for the final venue closing ceremony for Kermadec : Lines in the Ocean
13 November 2016, 2 – 4pm at Aratoi

There will be a panel discussion featuring: Marama Fox MP, Dame Robin White, Gregory O’Brien, Pātaka Director Reuben Friend, Elizabeth Thomson, and Jason O’Hara

Moderated by Shelley Campbell of the Sir Peter Blake Trust.

Aratoi, Wairarapa Museum of Art and History
Cnr Bruce and Dixon St, Masterton .

www.aratoi.org.nz/

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Packing for Antarctica

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After three days of planning, weighing, rationalising and packing our gear is just sneaking in under the 25.5kg weight limit for flying to Scott Base in Antarctica. Not everything has made the final cut but most has. A huge proportion of this mountain is batteries because the life of batteries plummets dramatically in such cold conditions.

Interview with Anne Noble

Ok … So the Collage of Creative Arts, at Massey University is a busy place, full of talented people doing amazing projects and that means sometimes you miss out on talking to the people you work with … that’s the excuse I’m going to use because it wasn’t until I stumbled upon this interview with my fellow CoCAnut Anne Noble (Distinguished Professor Anne Noble to be correct) that I really got some great insights into her work and realised that we have similar thoughts particularly on the environment, science and process.

We really need to have that coffee.

Bad-ass looking BMPCC goes to The Ice

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After much research I have opted to take a Black Magic Pocket Cinema Camera as my principal video camera. Although it shoots at a maximum resolution of 1080p it records in RAW and ProRes formats with a very wide (13 stops) dynamic range. It’s tiny form factor will suit a “run and gun” style of documentary while still being a very robust unit in a Camtree Cage. It’s two big weaknesses are it’s sound quality and battery life. I’m planning to overcome these issues with an external mic going through an A Box preamp and the primary audio being covered in a separate Zoom Recorder. As for batteries … well I’m bringing heaps for a start but also planning to use an external pack which I can even wear under my jacket to keep warm if I need to. Another plus of the BMPCC is the ability for me to use Nikon lenses on it via the very impressive Metabones Speed Converter. It even uses the same battery as my Nikon Coolpix A which will permanently travel with me as a pocket camera.

Stills (and backup video) will be primarily covered by my old faithful Nikon D800 – also fitted with an external battery pack. POV and underwater shots will be covered by GoPro Hero 4.

A HUGE thank you to Massey University, Collage of Creative Arts, School of Design for all there support with expertise, time and equipment.

A full list of all my equipment can be found here

Antartica research shifts to “the new heroic age”

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After a really productive initial discussion with @AntarcticaNZ my research has moved into a new phase – I’m now focussing  on the depiction of ‘heroes’ and ‘explorers’ through portraiture in historic and contemporary contexts.

This reflects a fledgling strategic approach to repositioning the public perception of science by depicting the Antarctic Scientists as “Science Explorers” – modern approachable heroes striving to understand climate change to help deal with it.

This might be the beginning of “the new heroic age” of Antarctica?

Still early days … watch this space.

 

More on the Antarctica project >

Stefan Heinrichs

A wee gem from my research into the portraiture for the Antartica project #60shadesofwhite

German photographer and filmmaker Stefan Heinrichs lives and works between Berlin and London.

I particularly like the way he shoots video as if it were a still, often playing with multiple images on the screen. Two of my favourites are Elephant Polo and NOWNESS, on Design: Marcel Wanders

Elephant Polo The King’s Cup
 from stefan heinrichs on Vimeo.

NOWNESS, on Design: Marcel Wanders from stefan heinrichs on Vimeo.

Shifting perceptions

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Warren (Maxwell) and I had a most excellent meeting with Jeanine Foster from Antarctica New Zealand today. We talked through some of the logistics, looked at some of her killer photos and generally got excited! She generously added to the pile of Antarctica reading material in the corner of the studio too. Ta Jeanine.

Planning has definitely moved on this week – a content and communications strategy is forming nicely. There is even the start of a few journey maps (NB: #CoCA358 students) floating around.

AntarcticaNZ are currently doing some primary research around perceptions of Antarctica and science which is going to be invaluable.

Warren and I are buzzing! Cross discipline creative collaboration is proving exciting so far.

More on this project >

Antarctica project planning

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Now I have officially started my MDes (Masters of Design) and the pre-trip planning shifts into a different phase. For the past few months it has been total emersion into all things Antarctica, and looking at artist models, more recently research shifted to include the logistics of photography in sub-zero conditions so a gear list could be formed and any new equipment ordered. With those under control it is now into design strategy.

On the office wall a plan is evolving: some sort of hybrid diagram combining a content strategy and audience analysis with a media/distribution strategy sandwiched in between.

From this a number of possible directions will be identified and drawn up as journey maps.

More on the Antarctica #60shadesofwhite project

Icy reading

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Life has become a blur of Antarctica research – this is a small sample of the small mountain of reading I have been doing on Antarctic history, science and the artists (particularly photographers) that have been there before me. For a full (and ever growing) list of my research reading visit my bibliography page.

Antarctica New Zealand have a comprehensive list of the artists and writers they have supported on the Alumni page of their website.

One of my favourite photographic discoveries so far is the book Frozen History: The legacy of Scott and Shacklenton Photographs of Josef & Katharina Hoflehner. Stunning black and white images of the historic huts taken with respect and a contemporary elegance.

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Interactive inspiration: Jonathan Harris

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Jonathan Harris is an artist and computer scientist from Vermont.

I find his work very interesting but he regularly falls into the trap of the interface overpowering the content – something I specifically want to avoid. An example is the whale hunt interactive which is extremely clever but I prefer the highlights page from the same interactive

His work is in the permanent collection of The Museum of Modern Art, and has been exhibited at Le Centre Pompidou (Paris), the CAFA Art Museum (Beijing), the Barbican Center (London), the Victora and Albert Museum (London), and The Pace Gallery (New York). He studied computer science at Princeton University and spent a year in Italy at Fabrica. The winner of three Webby Awards, Print Magazine named him a “New Visual Artist,” and the World Economic Forum named him a “Young Global Leader.” His TED talks have been viewed millions of times.

His website: http://number27.org/

I quite like this one: http://balloonsofbhutan.org

And the whale hunthttp://thewhalehunt.org