Ian Clothier
Since the beginning
Works in New Plymouth New Zealand

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Online voting for the constitution of the DISTRICT OF LEISTAVIA, created for ISEA 2004 has commenced. Voting is open to anyone, with results announced in Tallinn on the 17th of August.

The voting form questions reflect the cultures of Estonia, Pitcairn Island and Norfolk Island. Issues around sovereignty, accessibility, resource usage and protection are among those that arose.

You can vote at:

Project team - Ian M Clothier, Kylli Mariste, Joe Flynn. Contact for queries: hybridia1@yahoo.com


the DISTRICT OF LEISTAVIA welcomes you at ISEA 2004

Thu Jul 08, 2004 16:35

{??&theDISTRICT OF LEISTAVIAwelcomesyou||participate++.1234END}

Do not adjust your keyboard. This is a call to artists and interested persons: you are invited to participate, collaborate and contribute.

Gender equality, sustainable use of resources, birds, cats, boats, hybrid cultures and interconnections between cultures: are one or more of these of interest to you? If so, this projects invites your participation.

the DISTRICT OF LEISTAVIA welcomes you at ISEA 2004
Internet space will be territorialised as part of a project for ISEA 2004. The project falls within the umbrella of the interRepublic of Hybridia, a nonlinear, non-geographical entity mediated by digital files - it's cultural boundary is ultimately flexible.

The District of Leistavia within the interRepublic of Hybridia is a projected hybrid cultural space influenced by cultures worldwide. People of all backgrounds are invited to contribute. The project is one of a growing number of ‘digital fluxus’ type events. Contributions can be in the form of the gift of images (copyright free only), taking part in the discussion and collaborating.

Interested persons and artists are free to dream of a space unhindered by orthodoxy, where hierarchy is not presumed. The space will then be created. What is able to be done in the name of Leistavia depends on the discussion that occurs.

If a zone was territorialised from law making up, what kind of zone would be generated, in 2004? That is one question this project sets out to answer. The discussion will take place via email, be documented on web pages and an image collection assembled and projected. Should this space then be de-territorialised?

Image and text context
Cultural interconnections will be sought and images combined and manipulated to suit. People of all cultures are invited to take part in the project, and a special request is made to people of the cultures of Estonia and Finland, and Pitcairn-Norfolk culture. These and other cultural energies will flow through the DISTRICT OF LEISTAVIA [see note 1 below].

The 1838 Laws of Pitcairn Island, a unique document, is used as a starting point for locating connections. The Laws gave women and men the vote and made education compulsory for both genders. Sustainable use of wood resource was vital. The gravest criminal act in 1838 was to kill a cat, for which there was a fine of $50. There were no laws against assault, stealing or murder as these were unknown. White birds were also protected in the Laws.

Aspects of the Pitcairn Laws used as context for cultural interconnection in this project are gender equality, sustainability, and birds & cats. Boat stories or mythologies are also likely to be an interconnecting factor. Further interconnections may also be discovered in the process.

What to do
Email the co-ordinating artist Ian M Clothier at i.clothier@witt.ac.nz and register your interest. Please read the comments about contributions by clicking on the {+GIVE%=YOU} link, and related material at the project interim web pages:
Mirror: http://ianclothier.orcon.net.nz/hybridia/index.htm

Ian M Clothier

Note 1. Known main cultural groups in Finland, Estonia, Norfolk Island and Pitcairn Island are: Finn, Swede, Sami, Roma, Tatar, Estonian, Russian, Ukranian, Belarusian, descendants of Bounty mutineers, English, Tahitian, Australian, New Zealander, Maori, Polynesian and others. Others are welcome to contribute/participate.


Bloom: mutation, toxicity and the sublime

Bloom: mutation, toxicity and the sublime
A review by Ian M Clothier

When I run over the frightful catalogue of my sins, I cannot believe that I
am the same creature whose thoughts were once filled with sublime and
transcendent visions of the beauty and majesty of goodness - Frankenstein's
monster [1].

