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    Creative Antarctica Symposium

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    Event description

    Learn more about the residency program that initiated Polar Force + Array - an immersive and multi-sensorial performance work which explores the infinite complexity of Antarctica, presented by Speak Percussion for Now or Never Festival

    The Creative Antarctica Symposium draws its inspiration from a team of researchers investigating the value and impact of artists and writers who have travelled to the far south to express different thematic and artistic concerns. Through a series of presentations and discussions, a comprehensive history and analysis of Antarctic stories, sounds, and images produced by Australian artists and writers will emerge. At a time when Antarctica's future is threatened by warming temperatures and geopolitical tensions, the symposium will offer a broader engagement with the opportunities and tensions underpinning the ice continent.    

      

    Chair 

    Philip Samartzis 

    Bio: Philip Samartzis is a Melbourne based sound artist and researcher with a specific interest in the social and environmental conditions informing remote wilderness regions and their communities. Philip is the recipient of three Australian Antarctic Territory Fellowships which he is using to construct a sound map of Eastern Antarctica. Polar Force which he produced in collaboration with Speak Percussion received an Honorary Mention for the Digital Musics and Sound Art Category at the 2019 Prix Ars Electronica. Philip is a Professor at RMIT School of Art where he leads the Cold Climate Research Lab and is the artistic director of the Bogong Centre for Sound Culture. 

      

    Speakers 

    Adele Jackson  

    Curation of exhibitions, publications, archives, and collections is at the heart of how Antarctica is imagined and interpreted. What responsibilities do curators have to the past, present, and future of Antarctica? Whose stories are represented and whose are missing? How might Antarctic histories be re-imagined and re-presented? Based on an international panel discussion co-chaired by Adele Jackson and Jean de Pomereu during the 2023 SCAR SC-HASS Antarctic humanities and social science conference, this session explores the values, questions, and considerations that guide the selection, presentation, and stewardship of Antarctic-focused ideas, stories, art, and artefacts.   

    Bio: Adele Jackson is an artist, curator and researcher interested in the interrelationships between nature and culture. Adele is Curator Human History, with a specialism in Antarctic history, at Canterbury Museum, Aotearoa New Zealand. Her work investigates the role of art and material culture in developing understandings of the far south. Hosted at the University of Canterbury, Adele is an adjunct researcher with the University of Tasmania supporting the ARC-funded Creative Antarctica project. She has worked in Antarctica in heritage and public engagement roles. Between 2014-2020 she led Antarctic Sun Lines, an arts-based collaboration with national Antarctic programs.   

     

    Elizabeth Leane  

    Works of art and literature can question our presumptions, engage our emotions, and inspire us to think innovatively about our relationship with the Antarctic region. Australia, a nation with close historical, geographical, and political connections to Antarctica, has a long history of supporting creative arts practitioners to experience the continent. However, to date there has been no large-scale critical or curatorial response to this history and no in-depth analysis of the best models for future efforts. This presentation will outline a three-year Australian Research Council project that will collect, analyse, and showcase Australian artists’ and writers’ accounts of their experiences in Antarctica and their creative responses to this challenging and threatened place. 

    Bio: Elizabeth Leane is Professor of Antarctic Studies in the School of Humanities, College of Arts, Law and Education at the University of Tasmania. Her research examines how people form their ideas of Antarctica through both cultural texts and lived experience of the environment, and how these two ways of knowing the region interact. She is the author or editor of seven books, including Antarctica in Fiction, South Pole: Nature and Culture and Performing Ice. A former Australian Antarctic Arts Fellow, Elizabeth is Arts and Culture editor of The Polar Journal, and leader of the Australian Research Council funded project, “Creative Antarctica: Australian Artists and Writers in the Far South.” 

    Sachie Yasuda 

    The Australian Antarctic Arts Fellowship has enabled generations of artists to interpret the Antarctic environment and their experiences within it, and share these insights with others. The residency program has hosted creatives including writers Jesse Blackadder and Favel Parrett, visual artists Janet Laurence and John Kelly, photographer Leila Jeffreys, musician Alice Giles, children’s authors Coral Tulloch and Alison Lester, and many others. Artists are vital in weaving together the physical and emotional stories of the icy continent and the people who work there. For many it has been a life changing experience, profoundly influencing their work for years after their Antarctic residency. This presentation will discuss the issues and considerations relating to selection and facilitation of projects and the legacy of the program and its outcomes. 

