Friday, August 24, 2001
Artist collective - we put on shows in other people's spaces. Jon Bywater, Daniel Malone, Ani O'neill, Gwynneth Porter, Judy Darragh
Talk about preceding work
1) Prehistory of lineage of practices
Artist-run initiative: practitioners initiating their own projects
60s and 70s - europe and america
back in those times - a lot of perfromance and installation work shown in e.g AK Gallery, RKS dealers - not so much need for artist run spaces because the practices were being represented in those areas
New art: Curnow/Allen - book has a lot of performance etc. - all documented in the Ak City Gallery!
In the first half of 20th C contemporary art was happening in the Art Societies. "The Group" - artists in canterbury in 1927 - they seceded from the art society and lasted through to 1970s.
Not doing anything totally new, there is a history
Emergence of the art market in the 1960s - Peter McCleavy still showing great stuff
Peter Tomeroy @ AK City Gallery - public institution took over as the place for progressive work
100 meters squared - 1979 ran for three years in AK - Other things happening but were more project based - not being an ongoing conduit for community. Peter Roche did work there, became a community.
Same sorts of shows were appearing in Auckland City Gallery
1960 first decided that the government should have a role in directly funding the arts. QEII funding for 100m2
Artspace started in 1987 - first concerted effort not directed by practicing artists- driven by people who wrote about work e.g. Wystan Curnow. Still artist-run in that still driven by proposals from artists, and based on membership of primarily artist.
Judy Darragh involved in artspace and teststrip. Teststrip not against artspace - but slightly cumbersome - govt. funding, boards etc.
Teststrip: more established artists, combined with just out of art school. All needed new places. A lot of work being made that was market oriented - dealers have no need to present that kind of work. 1992-97
A lot of shifts over that time - Artspace to K road, opening of new gallery. Began as a social thing - selves and friends
Began as not knowing that history - and seen as that by wider community. Also seen as being slightly elitist - not as open as artspace - setting own context for work. It was a whole social thing - the decisions
High Street Project in Christchurch, Honeymoon Suite in Dunedin - other kinds of projects
Other institutions were showing some of the same kind of work - e.g hangover. Classlification as grunge artists. But we didnít try and put a frame around things - and later on we had to engage more with how we were framing and being framed.
Ran for 4 years without funding - people who did everything, swept floors and then paid money out of their accounts to subsidise rent. After 4 years that got tiresome. We decided to apply for funding to get a phone/fax etc.
A lot of it was about reacting against the grunge gallery. So thought it was sort of more corporate looking but a bit of a bluff. We called an advisory board - people we'd been in touch with overseas. But they didn't do much. What it allowed us to do was create a face for ourselves which was reasonably flexible.
Became a network between regions in that kind of activity - which is important for the cuckoo model - always looking to work in new spaces - soon in the Dunedin Public Art Gallery. Different spaces had different ways of working - e.g High Street Project
Showed a range of work in later times - video, music, etc.
You start to realise why institutions get locked down, because the organisational issues do weigh you down
Near the end there were also other spaces - Fiat Lux, Room3, but Teststrip also showed those artists.
As Teststrip wound down Artspace made a shift from Quay Street up to K Road and a change in how they operated. They became more programme-driven than proposal driven - more international sense of the arts.
Cuckoo wanted to tap back in to the work which was being made locally. We wanted to try and keep it fresh. Also we'd done our share of floor sanding so working in other people's spaces seemed like a sneaky way around the problems of maintaining space.
These things kind of work best as a slimmed down, have an opening and that's it. Maybe be open for a a few days for the artists to bring their families.
The good thing about working with other venues is that they have a readymade audience - people know where they are. They also come with their own histories of work
Busts = darth vader
Painting from movie stills - planet of the apes - looking at the record - video shop paintings
Children's how and why sound experiement - star wars soundtracks - styrofoam cups and needles
Darwinian - monkey see monkey do - reference planet of the apes - malleability of history - miscategorised a bit about an interest in science and evolution - but interested in it the same way a film maker is -
studio replicas of e.g Atari 2600 made of cardboard - devices of urban liberation - 80s material - like an industrial tomb - accurate tribute model
start of 98 - relic based on terminator hand
model for the circulation of breakdancing - only legitimate dance movement exposed to. Police traffic figures that have been repainted. Aligned with a hobbyist or craft model?
