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furthering hybridity

the artlab 08 collaborations


THE AUSTRALIA COUNCIL’S INTER-ARTS OFFICE NOT ONLY FUNDS PROJECTS THAT CAN’T FIND TRADITIONAL ARTFORM HOMES BUT IT ALSO ENCOURAGES VERY DIFFERENT ARTISTS TO TEAM UP AND VENTURE WHERE NONE HAVE TROD.

Artlab funding criteria require not tried collaborations but new ones; experimental, research-based and risk-taking approaches; and, if the project involves creating technologies, they must be new. It’s a tough brief requiring a strong sense of vision, teamwork and, not least, pragmatism: significant cash or in-kind contributions have to be found beyond the Australia Council’s $75,000 funding of each project in 2008. Twenty two applications sought a total of $1.5m; two succeeded for a total of $150,000.

Thinking Through the Body comprises the artists Jonathan Duckworth (artist and architectural designer specialising in the development of real time graphical environments), George Khut (artist working in the area of sound and immersive installation environments), Somaya Langley (sound and media artist), Lizzie Muller (curator and writer working at the intersection of art, technology and science), Garth Paine (sound designer, installation artist, interactive system designer) and Catherine Truman (contemporary jeweller and object-maker). The collaborators intend “investigating the use and potential of touch and movement in body-focused interactive art. The group will use a variety of body-sensing technologies to explore the possibilities of interactive art that links technical experimentation and artistic expression.”

The Transmission Project: Wheel, Water, Wind brings together Rod Cooper (hybrid instrument maker), Robin Fox (sound artist working with live digital media), Jon Rose (violinist, composer, writer and installation artist), Jim Sosnin (a specialist in acoustics, audio electronics, sound recording and computer music) and German artist Frieder Weiss [see interview] to develop “a wireless data technologies platform for designing human/machine interfaces. The team will investigate the compositional, installation and performance possibilities of the design, presenting works in progress on the themes of Wheel, Wind and Water during the testing stage of development.”

Andrew Donovan, Director of the Inter-Arts Office of the Australia Council, is pleased with the 2008 Artlab funding results. In his report he writes, “The panel was particularly responsive to projects that detailed a concise and logical research methodology, whilst clearly articulating potential artistic outcomes for the project. The panel was also responsive to applications that were genuinely collaborative in nature, reflecting the objective of the ArtLab program to nurture and support new interdisciplinary, artistic collaborations that offered the best opportunity for the development of new knowledge, artistic innovation and creative risk-taking.”

Donovan told RealTime that he welcomes the diversity of arts practitioners in each project, the range of age and experience and the geographical spread. He’s especially impressed with the number of experienced artists willing to place themselves in very new collaborative circumstances. The assessment panel, he says, were particularly taken with the research and development process embodied in the projects. “This can develop a platform—with innovations in software and hardware—to push hybridity forward, making it easy for other artists in the future to break through technical barriers.” RT

RealTime issue #84 April-May 2008 pg. 31

© RealTime ; for permission to reproduce apply to realtime@realtimearts.net

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