Sins of the grotesque:

Where once dark angst pervaded the frames that conveyed monstrous
abnormality, thanks to software and Patricia Piccinini (In bocca al lupo,
2003) the vast, ghastly enterprise of biomorphic modulation can be seen in
the clear twilight of digital media. Her luridly bulbous animations, replete
with suggested orifices and given character by flaws, were suspended and
more horrific for their lack of anatomical specificity. It is as if indeed a
mad scientist had bred not pigs with human ears, but generic organs made of
the every humanimal. Organs coated with the imperfections of human skin -
moles and veins, nipples and warts - twisted and gyrated until one hapless
pustule detached from its foothold and disappeared. It was undeniably
grotesque yet the question could be asked of it: what exactly is there to be
afraid of?

What was perhaps surprising about Bloom: mutation, toxicity and the sublime
[2] was not the round condemnation of things genetically modified but rather
the ambivalence of the artists on the subject of conceptual relationship to
notions of the sublime (surely a well visited notion in Western art history)
and the articulation of its related concepts.

A video piece by Motohiko Odani (Rompers, 2003) featured frogs with human
ears, neighbours on the genetic tree to the rats with human ears that have
actually been nurtured in the science laboratory. The frogs, bees, birds,
worms and squirrels of Odani's bestiary frolicked around an Alice in
Wonderland type character, who had a tongue to catch flies, and some false
brow work to underline the fantasy. Condemnation in this colorific paradise
seemed out of order.

Sins of the toxic:

This is not to say that the tragic side of the toxic was overlooked. Jun
Nguyen-Hatsushiba (Memorial project Minimata: neither either nor neither - a
love story 2003) makes video and performance based work around the dumping
of mercury in Minimata Bay Japan, a tragedy of real human proportion
(initially denied by authorities). In dream like video sequences a
performance began to unravel and a state of suspended grace was evoked,
where the eerie depths of the bay projected as a toxic sublime. The
participants in the performance shared oxygen, risking tragedy while
reflecting it.

Danger signs would also be entirely appropriate to Denise Kum's installation
Flocculate flow (2003). In lurid whirls of coloured grease, Kum used soap
and petroleum based products to create the scenario of a toxic waste dump,
complete with modified industrial palette footbridge. This was sculpture
dematerialized into gloop, coloristic sensibility gone emphatically and
post-Pollock berserk. Kum spun on a coin that shimmered playful seductive
colour on one side and industrial slag heap on the other. Ambivalence.

Susan Norrie's Undertow (2002) invited a contemplative and even solemn
reflective state, providing equal measures of horror, spectacle, tragedy,
monstrosity and positivity. The installation took place in the semi-light of
the sources, the projections generating a physical, digital twilight. In
this light the tragedy of toxic spillage is countered by an enduring sense
of the positive: toxicity and nature, united by awe. The work consisted of a
multiplicity of moving image sources - four data projectors (three encased
in Star Wars reminiscent giraffe legged boxes), a video monitor and digital
hand-held device (the latter two separately encased in the wall). One
projector threw fourteen foot high images of the sea, a lake on fire, and a
dust storm over Melbourne. A second projected a persistent shot of mud
pools, while a third showed a meteorological service film about weather
balloons and the fourth displayed images of oil slick being cleaned from
birds that were then put back in cardboard boxes. The TV monitor played home
video of cherry blossom watching in Japan, occurring early due to global
warming according to one website [3]. The hand-held device, the site stated,
shows a scene from the Orson Wells’ film The Trial - Anthony Perkins
character K (the guilty party) watching Naydra Shore carrying a large
suitcase over nondescript badlands.