Commemorative model for the death of divo/kiss. Models made around the time lady diana died - what can immortalise them through an object? What future commemoration will happen?
Eddy and the cruisers - hoax death - a model for immortality
Models are never in real time - either pre-object (prototype) or post-object
Models of objects such as stereos games didn't just strip entertainment value, also strips surface (many objects are sold on surface value)
Robots - isaac asimov stories
Bunkers - fewer places to hide
Multiples - cassetes, replica of charles ray performance
Melbourne international biennale - different ways of putting the turntable into narrative - curate them in different ways.
Rocking virtual reality capsule in static arcade game - corrupting an architectural model
Fictional retrospective - showing objects in cases which haven't before
Reversal of roles where monkeys are in charge. Shark park. Waterslide incident. Elements given a museum display style.
There has to be something unnerving or corrupt happening in the models - never specific to one movie or narrative - but generic things from a range of movies.
After Biennale recovered a BMX bike and made an authentic replica - no moulds - wanted to believe that could make it - "from the atom up". Freedom - the bike is like a first car or something - it changes how you can be in the world - iconifies and deifies.
Thinking about culture in an archeological sense - stories about Atari burying the cartiridges of the E.T. video game in the desert, or Nike brying failed sandshoes in the desert
"like a project that you wanted to build yourseld but your dad took over" - manual quadrophonics.
Domestic models - signifiers of narrative - frisbee in the roof, etc.
Architecture becoming more specific in the models - toilet block placed between police station and commission flats
Minnearpolis college of art and design - studied for 5 years
Travelled around a lot as a kid - parents concerned only read comic books and played in rock bands
Business and finance major for 18 mths -got kicked out - put together a portfolio for MCAD and got accepted - majored in late modern art
Did an internship w/ rock concert promoter ticketmaster and working in GAP
First idea 12 yrs ago - Got first macintoshes - hypercard - advertising - gap needed to expand into new areas - capture zip codes? - interactive catalogue. "We love it, but it will never go anywhere" . Ended up in Smithsonian Museum as one of the first pieces of interactive advertising.
Invited to Wanganui to teach - not really much happening there so would design typefaces after class.
Beast typeface - send it to friends - ends up e.g. in mambo, swatch etc.
People suggest to sell them- but only interested in making the fun characters
Sony video - wanted to work with saatchis - knew Sony were client - made a clip on handycam and sent it to saatchis AK.
Levis - distributng video clips on floppies. In wanganui
Primo - len cheeseman gave him the job at a conference - had to be ready the next day open brief use anything
Bell South - respond to telecom animals ads - dated now but risky at the time - no product shots etc just typography
Jerusalem - high end - DHTML - pre-flash
You see a lot of flash stuff, but not that much with a concept behind it - I try and focus on a personal or brand connection
Just Type Anything - collection of typefaces - online manipulation - after effects - David Colhoun
Beat Rugby - worked with a development company in NZ - they backed out - left it with 6mths out - "Do somethng cool on the internet" - interactive games - doing it in house - making it up as we went along - but better than doing something safe and flat. Winning tons of awards.
When it comes to online work you've got to think about something beyond a brochure or anything they see in other media
DAVID CULLINGTON & TIM CHECKLEY
David - Zivo - does a lot of client work
Tim - Webmedia - more back end
Together they are the GODS OF THE INTERNET
Our happy projects:
Holden New Zealand's new site - has about 8 people working on it. It has XML feeding into Flash applications - even though you're a designer you need to understand the back end of things.