    Bio: Sachie Yasuda is Engagement Manager at the Australian Antarctic Division (Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water) and coordinates the Australian Antarctic Arts Fellowship. Since 1984 the Australian Antarctic Program has taken artists and writers south to raise awareness, understanding and appreciation of Antarctica, the sub-Antarctic and Southern Ocean. With a background in outreach, engagement and communication, her work balances the operational constraints of a national Antarctic program with the creative needs of artists from a diverse range of disciplines. 

     

    Eugene Ughetti 

    Polar Force is an immersive live performance by Speak Percussion combining custom built ice and wind instruments with Antarctic field recordings, set within a chilled inflatable performance space resembling a remote outpost. High fidelity field recordings made in the Australian Antarctic Territory of katabatic winds and extreme weather events form the musical and structural foundation of the work to provide audiences with vivid and tactile experiences of the natural, anthropogenic and geophysical forces shaping the frozen continent. Eugene Ughetti will discuss the evolution of Polar Force and the ways it speaks to climate change and global geopolitical tension underpinning the ice continent. 

    Bio: Eugene Ughetti is the founding artistic director of Speak Percussion. His artistic output is primarily an exploration of the materiality of percussion, but his work could also engage with ideas like drum aged rum, supersonic performance, or the percussive military. Eugene is known for tackling complex and ambitious art music projects whether as director, composer, performer, or conductor. He has worked with some of the world’s finest conductors including Valery Gergiev, James Levine, Pierre Boulez, and Charles Dutoit and has composed works for The Australian Ballet, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, ABC and Bionics Institute. Eugene won the inaugural Sidney Myer Creative Fellowship (2012), MCA/Freedman Fellowship for Classical Music (2011), OZCO Creative Music Fellowship and various national Art Music Awards for his work with Speak Percussion. 

     

    Melissa de Laney 

    Bio: Melissa de Laney is the Chief Executive officer at the Australian Network for Art and Technology (ANAT). Melissa’s work dwells in the intersections of arts and cultural development, education and government, recreation, wellness, creative industries, technology and science, in work she sees as social sculpture. A vital focus of the work and practice is interdisciplinary partnerships and collaboration. With high levels of cultural fluency, when leading organisations Melissa continues building an international network, mostly interested in participatory forms - this includes residencies, programs and events, strategy, and facilitating spaces for others to connect and be creative, active and social. Melissa was a Sir Edward 'Weary' Dunlop Fellowship recipient as part of the Asialink Leaders Program, 2021 and is a current peer assessor for the Australia Council for the Arts (2021-2023). 

     

    Sean Williams 

    Bio: Sean Williams is a #1 New York Times-bestselling, multi-award-winning author of over sixty books and one hundred and twenty shorter publications. In 2017, he visited Casey station through the Australian Antarctica Division’s Arts Fellowship, there to research an alternate history narrative combining the Heroic Age of exploration with War of the Worlds. Since his return, he has published several works inspired by his expedition, “Last of the Rational Actors at the End of the Unnatural World” in Griffith Review being the most recent in 2022. In addition to literary responses, his four-hour minimalist album Hyperaurea: Echoes of Antarctica was released in April from US label Projekt Records.  

     

    Martin Walch 

    Bio: Martin Walch is a Tasmanian artist working in the visual arts. Walch was awarded the 2017/18 Australian Antarctic Arts Fellowship, and spent the austral summer at Mawson Station in East Antarctica, where he created compelling visual representations of human activity and environmental change in the Antarctic. Employing time-lapse and still photography, real-time video, animation, and data visualisation, Walch’s works document and investigate a range of human and naturally driven processes that operate in this remote and sensitive region. The resultant artworks explore the distortions of space and time experienced by those living and working at Mawson Station under the constant daylight of the Antarctic summer. 


    PROGRAM

    Program: 
    09.15                 AOC and Welcome (Philip Samartzis, RMIT)  
    09.30                     Artists and Writers in the Far South (Elizabeth Leane, UTAS)  
    10.00                     Conversation with AAT Fellowship alumnus Martin Walch and Sean Williams  
                                 (Led by Melissa de Laney, ANAT)  
    11.00                     Break                      
    11.30                     Curating Antarctica (Adele Jackson, University of Canterbury)  
    12.00                     Polar Force Project Overview (Eugene Ughetti, Speak Percussion)  
    12.30                     Creative Antarctica Exhibition Preview (Philip Samartzis, RMIT)  
    13.00                     Wrap 

    We warmly invite you to join us for complimentary light food after the symposium, as an opportunity to mingle with our speakers. 

    Supported by the City of Melbourne, the Victoria State Government, RMIT University and the University of Tasmania. 


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