musings on a glass box
‘Musings on a glass box’ occupies the entire ground floor of the jean nouvel-designed building, generating an immersive and captivating environment split between two adjacent gallery spaces. In the first volume, a fabricated leak in the ceiling generates single droplets of water, which then fall from 12 specified points in the structure’s roof. Each drip is then caught below in a red robotic bucket that moves in synchronization with the falling water. At the same time, an enormous LED screen hung within the neighboring gallery invites visitors to view nouvel’s ceiling from the perspective of the bucket, projecting a wavy and distorted image.
In Supermajor, a rack of vintage oil cans sits innocuously on the gallery floor. A punctured can, located somewhere mid-stack, has sprung a leak. The oil flows out in a steady trickle, cascading onto the pedestal below; a golden-brown pool forms at its base. Upon closer inspection, however, the oil is not originating from the can. Instead, its stream is reversed. Drop-by-drop the oil flows upwards, defying gravity. At times, droplets even appear to hover in mid-air. Returning to its source, the upward ascent of oil continues uninterrupted as if neither the can’s reserves of the nor the puddle’s can ever be depleted.
A stiff cyborg, fixed with a glazed and expressionless stare, dips her fingers into an alien-like amniotic fluid. Gravity shifts as droplets reverse upwards, forming a pulsing headpiece that encases her smooth, almost porcelain skull. ‘Future Body’, a new film by Nirma Madhoo, uses CGI and animated 3D modelling to explore technological embodiment, enacting it in a character that transgresses expected gender roles in a newly mechanised system of digital-infused aesthetics.
Set in the clinical, segmented interiors of a simulated hyper-real space, Madhoo’s cyborg is found dressed for battle, in pieces forming exoskeletons, a spinal scorpion’s tail and mantis-like shoes, designed by Iris van Herpen. A collision between her human and technological self is physicalised as she undergoes mitosis, splitting into two and performing a combative dance with her duplicate.
Currently showing in Melbourne in an exhibition titled ‘Fashion Performance: Materiality, Meaning, Media’, alongside work from Hussein Chalayan, BOUDICCA and POSTmatter collaborator Bart Hess, it offers a glimpse into the collapse of gender, species and machine into one another, in turn reimagining the future for fashion design and communication.
Symphony in D Minor
‘Symphony in D Minor’ is an interactive sound and video installation on an epic scale. A thunderstorm contained within a series of large hand cast resin sculptures, each individual form is a unique instrument hanging from the ceiling. Suspended just within reach and activated by touch, the viewer sets the symphony in motion by pushing the forms through the air to trigger the various sound elements of the storm. Sensors relay individual recordings of thunder, lightning, wind and rain with alternating intensities to a full-scale sound system. Acting as both conductor and musician, the viewer creates an evolving composition out of atmospheric sounds, forging an environment that envelops the audience. Housed within each piece are 2 video projectors employing mapping software to evenly fill the surface of the forms. Like giant illuminated pendulums each sculpture radiates video projections that in their dormant state display abstractions of water droplets and slow moving clouds. As the sensors detect movement different ranges initiate more visual elements of the storm. Once activated, the form then shifts to a swirling torrent of clouds.