Muthaship for ephone - CD-ROM project for schools never got there because clients are wankers. Possibly out of business now.
amsterdam.webmedia.com documentation of a trip to amsterdam by webmedia
Tim - 3D engine for dummies - 3D modelling program for Flash based on a Director is really good for that. Also iTV - though that's still a bit crappy
Thursday, August 23, 2001
City Gallery show in Melbourne painted directly onto wall
Got a lot of flak from the writers for doing the 3D graphic thing
Subway Sun - Phase2 - birth of the wild style
Phase2 and Daze - old skool NY writers came out for hiphop tour and graffiti demonstrations gave recognition. Subway Sun voted merda "most original style in the world"
Hype - great magazine from Brisbane. before the internet thing the communication took a lot longer. the mags were more important then.
Stopped doing 3D styles and started experimenting more. [stained glass influence on prahran wall]
They stopped using the blue train cars because of asbestos. They parked them in a big lot and we spent a lot of time down there.
The media started getting pretty bad, saying we were gangs and carrying baseball bats.
Started using pastels at art school - the best medium - sort of like aerosol really.
Normally will do a rough sketch - then do a 2nd draft. Before computers came along I did a fair bit of manual pixellation
90-93 I was unemployed on the books - though was working. Had plenty of time to paint. Using expensive german paints. Started creating LetterHeads - heads created out of letters -
Around this time started doing work for Renegade Clothing - first commercial job - first graffiti shirt in melbourne - went off! - sold heaps, got paid $75 for 2 weeks work.
Around 91 started doing sculpture, made out of balsa
Around then Campaign Palace wanted to do a graffiti billboard for Big M (milk brand) - jumping on the bandwagon. Had to paint supersites in 4 days - had to get an assistant!
Won a contest, but too freaky painting in public, with people watching.
93 unemployed doing a bar course - Loomit called from Germany - "we'll get you jobs and pay your airfare" - like a graffiti holiday almost. Loomit was getting paid by this millionaire to pain anything. We did some AIDS work... hip hop was really big in germany - all through Europe really.
After getting back from Germany had higher expectations. Wanted to get paid properly. It's interesting the associations people have with the medium -Was painting Koalas as part of an A-Z of native australian animals - and a family come by and say I was doing graffiti.
There's an LA style where you make a little hole in the cap, it lets you get an airbrush sort of an effect. Uses a lot of paint though.
Then got a job as a Mac boy for 3 years - did a lot of sperarations etc., which was really useful. Loomit called again from Germany. Went for 10 days - painting the criminally insane section of a hospital!
In 96 had enough, so I quit my job and started my own company. And Renegade came back to me 10 years later
Keep doing Mac Operation - just to get by - you've gotta do it unless you're big. Commissioned in 98 to do a mural for Hardcore, who own a lot of the street labels - 40 panels. Now do a lot of CD work, T-shirts etc. (all on Merda' site)
Magazines likeBlitzkrieg. Have done a lot of skate wheels as well.
The money side of things is always hard as an illustrator. I've got an agent now, but it's hard to get paid well. Also having a lot of different styles makes it difficult as well - people find it hard to take it in.
Lots of commercial work now, really simple - hertz, vegemite, etc., globe
"Iconic Common Sense in Art and Science"
Looking at relationships of visual culture in Art and Science
Foucault = "Madness became an object of science in the 1800s". Similarly, the discourse in this area is yet to become an object - emerging.
Art and science are separate domains. What does visual culture mean?
What is an icon? What happens when icons get put together in a visual swirl which is not about direct experience?
Jack Nicholson is always recognisable. He talked about going to an art gallery, looking at a piece of art - then turned around and 20 people are looking at him. Then going to a Lakers game in Philadelphia and seeing several hundred people wearing Jack Nicholson masks.
"The whole of science is nothing more than a refinement of everyday
Jan 1996 Wired has a great article on McLuhan. My professor in the 70s hated mcLuhan because he had to listen to him, but but he's crucial.
Back to my thesis - I saw this second hand media experience as an "isomorphic experience". It's based on McLuhan's idea of "sensory dilation".
Through e.g. glasses, we can see things beyond normal experience. Glass is critical. It was first made in 1350. It allowed light to come into houses.
