Day 1, Stream 4
Creation, Collaboration and Consumption
Su Ballard: Art History, Visual and Media Art, University of Wollongong, Australia
Zita Joyce: Media and Communication, University of Canterbury, New Zealand
Vicki Smith: The ADA Network – Aotearoa Digital Arts, New Zealand
Following the earthquake of February 2011, the central city of Christchurch, New Zealand has been largely dismantled. Huge tracts of open ground spread out where buildings once stood, and much of the centre is still closed off to residents. Navigating around hurricane fences, demolition sites, and the street-gouges of caterpillar tracks has forced a renegotiation of the format of the city and its built and deconstructed spaces. At the same time, the command and control process ‘recovery’ adopted by central government, against international best practice, explicitly reduces scope for community consultation in the reconstruction of the city. In a city that is exhausted and bewildered by natural disaster and its response, resistance feels fundamentally futile; and yet, in this place, it has never been so important. In the shadow of the demolitions, or rather the open spaces in their wake, artists are regenerating empty lots, blank walls, and social connections in what appear to be resistant creative acts. However the officially-designated rebuild-in-progress ‘transitional city’ relies on this creative endeavour, vesting artists and others with the responsibility of rendering the blank city more appealing to visitors and residents. Aotearoa Digital Arts’ Mesh Cities project explores the potential role of media art in transitional and future Christchurch. At this early stage in the project, this panel asks how productive media art can actually be for reimagining, remembering, reinvigorating, reconnecting with, or indeed resisting, urban and social space.
Su Ballard is Senior Lecturer in Art History, Visual and Media Art at the University of Wollongong, Australia. Her current research weaves the histories of art into contemporary practice with a focus on speculation, futures, accidents, noise, systems and machines in the art gallery. She co-edited The Fibreculture Journal 20 “Networked Utopias and Speculative Futures” in 2012 and The Aotearoa Digital Arts Reader published by Clouds in 2008. She is currently working on AMONG THE MACHINES, a major exhibition for the Dunedin Public Art Gallery, New Zealand, opening in July 2013.
Vicki Smith is a visual media artist and educator from a remote region of Aotearoa/NZ. She works to link communities of practice, developed the distance education school WestNet and is especially interested in how connectedness can aid development through assiduous use of art, science and technology, especially for youth. Vicki is one of the original members of Avatar Body Collision, who instigated the cyberformance venue UpStage through which she creates, teaches and co-curates the annual festivals. In her virtual as well as her real life she is exploring new technology to observe connections to the old and is on a creative exploration of sailing, celestial navigation and the paths of early voyagers to these lands. Vicki is volunteer on the West Coast Kete community story project, and trustee for Sailing for Sustainability and the Aotearoa Digital Arts Network.
Zita Joyce is Lecturer in Media and Communication at the University of Canterbury, New Zealand. Her research is inevitably shaped by the aftermath of the Christchurch earthquakes of 2010 and 2011. Her current research focus explores the role of independent radio stations in Christchurch during and since the earthquakes, and how they have survived and adapted to the loss of studio and office space. She also works on radio transmission projects, including ‘Radio Wormhole’ connecting the Pallet Pavilion in Christchurch and the Audio Foundation Gallery, Auckland, in March 2013. She is editing a special issue of the New Zealand Journal of Media Studies on Media and the Earthquakes, and co-edited The Fibreculture Journal 20 “Networked Utopias and Speculative Futures” in 2012.