‘Betweenland’ exhibition goes into uncharted territory

8 June 2021

‘Betweenland’ exhibition goes into uncharted territory

A painting that plays music and poems that write themselves. Just two of the works that are on display as part of Geoff Wilson Gallery’s latest exhibition, ‘Betweenland’.

‘Betweenland’ takes us on a journey into the unfamiliar, uncomfortable and uncanny.

The exhibition has seven installations, all interactive, showcasing a range of creative technologies including augmented reality, motion sensors, Arduino (a software platform)  and projection mapping. Some play with themes such as gender identification, the death of a loved one, and the impact of Covid-19. Many sit in the space between disciplines or artistic mediums - subverting our need to put art into strict categories. Many of the works use sound as a core element.

Ren Lunicke’s installation explores the inherent bias around sound and gender through the experience of gender-diverse individuals using the phone. It provokes listeners to expand their acceptance of natural vocal diversity for all genders. Jade Morgan (NorthTec arts tutor, digital artist and one of the curators of the exhibition) also plays with sound. She shares with us nature recordings taken during a liminal time in her life just after her husband died, exploring the place in between dimensions where they still communicate.

Nearby, a painting that can be played like a musical instrument disturbs boundaries between visual arts, music and digital technology. Tracey Willms Deane’s interest in sacred geometry is evident in the playful relationship between science, colour and sound. Erena Donnelly’s work is an augmented reality experience playing in the boundaries between sound, image and imagination. The viewer observes the sound movements associated with a famous musician (presented in portraits she has drawn) but does not hear them - stimulating the mind’s ear rather than the mind’s eye.

Two immersive installations reflect on artistic practice. One, by Sonja van Kerkhoff, is an interactive work exploring her and other artists’ experience of Covid-19. Displayed as a Zoom meeting, the work allows the viewer to engage with the artists and her own experiences of feeling in-between. The other, by Kim Newall, weaves together projection and sound. It is an intimate insight into his practice as he constantly dances between analogue and digital realities.

The final work, by Dr Maggie Buxton (also a co-curator), is visual interactive work playfully exploring her poetic collaboration with an algorithm. Poetry fragments are randomly selected to create a work which then disappears forever. Much like the tides washing on Onerahi Beach - the place that inspired the words.

The exhibition is a part of an ongoing partnership between Creative Technology Northland (a network of nearly 300 practitioners living across Te Tai Tokerau region) and Toi Te Pito Digital Arts at NorthTec. It was curated by Jade Morgan and Dr Maggie Buxton, co-founder of Creative Technology Northland and Director of AwhiWorld, a local creative production company.

Dr Buxton said: “It has been a great experience collaborating with Jade on our second exhibition. The artists have created interesting and very personal works. We have a lot of creative technology talent in Northland and some great classes at NorthTec building these skills."

The exhibition runs until 25 June, and is open for viewing on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, from 10am to 4pm. The Geoff Wilson Gallery is located via Gate 3, NorthTec,

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