McLuhan, the late guru of media theory, said: The art of making pictorial statements in a precise and repeatable form is one that has long been taken for granted in the West. But it is usually forgotten that without prints and blueprints, without maps and geometry the world of modern science and technology would hardly exist (1964, p. 145).
Back to radiography. Imagine finding out about broken bones without X-rays? It would be done by touch. So this is a part of the rise of visual culture. "The radiologist has to impute the third dimension of depth into the two dimensional image."
Microscopy goes beyond the threshold of human vision - solves problem of maintaining visual forms from generation to generation - allow visualisation and naming of the symbolism and iconography. (foucault)
The X-ray process can be compared to the printing process. But the signs and marks had to be learned. When the image is marginalised it seems ancillary - but actually it's constituent.
They said, "You have a blue guitar,
The man replied, "Things as they are
"A Way of seeing is a way of not seeing"
Tuesday, August 21, 2001
Actually failed Media Arts Course on attendance! Made 10 music videos in 3rd year, slept through classes.
Made Decaff 1994 in second year of course. Won a shortfilm award and received $8K in Arts council funding for general release.
Got selected for Zagreb film festival, went to Kodak for funding support, who sent him to Croatia.
Left Polytech to work in AK in Film industry, coffee boy on "The Ugly". Learnt more technically in 6 weeks on industry project than in 3 yrs @ tech.
Ended up making a few music videos and getting them shown on TV. Asked by Fur Patrol (then unknowns) to make first video for $5K.
NZ On Air funded $5K for music videos
Eventually called up by Saatchi and Saatchi to make commercials for NZ On Air. Alright! "I'm gonna make a million!" Lean period where ended up working in a fish and chip shop before getting called up by Flying Fish to make a Cadbury commercial for Colenso. Budget: $140K! "Mum! how much is your house! $110K I can buy you a new house and have change!"
Little did he know that even that wasn't a lot of money to make a commercial. And the commission had to last for a long time afterward...
It's really hard to become trusted at making ads. It takes a while to get known. Eventually graduated from doing Claymation, because I wasn't really good at it. I decided to make a short film - "Sarah's Washing" - got $25K from Film Commission. But in advertising they wouldn't allow it to happen that quickly. So there was a period of "shit on sticks" - if you want to make something funny, put it on a stick and jiggle it about a bit.
"The good thing about advertising is that you've got money and you can get other people to do things. So while I was directing someone else could make the props, which is good because I'm crap at making props.
Audience Q: What are you going to make for a feature?
I've applied for funding to make a horror movie set in Hamilton! I didn't realise you could get seed funding to write drafts! So I'm on the second draft. I survive on ads. I get around 10% of the budget. Sometimes though you drop the fee in a competitive situation.
Audience Q What do you do to get funding for a feature?
"You've got to have some experience. Most people do Short, Short, Feature. Most filmmakers don't touch ads, but it's all the same to me - cameras, lunches"
"I did another clip for Fur Patrol, but then they got signed to Warners who said "Oh no, it's not colourful and Julia doesn't look pretty." I haven't been asked to do another one since. I don't care, I liked it"
Audience Q What do you shoot animation on?
If I've got no money it's VHS or DV, and I borrow an AVID or a computer. If I have money I do bolex.
I've just made a clip for my friends in Hamilton, the Datsuns. I pulled a lot of favours. the idea is to get it so that it doesn't look like a kiwi video clip. If you can do that, you're a step ahead. You've got to be able to put it between britney spears and Destiny's Child and not have people walk out to the toilet while it's on.
I made a clip recently for $30. I just got my visual diaries from the last 6 years and shot every page on DV. Luckily I have a good friend with a computer to tidy it up.
6 person design collective from Brisbane - Do everything but trained as graphic designers
RMXXX - borne when all working in corporate studios - Stereolab's Chinese Whispers project, passed around 10 people before the final by stereolab
Add music component - 8 weeks recorded every week - conversations.
Rmx extended play - met lots of people around the world, way to collaborate with them.
All done by e-mail, text messages. Same rules. Remix must only be produced with vectors - no pixel-based elements. Didn't know who preceded and went after.
