On balance brings together works by three artists within the commercial and residential environment of Left Bank in central Wellington.
“Balance” can relate to physical centredness, emotional wellbeing, to achieving harmony, being “in tune” or to cracking the elusive life/work desired ratio. On balance nods to how we aspire to physical and sensory balance within our everyday experience, but also acknowledges how tough it is to achieve and sustain equilibrium. While being off-balance tends to be considered detrimental, a state of being to be worked through and beyond, but being off-kilter can also offer alternate, revealing modes of perception.
When things are considered “on balance” they are reviewed, reflected upon with the aim of reaching some form of overall impression or summation of what has been presented/transpired. On balance invites viewers to be simultaneously present and reflective, to experience these three art works within this specific environment and time signature, but also to keep alert for future art and design investigations within Left Bank through 2012-2013.
On balance is curated by Heather Galbraith. A partnership project between Litmus Research Initiative, Massey University Wellington, the Wellington Sculpture Trust and the Wellington Company. Supported by Seresin Estate.
Part of The Active City Guide programme of exhibitions and events in conjunction with Wellington City Council and City Gallery Wellington.
Thanks to Melissa Irving, Clinton Watkins and Olivia Webb, Ian Cassels, Alex Cassels, Jhana Miller, Helen Kedgley, Neil Plimmer, Shaun Waugh, Mike Heynes, Ray Tat Tan, Aaron Lister, Eve Armstrong and Robert Heald.
Melissa Irving’s video work Solo suite in space and time, after Merce Cunningham, projected against the lift up to the residential area of the complex, explores the capabilities and limitations of the body. Irving worked with ten trained dancers to develop and hold static poses within the bustling thoroughfare of the Cuba Mall end of Left Bank. The shapes held by the dancers using architectural features as supports, foot or handholds is in distinct contrast to the business of Wellingtonians going about their lives. The encounter with the performers is curious to some, they stop and watch, pause or stumble, become self conscious when they clock the video camera, others pass by oblivious to the extreme extension, counterpoint or balance in the dancers bodies. When a pose cannot be held any longer the performer releases and walks off into the city.
Clinton Watkins in Force Field forces translation of sound into image through customized video manipulation hardware. The recorded and looped sound arrangement draws on pure tone samples, white noise, rhythmic pulses and clicks. The sonic qualities of the work when played in an urban space will be in concert with the surrounding idling cars, backing delivery trucks, cell phone rings, car radios and human chatter. Many of the tones and pulses will penetrate through this grey noise, bringing us up short, catching our ear. The colours Watkins draws on are standard broadcast test patterns. The boldness and singularity of colour in Force Field is in direct contrast to the fractured and multifarious colour character of Left Bank.
Force Field is a twenty-minute video and sound composition using custom developed video manipulation hardware. The unique device developed in 2008 called the AV5-Error enables sound to be forced into an analog video signal resulting in a purely abstract and synchronized visualization of sound. The structure of Force Field consists of eleven short compositions consisting of arrangements of a various pure tone frequencies, metronomic pulse wave clicks, white noise and microphone feedback being forced into broadcast test pattern colours.
Olivia Webb is a musician training in classical and opera singing. For the last year she has been refining a performance project Rehearsed Performance of a Practice where she ‘rehearses’ within gallery spaces or public space. These rehearsals, usually unannounced, often centre on the artist learning a new piece of music from scratch. An initially tentative, faltering, exploring vocal, becomes more confident and assured. A normally private activity becomes public, and the work of singing is laid bare. This is an intimate, vulnerable encounter, one that we are not normally privy to.