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9/22/2014 Tasmanian Experimental Technology and Art | Experimenta Blog

Technology and Art JUNE 30, 2014 | EXPERIMENTA MEDIA ARTS BLOG (Author : Erin Davidson)

Glitch Glade by Nick Smithies
Tasmanian Experimental Technology and Art

Nowadays when you read about art in Tasmania, often the Museum of New and Old Art [MONA] immediately springs to mind and if not, somehow the thread seems to tie back to that unorthodox and endearing little Museum on the Derwent. Love it or hate it, MONA and in particular its array of public programs and events offers audiences an opportunity to experience and discover some of
Tasmania’s most dynamic local artists, especially those working in experimental and technology based arts. It is not often audiences from beyond the art world get to experience first hand the creative outlets for such genres, but twice a year events such as MONAFOMA and Dark MOFO draw thousands of people southwards.
For MONAFOMA (2013/2014) Bent, Twisted and Upset saw Nick Smithies, a Hobart­ based electronic artist and musician collaborate with the Tasmanian Artist Blacksmith Association for the live performance. In this five ­hour work Smithies innovatively live remixed the sounds of metal being bent, twisted and upset. A shame if you missed it, as Smithies is one of these dynamic local artists to watch. With recent projects at CTM festival, Berlin, Germany, as well as Dark MOFO, Constance ARI, Contemporary Art Tasmania and Salamanca Arts Centre he captivates audiences by pushing the limits of technology based arts.[i]
After experiencing Smithies work, a networked artist community called Miss Despoinas, spiked curiosity in all that is digital uncovered. Miss Despoinas is a Hobart ­based non­profit organisation that via their Critical Engineering Space (miss­ hack.org) offers virtual and physical access to artists, activists. Their website encourages, any “like­ minded individuals to share and exchange ideas and let loose their creative inner daemons”.[ii] Started by Nancy Mauro­Flude in 2008 and with other members including Julia Drouhin, Kylie Johnson, Pip Stafford and Nick Smithies, the mission of this technological support group is simple; “to maintain an accessible and holistic approach to technology”. [iii]
As well as their online presence, Miss Despoinas develops and facilitates events, meetings, talks, workshops, performances and exhibitions.
In 2013, Australian and International artists, programmers and educators descended on Hobart alongside early­ career local artists for the month­ long project Networked Art Forms and Tactical Magick Faerie Circuits (NAF:TMFC).[iv] Developed by the Miss Despoinas group and taking place at Contemporary Art Tasmania, Tasmanian School of Art, University of Tasmania and broadcast live on the radio and the Internet, those involved discussed and generated ideas responding to digital culture and the future of the networked world. Nancy Mauro­Flude (curator and co­convenor) considers what emerged from the two part program as“(a) continuing enthusiasm of people in Tasmania who wanted to continue to engage in more experiential modes as art practice”.[v]
The group are now preparing to host their next project, Pataphysical Salon.[vi] Mauro­Flude reveals that one of the main questions for the salon emerged from NAF:TMFC and ingeniously poses, is a digital perm possible? Miss Despoinas members will create a Pataphysical Salon of works including performance, a live broadcasting pirate radio station, computer knitted sound book, object and sound based installations, a Wikipedia/Myth­o­ pedia/Edit­a­thon workshop and the intriguing digital perm that consider “solutions (that) are artistic and imaginary but also technical and concrete” [vii] and ultimately aims “to provoke and highlight the discrepancy between available technology and the speculations projected on to it”.[viii] So, if you are bound for Tasmania in October make sure to book yourself in for a visit to the salon to experience a technological make over unlike anything you have seen before.

Erin Davidson is an independent curator and Museum Assistant at the Anne & Gordon Samstag Museum of Art, Adelaide.


[i] Read more at http://nicksmithies.org/?start [ii] Read more at http://www.miss­hack.org/?about [iii] Read more at http://www.miss­hack.org/?about
[iv] NAF:TMFC was also a satellite event of the International Symposium on Electronic Art (ISEA2013) and partnered the Museum of New and old Art [MONA] as part of Dark MOFO 2013 for the presentation of Notorious R&D at CAST Saturday 23 May. http://tacticalmagick.net/about The NAF:TMFC two part program included symposia, workshops, meetings, performances and exhibition (Notorious R&D).
[v] From an email conversation with Nancy Mauro­Flude, June 2014.
[vi] Read more at http://www.arts.tas.gov.au/artsatwork/146_artspace/146_artspace_2014_gallery_program
9 October – 6 November 2014, Pataphysical Salon, 146 Artspace. Hobart
[vii] From an email conversation with Nancy Mauro­Flude, June 2014.
[viii] From an email conversation with Nancy Mauro­Flude, June 2014.

Original article in .pdf here
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