People francoise Chalet? Characters
One of rinzen started and managed that theme.
New project - FreshRMX - Different Rules. Game: start writing sentence - fold it over, keep writing - exquisite corpses
Neo Mu - got six pages - building - after each project have clip art images which can be reused later - e.g. Kitten fashion remix
Robina McCrudyInsititute of Earthcare Education Aotearoa
The organisation works with communities and neighbourhoods to integrate sustainable design processes. Also work with schools on holistic design and goal setting - doing e.g. waste audits, but also looking at the overall relationship. Run the SEEDS project.
In Hamilton Enviroschools is a model being copied world wide.
A strong economic component to projects. Going to look at a lot of techniques and their application across the world.
Permeculture is based on Functional Design. We use nature as the model - farming in the image of the forest. We look holistically at "What is the goal?" In battery egg production the goal is number of eggs only. In a permaculture system we look at all components of the chicken system - making full use of byproducts, etc. The "Chicken tractor" - Move a chicken pen around and it will turn the soil.
Australia is way ahead on sustainable communities, e.g. around Byron Bay sustainable development is mandated by council. In sustainable community design we look at a combination of personal and community land - the mix is important for the social design.
We work a lot with holistic goal setting - in workshops we find links between various systems in the community. Also clarifying goals and missions. Identifying inputs and outputs. There's a lot of analysis up front, very cognitive.
Then we go into applying these concepts to the land. We work with very simple tools and very technologically sophisticated tools. But we closely observe the existing environment, then group the elements to achieve the goal, and do a little model of what's going to happen. We use trace overlays a lot - look at a number of different ways of analysing a piece of land.
In implementation - we focus on what's available - recycled material, free material. There's a lot of waste around which can be reused. Assessing needs and building around community needs is important - a piece of wall can easily become a washboard as well.
Audience Q: How did you get into this?
RM: I started out as a gardener, even as a little kid. I always wanted to be outside, so I ended up in environmental education. I did the first permaculture course in NZ about 15 years ago. Then after travelling overseas I came to understand the village system, and saw its relevance and wanted to build something here. An important thing was going to South Africa just after the official end of apartheid, learning to build bridges across cultures, putting people back in touch with their roots.
Audience Q: In the eco-village - which functions are shared and which are separate?
It depends on the goals of the community. We own our own land and can sell our own houses, but we have goals to have a meal together once per day, and to share food. It really depends. We have a cooperative which makes products such as Tui Bee Balm
Permaculture is about Permanent Culture. So it's important to bring the stories of the culture into play during a site analysis.
1) Community participation
2) Site Analysis: Air, Fire, Earth, Water
3) Models and Maps: interactive process which gets children involved. It's by consensus. The design team pull it together and feed it back to the school. Then it gets drawn up by a landscape architect.
Small design features can make all the difference. In one school, just changing the doors on an existing building to all open into a central place really changed the way kids interacted at playtime.
Doing soil improvement, swales in the land, making mini-nurseries. using existing materials - e.g. egg cartons to hold seeds. Tyres for landscaping. Build willow play structures for children which can be support structures for fruit.
Audience Q: What's your view on genetic engineering?
My view is that organics and GE can't co-exist. This country is on an organics boom. Dairy is the main one, then mass vegetables (Heinz Wattie are doing a lot of work in tinned organic food). I think it might have a place in the laboratory, but not out in the wider environment. I guess my perspective is close to that of the Green Party.
Hamilton Permaculture Trust are also doing some great work.
Monday, August 20, 2001
Took a year off from art school to go overseas and rethink what he wanted to do with photography.
Began going to places, not really taking many photographs, but trying to think like the camera, to be in space like the camera.
A strong interest in architecture became important. Scenes are often quite empty, but contain a strong element of human intervention in the landscape.
Photograms - architectural - the play of light - the indelibility of light on photographic paper
Using the camera to express unseen relationships - less of a tool of observation, to elaborate visions of the world as we know it, rather than as we see it.
