As part of the Wellington Lux Festival Symposium spanning 22/23 June, Katherine Field and Pepper Curry attended both days and reported back to The Fetch on all the terrific art they interacted with.

Photo credit: Katherine Field
Photo credit: Katherine Field

Last weekend marked the second instalment of the WGTN Lux Festival, celebrating creativity at the interaction of light, space and technology. The festival was plagued by the recent storm in Wellington but fought the odds, with almost all of the artists managing to install these outdoor pieces.

A Symposium occupied the central two days of the four-day event and was a fascinating insight into the creative, scientific and mad minds of the artists – most of whom had pieces dotted around the city for the festival. Twelve artists and a panel discussion entertained an intimate, engaged audience in the Wellington City Gallery over the two days.

Ruairi Glynn from the UK, was a heavyweight addition to the Symposium. His interactive kinetic installations have been exhibited in such esteemed institutions as Centre Pompidou and The Tate Modern. His artwork unfortunately didn’t feature in the festival here, but he was a passionate and engaging speaker. Glynn shared his unending enthusiasm for his projects that create organic and playful human experiences using artificial intelligence and robotics.

A highlight from the first day of the Symposium was also the poetic and humorous tale of experimentation and failure delivered by local lighting designer/artist, Marcus McShane. He spoke about his journey from building solar racecars and land yachts from a young age, to his current frustrating project. The hurricane-force weather of last week plagued (and postponed) the installation of McShane’s permanent artwork in Opera House Lane which was to debut during the Festival.

Day Two of the Symposium featured five more engaging speakers. There seemed to be a recurring theme of playful and complex digital projects inspired by the natural world. Design the Future’s Social Firefly, Antony Nevin’s BELUGA and Pierre Proske’s Blink were three beautiful pieces in the festival that worked with animal interaction in interesting ways.

Lux Lit Tree 2013 Kimchi and Chips
Photo credit: Katherine Field

Elliot Woods from Seoul-based art and design studio, Kimchi and Chips was a standout in his presentation. In 45 minutes he took us through the relatively complex processes that have informed their work, which left some of the less technologically minded audience members barely keeping up. To over-simplify, the duo have explored such concepts as the aesthetics of error, 2D vs. 3D sight, and have a system which creates the emulsion of digital light in physical space. Their enchanting installation in Frank Kitts Park, Lit Tree 2013 goes beyond ‘traditional’ projection-mapping, and illuminates a tree with light that is volumetric and also able to be manipulated.

As a final session, all the participating artists formed a panel. The discussion ventured though topics on the subtleties of true interactive art, negotiating audience expectation, analogue vs. digital experience, and driving creativity by constraints. Rachael Rakena, (co-creator of the beautiful Aniwaniwa from 2007 Venice Biennale) then became the main focus of the discussion, with many of the questions directed at how she copes with the often negative reaction to her provocative artworks such as Haka Peep Show from the Rugby World Cup.

Photo credit: Katherine Field
Photo credit: Katherine Field

The Symposium was an insightful journey into the processes and inspirations of the talented exhibiting artists. Thankfully, the weather cleared for the final two evenings of the festival, to allow a number of Wellingtonians like us to explore the actual installations under the light of a super-moon – most armed with cameras, tripods and many woollen layers!

About our Ambassadors // Katherine Field is one helluva busy lady. In between holding down the fort as the Community Manager at the BizDojo, she is also back at university and helping to coordinate Startup Weekend Wellington. Find her on twitter as @kathfromwelly

Pepper Curry is an illustrator, zine publisher (Press Zine), and audio-visual performer with Subterranean Mountaintop Seaside. She lives in Brooklyn, Wellington, and can be found helping to facilitate greatness at the BizDojo, Monday thru Friday.