Putting these images together in backwards respective order, we have flight
and guilt, global warming framed by home video, environmental devastation,
attempts to define and control weather, the persistent energy of nature, and
the power, spectacle and strength of nature. Structurally, the images of
this artwork together create an articulation of superpositions [4] rather
than a singular expression of environmental negativity. Resilience to
singular reduction is what makes the piece so successful: within the
articulated superpositions there is sufficent room for many readings. Norrie
has undoubtedly created a major new media artwork, inexplicably pulling
together a space of contemplation using images that range from the banal to
the awe inspiring.

Sins of the genetically modified:

Christine Borland (The Aether sea, 1999) took real, actual human DNA and
altered it, giving it the character of jellyfish that glow in the dark.
Across the walls of a darkened space swam moving images of said jellyfish,
ambling through the depths. In the centre of the room, a gently tipping tray
held a sheet of genetically modified human DNA and rocked back and forth to
a tide made by a chemist’s machine. The interspecies cross-fertilisation of
genetic material is of course highly contentious, and the medical use of
this fluorescent dye as a marker for rogue cancerous cells can be offered as
excusing its use here and in medical quarters. Maybe. Contention and counter
argument twist around this work, strangely reflecting the structure of the
gene. All the while, the jellyfish swam oblivious to the angst they
generated - twin projections enhancing a sensation of freely floating

Eduardo Kac went one step further and created a transgenic artwork [5] that
invited the viewer to take part in genetic modification, live via the
Internet. In Genesis (1999-2003), Kac took a line from the biblical Book of
Genesis, translated it into Morse Code, and then into strings of the ACTG
base pairs that create DNA chains. This synthetic gene was then incorporated
into bacteria.

Images of the bacteria moving around were projected in a dark, tight, and
nearly claustrophobic installation area. In fluorescent green text on three
remaining walls were the originating Genesis sentence "Let man have dominion
over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every
living thing that moves upon the earth," its Morse Code translation, and the
DNA sequence. Viewers could log onto a website, and turn an ultraviolet
light above the bacteria on and off, altering not only the physical
structure of the bacteria, but also its genetic makeup. Which is to say,
metaphorically at least, that the originating sentence had been altered,
itself genetically modified. The website experience was counterpoised to the
experience of the installed component, creating a distinct sense of
dislocation when interacting with the website. The consequences of user acts
were blind, though it must be said that a spatially dislocated online
experience is not inappropriate to the Internet.

In a way similar to Susan Norrie's Undertow, the various parts of Genesis
together create a sense of articulated superposition. In addition to the use
of the web as the basis for interactive structure, there is the intersection
of the Internet and electricity (turning the UV light on and off using
'Bluetooth' type technology); a further intersection/superposition with the
sphere of the biological; yet another superposition of biology and genetic
structure; which in turn is overlaid with the codification of language
(English/Morse Code/DNA phrasing); and finally an association with culture
and religion - Western culture and the Book of Genesis. This articulation of
superpositions lies at the heart of Kac's Genesis. The conception is
majestic and the work provides one benchmark of new media practice, of
dynamic systems integration that replicates systems processes rather than
mimics visual reality. Western culture's myth of creation is here presented
without illusory perspective.

Grotesque, toxic and genetically modified: an excellent catalogue of sins,
twined with the sublime.


[1]. From Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, page 91 (Wordsworth edition 1994).

[2]. Curated by Gregory Burke, director of the Govett-Brewtser Art Gallery.
Image courtesy of the Govett-Brewster and O.

[3]. Deferred detonations: thrilling pessimism by Robert Cook
http://www.realtimearts.net/ rt55/cook.html

[4]. The phrase 'articulation of superpositions' is sourced in the writing
of Deleuze and Guattari, cited in Manuel De Landa's A thousand years of
nonlinear history, page 64 (Zone Books 1997).

[5]. Further information about this work can be obtained from Kac's website


seven sisters

seven sisters
Whether it's seven sisters, seven dwarfs, seven seas, seven rebirths, seven samurai, seven times lucky, or seven/24, seven has associations that stretch across cultures and time. This mesage is one of seven open calls for as many seven associations as possible, for a piece I'm working on, which will have web pages and an installation component