Airports - always spend time there - documented every plane which took off during that day. long exposure. Repetition - each trajectory different. Title from young kid waving "Goodbye" to plane.
[Why do people go to the airport? Lots of kids getting stoned in cars.]
Installation work - painting lines on the ground, relating to airports. Although you can't see the lines a lot of the time at the airport, they permeate the imagination.
Return to Photograms for Cuckoo show. lozenges - but related to airport works - light and line
Current work documenting a disused office building in Symonds Street, Auckland. Empty spaces - which become reinhabited with light if not people.
Q: Architecture of airports hasn't changed much over thirty years, is your concern with these forms about a form of nostalgia?
DB: Want it to be an object in itself - to extend the life of photography outside of "the moment". Want to take it away from the personal - to focus on the photographic concerns rather than what to load into the image.
Q: Do you want to develop a personal style?
DB: Definitely. These projects develop my own ideas, and the reasons while I do it.
"either go first or last, but not in the middle"
Billed as a talk about branding - but will touch on issues which affect the advertising / ideas business.
Begins with video: images of the third reich, the swastika logotype, iconography, people in detention centres, dead bodies in concentration camps. Swithc to images off crucified bodies, Nike advert of man kicking soccer ball - other ads - theme? Advertising creates our 'emotional world'? Focus on the "emotional, rich experience" of TV advertising - lots of kids - Apple's 1984 quicktime ad. Advertising is about "big ideas". (Piano piece over the top)
Definitions of brand
Harder to define - harder to build and support through great advertising
Why are brands important?
There are brands... and there are brands.
Traditional Brands: Weetbix, Sony
2000 brands / yr laucnched in UK - 99.3% not there after one year.
Viva Las Vegas - 50s travelogue for las vegas. commercial influence in movies: Top Gun, BMW in james bond movies
Is the Spice Girls a brand or a marketed identity? They are more than say Fur Patrol. What about the Queen?
NZ is more of a brand than other countries, because it has had to focus on its strengths and market them.
Elvis, the white house, harleys, Route 66 - all these represent the USA - it is a highly branded country.
"What the fuck is a Zespri?" What happened to the Kiwifruit? NZ lost control of the brand...
World Cup - All Blacks / adidas ad. B/W , the famous haka interspersed with rugby - bone crushing tackles etc. 2 hrs of footage shot.
Cinema Nike soccer commercial - brizilian team playing in airport chased by security guards - salsa playing in the background.
Brasilian soccer + All Blacks - what happens when they start failing?
Graphic - Nespaper ad bureau - in 1965 60% of people couldn't name a product in TV commercials 34% could name it. in 1990 84% couldn't, and only 8% could. Clutter is increaseing - how do you find what you're looking for.
Things evolve to become ever more complex - not more simple - Edward de Bono.
Attention economy: 40 000 products on average in the supermarket. Shopper goes around in 21 minutes and buys 18 items, which leaves the rest! And they are frequently repeats.
Web pages double every year. Exploding numbers of TV channels. Technology gives us tools to help manage, but it also makes the problem worse. E.g. amount of crap in the kitchen which we can't work out how to use properly
We haven't changed that much physiologically. In the last 200 years we've gained 2 yrs in every decade - soon we will live for ever.
Brain can deal with 4 times as many words as you can speak.
Top6 US primteime shows:
Losers, laughing at ourselves, depressed. Heroes are people who can't deal with everything.
Some things are consistent in our lives:
range of commercials for Volkswagen:
"BLUR" - everything is connected - supermarkets have banking, mixes in music Carlos Santana with Everlast.
Brands help buyers navigate:
They give products distinction and relevance.
They simplify and accelerate the engagement process.
They reduce risk through credibility and reliability.
They provide stability longevity and security
40 of top 100 UK packages foods brands are more than 50 yrs old - 7 are less than 15 yrs old
Even in trendy liquor trade - 93 of top 100 brands are more than 25 yrs old
And recently they have created value:
Fight for control of Rowntree in UK in 1988 which eventually sold for 2.5 times the bid price - thanks to the likes of Kit-Kat.
