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Joyce Hinterding and David Haines, Bruny Island Joyce Hinterding and David Haines, Bruny Island
Joyce Hinterding and David Haines are Sydney-based artists who have been exhibiting internationally for over 10 years. With an eclectic background that includes a diploma in gold- and silversmithing and a trade certificate in electronics, Hinterding is best known for her work with installations utilising electricity, electromagnetics and acoustics and for the manufacture of idiosyncratic aerials which render visible innate atmospheric energy. Haines specialises in combining apparently incompatible elements into works exploring landscape and fiction and presenting a “constructed world of the imagination.” His work includes painting, video installations, soundworks, computer-generated pieces and text-based conceptual work.

Last summer, Haines and Hinterding arrived in Tasmania for a 3-month residency at the lighthouse on South Bruny Island, south of Hobart. Bruny is a small unspoiled bushland island. Accessible only by vehicular ferry, it has a limited permanent population but is a popular holiday destination. Like the entire southern coast of Tasmania, Bruny is often described as being “as far south as you can go—the last stop before Antarctica…” Haines and Hinterding share a passion for the landscape and the environment so the South Bruny Lighthouse was a logical location for their residency, which was commissioned by Contemporary Art Services Tasmania.

The lighthouse site was made available by the Tasmanian government’s Parks and Wildlife Division and the Arts Ministry, providing a series of artists’ Wilderness Residencies throughout the state. As local arts administrator Sean Kelly notes, the scheme is very appropriate—if somewhat overdue—and should permit a variety of artists, from different backgrounds and disciplines, to work within and from a wilderness base. It could also extend the discourse on landscape art in the state and counteract its tendency towards the purely representational.

Joyce Hinterding describes the lighthouse as a place “where sky, sea and land meet in a space of watchfulness, beacons and signalling.” She explains that the aim was to “create an environmentally low-impact work that involves the use of fictive and imagistic elements directed by environmental data to create a meta-world, an interior and contemplative space, affected by the surrounding environment.”

In essence the work uses the sensitivities of the local environment to “activate an interior space of the imagination”, the interior of the lighthouse containing a light and sound work generated, created and affected by the passing of all sorts of weather and technologies.
The installation utilises computers, data projectors, a sound system with mixing desk, wind monitoring and radio scanning equipment, a digital video camera and editing system plus assorted microphones, modems, data and antennae. The work monitors and decodes the automatic picture transmissions from passing polar orbiting satellites, translating the data into a sound event and a triggering mechanism for other elements of the installation. Wind-monitoring equipment on the lighthouse determines the speed of footage shown, so that shots are shorter and sharper when the wind is strong and more meditative when the wind is low.

Sound and video footage taken from the local landscape is composited with 3D generated systems where the natural world collides with synthetic imagery. The work grows and evolves over the time of the “exhibition” as the database of real and 3D footage increases. Haines and Hinterding regard the work as a contemporary slant on the tradition of remote landscape works, existing outside the gallery system. In effect, the whole lighthouse becomes a multi-layered high-tech installation artwork, a sort of shrine to the possibilities of new media.

During their residency, the artists became part of the Bruny community, welcoming numerous visitors to the site and interacting with the Hobart arts fraternity. The project coincided with the 2-week Curators’ School in New Media organised in Hobart by CAST and ANAT (Australian Network for Art and Technology). The 50 participants from all around Australia visited the artists at the lighthouse to observe the work in progress, an experience highly regarded by all involved.

At Hobart’s School of Art the pair participated in the weekly public forum (in which influential and interesting contemporary artists, designers, curators and arts administrators, both Australian and international, discuss their work). These sessions are usually enlightening, but Haines’ and Hinterding’s presentation, in which they spoke about the residency in the context of their earlier works, was certainly one of the highlights in the forum program to date. With their self-deprecating humour and enthusiasm, the artists were able to take a difficult, even obscure, science-based, specialised subject, expound it to an arts-and-humanities audience, and make it accessible, intelligible—even entertaining and amusing. Like the installation itself, this was quite an achievement.

All quotations from the artists’ statements.

New Media Residency and Installation by Joyce Hinterding and David Haines, CAST, Bruny Island, Southern Tasmania, March - April 1999

RealTime issue #31 June-July 1999 pg. 38

© Di Klaosen; for permission to reproduce apply to [email protected]

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