Essay by Danae Mossman and Vanessa Coxhead
In addition to the core programme of exhibitions and publications, The Physics Room fills an important niche in the presentation of a range of experimental performance, sound, internet, digital and video practices.
The year‘s public programme was launched with a concert performance by Cologne-based Thomas Lehn and ex-pat New Zealander David Watson. Both artists are actively involved in the international new music scene, and are renowned for their production of cutting-edge sound that traverses genre boundaries. Supported by the Goethe Institute, Lehn joined with Watson to create spontaneous interactions from a unique palette of sounds on his 1960s classic analogue synths.
26-02-04 was a series of one-night only performances that brought together acclaimed national and international sound artists: Joel Stern (Australia), Anthony Guerra (London), Rosy Parlane (New Zealand),Mattin (Spain), Daniel Beban (London) and Bruce Russell (New Zealand).The series presented a lively mix of electro-acoustic music, digital and physical computer sound, electric guitars and sundry electronic devices, and provided an opportunity for the audience to track new developments in experimental sound.
Once again, The Physics Room joined forces with the Goethe Institute to present MuVi: Music Video Clips from Germany. Hailing from the renowned Oberhausen Short Film Festival and screened at Christchurch Art Gallery’s Auditorium, the programme offered an insight into the unique visual world of German music clips, pop culture and cinema, introduced by the Festival’s director, Lars Henrik Gass.
Avatar Body Collision is a collaborative, globally active cybertheatre group based in London, Helsinki, New Zealand and, of course, cyberspace. At an evening event Vicki Smith, the New Zealand member of the collective, gave an interactive demonstration of the group’s work, which explores the relationship between the body and the machine. In particular, the group deal with what it means to be human in this ever increasing world of “intelligent machines”, through the use of cross-platform, free to download chat software.
In a night of experimental performance Auckland-based intermedia artist Philip Dadson, equipped with singing skulls and talking drums, radiophonic works, sound sculptures and experimental musical instruments, song-stones, compositions, graphic scores and sound stories, created an invigorating exploration of sound’s potential.
The second instalment of the acoustic adventure Trambience, a co-production with ((ethermap and RDU, featured local sound artists/musicians Greg Malcolm and Chris O’Connor. Taking place aboard one of Christchurch’s restored heritage trams, the event sought to explore the physical and acoustic space of the tram and the rhythmic spontaneity of its motion through the sounds from two celebrated experimental sound artists.
The Physics Room hosted a ”jam session” with John White and Francesca Mountford, with special guest musicians Jody Lloyd and Aaron Beehre. White’s twee guitar songs of repetition and side-stepping were the main agenda, while Mountfort enrolled the assistance of gonging clocks, chiming music boxes and vocals made by swallowing Walkman earplugs.
Conceptualised by Warren Olds and Nicola Farquhar, the Ahoy! flag project utilised inner city flagpoles on commercial buildings as sites for the presentation of a selection of contemporary art flags. Taking the art out of the gallery and onto the streets, the Christchurch skyline played host to flags by designers and artists from New Zealand, Australia, France and the Netherlands, including Von Dekker, Genevieve Gauckler, Jon Campbell, Nathan Pohio, Fiona Amundsen, Warren Olds, Tessa Laird, Karin de Jong, Lisa Benson and Nicola Farquhar.
The final programme for 2004 was German Video Art 2000 to 2002, a screening of entries for the German Marl Video Art Award, which has been active in the video art scene for over 20 years, and has become an attentive observer of the development of the medium.
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This essay originally appeared in
The Physics Room Annual 2004
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2004 Public Programmes
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