Contradiction: Ad agencies don't create brands - they help release them. Some exceptions - one instance where ads can recreate a brand - Levis 1980/81, laundromat commercial.
Ad agencies' job is to:
Ensure Distinction and relevance (in addition to what exists)
Simplify and accelerate engagement process
Can't do much with reliability.
It's simple: attention. Many agencies forget that.
Vision: to be the hottest ideas shop on the planet.
e.g. Bugger commercial - simple. Same for Air NZ Kiri - not about price, product features, etc.
Getting press is important.
How to make a great ad
1 What's the one thing you want to say?
2 Engage both the heart and the mind
3 Make the familiar unfamiliar and the unfamiliar familiar
4 Risk vs Responsibility (David Ogilvy's Hathaway shirt advertisement or Bugger)
5 Hire... S+S
First up, a presentation from one of NZ's leading photographers, Fiona Clark.
"Not only has she worked at the social margins, she has pushed the boundaries of the Documentary idiom and has ceaselessly maintained its relevance to the practice of photography and the pulse of our culture." - Peter Ireland
Fiona grew up on a farm, but had a theatrical background. She went to Elam to do sculpture in the 70s - which exposed her to performance art. Her interest in video combined with the gay liberation movement led to a shift away from sculpture to document her friends in Auckland's gay community. Her initial photographs were combined with writing from the subjects to give them a voice - but the material did cause controversy, and was pulled from the Auckland art gallery.
Her early work documented important aspects of NZ's nascent gay culture. The initial prints were all 8 by 10. She moved to photographing people in their homes.
Fiona has always worked with colour, and one of the problems with doing colour photography at Elam was that one of the tutors was colourblind and the other firmly commited to black and white practice!
After moving back to Taranaki for a brief time, Fiona had a car accident which left her hospitalised, and prompted a reevaluation of her practice. In the early 1980s, Fiona worked with the bodybuilding federation for a couple of years.
"Living with AIDS" was a series of photo albums containing images of and writings by people with the virus. The Dowse art museum showed the work, but wanted to own the albums, and even take the images out of the albums and put them on the walls! Fiona and a friend traveled to the museum to rescue the images. Duplicate copies were made for the subjects, and the albums currently live with Fiona in her workroom.
Fiona's next body of work documented a women's only, lesbian-organised club, "The Shiela's Arms" which became Club 47 in New Plymouth. The building was demolished in October 1996, but the works document the evolving nature of the space, with again a focus on the writings on the walls created by the participants.
Environmental issues formed the basis of a series of portraits taken of local Maori women. "Images were used by local Te Atiawa Iwi as evidence against the destructive waste generated by an expanding energy industry. This fight continues." A calendar was produced to raise money, but it also documented the hapu of the women in the calendar. These calendars were used as an explanation in the courts for what a hapu was, leading to the acceptance of hapu in legal definitions in Maori identity.
Fiona began investigating her own health issues, and the roles of chemical processes of photography in the "medical mystory" The Other Half?. This series used her body fluids in the chemical process. "You can actually fix photographs with urine!". Fiona has a large collection of visual documentation of her engagement with hospitals - brain scans, anything. It took a while to work out how to present this material in a way which isn't just therapy - to create a language of empowerment and disability around this material.
Audience Q: How do the doctors react?
FC: Mostly they're fine, they're quite interested. There's a lot of material in medical photography. The eye specialist has seen this new work but "he likes the people photgraohs better".
Audience Q:Do you think the Active Eye work would have been received in the same way overseas?
FC: I don't know. I think NZ was a bit behind the times. But some of those issues were still happening in Australia and England as well.
Audience Q: Do you think the appropriation of the 70s look by photographers such as Gavin Hipkins affects how the work you did in the 70s is read now, say if you republished the drag queen work?
FC: I guess so. But a part of it is that the material is accepted now. And people like the colour, even outside of the content. A lot of it has to do with the Kodak film I was using, which is always bright. It's like if you use AGFA it's always blue and moody.
[Fiona is revisiting some of the subjects from her documentation of early gay culture and rephotographing them]