Archives for posts with tag: science and art

tara

Tara Morelos is the Director of dLux Media Arts (dLux), one of Australia’s longest running screen and media arts organisations. dLux works with a range of artists, writers & curators, to present projects from the screening of single channel video art to multi-channel installations and interactive and locative media for mobile devices. Morelos worked as a graphic designer in the corporate sector before going on to study Sculpture, Performance and Installation at Sydney College of the Arts. Morelos is also the Director of Sculpture in the Vineyards.

Interview by Alex Bellemore

How important is the role of learning at dLux?

dLux is organisationally familiar with change, shape shifting to meet the needs of its community and gaining enormous social capital in the process. As staff we are constantly learning and meeting the challenges of working, firstly within the not for profit arts sector and secondly within an organisation tasked with being cutting edge. It’s very hands on and particularly with our regional partners we had taken on the informal role as educators within an emerging field of exhibition practice as galleries began wanting to show more video and interactive works within their programs.

dLux has a strong emphasis on touring and rural education initiatives, what learning strategies do you put in place when approaching communities with limited exposure to digital media practice or broadly the arts sector?

By demystifying simple technologies for galleries and regional audiences through delivering a well supported touring program of media-orientated works we began to better understand the needs of the sector.

By using digital storytelling and technology we found a way to strongly influence the way people see themselves and break down existing barriers to learning. As a specialist media arts organisation, dLux is able to utilise an array of digital technologies to capture the imagination of new audiences putting the web, open source software and other information and communication technologies (ICT) to cost effective use in regional communities. In 2011 dLux became a social enterprise of the iStreet Lab phenomenon.  Working with mervin Jarman, Jamaican community art activist and human computer interface expert we built the iStreet dLux Lab. As part of the dStudio program, the iStreet dLux Lab extends its reach into the exploration of creative art practice for artists and communities alike.

Do you think that screen/ digital media art is represented well in the arts sector, in terms of awareness and funding?

In my experience, there is a general reluctance in the world of contemporary art to engage meaningfully with digital and new media art practice, social networking, or gaming. Yet these are some of the largest and fastest-growing areas of culture today. There is a tendency to largely dismiss media arts without fully appreciating the theoretical richness or conceptual parallels it has with more established art forms. Since the dismantling of New Media Arts Board in 2004, the Inter Arts Office of the Australia Council is doing its best on a very small budget to encourage the development of new media and multi-platform culture. It can be a problematic area for these kinds of agencies due to its potential to straddle the art and industry divide. dLux has often fallen through these cracks. We have now begun to look more consistently outside the arts funding pool, though gratefully acknowledge the continued core support of our partners Arts NSW.

dLux was established in the 1980’s under another name The Super 8 – Film Group, how has the organisation changed from then to now?

dLux Media Arts remains a small and resilient organisation with a clearly defined role within the Australian cultural sector known for supporting and developing risky projects in an experimental environment. We retain a direct link to our maverick experimental screen origins as the Sydney Super-8 Film Group, whose films constituted a construction of a particular social and political memory of a specific historical time period, 1980-1990.  We have an archive of every work shown since the 1980s through the 90s and up to recent projects including digital versions of films, lists of all the screenings and works, all the writings and artists details from the last 30 years.

What are some upcoming projects and goals for dLux?

We recently received an Unlocking Australia’s Potential science communication grant for dLab, our regional access and skills development program. Over three years and four primary regional locations, we will be working predominantly with young women from culturally and linguistically diverse and Aboriginal backgrounds to engage in research and science activities. Using local culturally relevant resources and an informal creative methodology, participants will create their own mobile multi media dLab for community use. We have ambitious plans to further boost and diversify our funding, increase our audiences, consolidate our brand by offering new services on the commercial market. By maximising the talents of our artist communities we plan to move thoughtfully into servicing a growing demand within the commercial sector for authentic cultural products in app development and exhibition management. The future is bright!

www.dlux.org.au

Drew

Drew Berry is a biomedical animator at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute in Melbourne whose work has transcended the boundaries between science and art.  A biomedical animator’s role is to translate real science into a visual story so people can see it in action.  These visual stories are to do with what happens inside our bodies and animation is the best way to demonstrate and teach concepts such as the complex mechanics of DNA, cell development or the impact of disease.  While Drew’s work is firmly based in the scientific sphere he has also been exhibited as an artist in major national and international institutions.  He talks to arts interview about his art and the collaborations in which he has worked.

Interview by Kim Goodwin

You trained as a scientist; at what point did your work begin to be seen in a new way? Or was there always an artistic component to it?

Certainly when you are constructing animations we take on the visual grammar of cinema and film to help the storytelling. My work originally was not aimed at an artistic audience, it was simply an education piece to show people what the science is about. Around 2002-2003 my work was invited to be screened at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) here in Melbourne, and that show travelled a little bit and my work ended up being picked up by the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Pompidou Centre and so on, as art.  I found a whole new audience that I would never have expected to reach, an audience that’s not switched on by science or think science is for them, and to be able to show them science can engage them.  So my stories are very strong in trying to explain the science, but I do definitely put in artistic elements to make it emotionally engaging, whether it’s making disease repulsive or showing a healthy cell as lively to make it look ‘healthier.’

You’ve mentioned in other interviews how science has always had a relationship with art.  Would you say you work in a cross disciplinary environment, or is biomedical animation just an extension of scientific practice?

I think there is definitely a focus on scientific practice, but calling upon whatever techniques you need to help explain that story. I think it is human nature to draw and to draw pictures of what you are observing or thinking about, so being human this is just what we do to try and convey these ideas to other people, or even just to ourselves. So drawing pictures or sketches is really central to scientific development, to map out what you are thinking or observing. So my work is really a more advanced version of that.

Are there challenges in working in a cross disciplinary environment?

I guess so, it’s sort of what I have always done. I have my passion for science and I’ve always fiddled around with computer graphics. I do have to be cautious, as you can be picked on by scientists when you do represent the world in a more interpretative, creative or impressionistic way. But there really isn’t any other way to draw this stuff, to draw in a way that is watchable to a human audience. Scientists are going to challenge it, but I just have to make it as accurate as possible, but still watchable.

 You’ve worked on some very high profile projects, such as the Emmy and BAFTA Award winning DNA project and Bjork’s Biophillia, how is this type of collaboration different from your medically focused work?

The DNA project was actually the first major project I worked on, from that everything else led on. The process hasn’t changed whatsoever, I feel that the topics, the science, the reality of the world of our bodies are so mind blowing and fascinating that the problem is trying to find a way to represent it.

The process of creating animations has stayed the same. I spend my time reading the journals, talking to scientists, and then fiddling around with 3D animation software working out how I’m going to build the animation and the final third of the time actually creating imagery.  These are the ideal steps I go through given enough time, and every project from raw hard science for scientists communicating to their peers, ones for school kids, or a Bjork video is all the same from pre-concept through to production.

Do you believe that artists and scientists think or conceive in a different way? If yes, how?

Certainly art and science are both very creative ways of working in the world, and I do think artists and scientists think similarly.  Scientists have to be much more careful, or they are very, very focused on being careful in how they represent the world because in the world of science everyone else can criticize you or take you down if you take the reality too far. Scientists are very careful or cagey about what they say and do, because it is a game of critiquing everyone else’s work. Where pure art, I would say, is more a self-expression of what you feel or think, in a personal way, where science is a very public and people can critique what it is you are representing.  Pure art is more an expression of an individual.

See Drew’s talk for Ted X Sydney, May 2011:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WFCvkkDSfIU