Sunday, August 31, 2008


'Porkomo, the day that Germany apologised for the their treatment of Marlene Dietrich'

Arken Museum for Modern Kunst- a modernist beauty designed by Soren Lund and framed in this photo by an Olufur Eliasson sculpture. Inside are the Damien Hirsts and Jeff Koons you might expect of a museum of contemporary art but with the addition of some great Nordic art works from an Agser Jorn mural which once adorned the walls of a farmhouse on the island of Laeso to a collection of contemporary landscape photos called 'Nordic Moods', mmm quite similar to the feel of landscape photography in Aoteroa as well (Antipodean moods?). The 'weather diaries' of Finnish photographer Jari Silomaki, where a daily record of weather and fragments of personal and political events are scrawled onto a collection of photos play on the 19th century use of the weather diary as a barometer of internal and external pressures.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

recycled plastics (RPET)

I'm looking into recycled acrylic materials for my installation for Impact 09. So instead of using more long chain polymers derived from oil as in previous projects - I would like to test recycled materials for the constructed screen shapes. This company looks promising: 

"Holstebro-based plastics converter Færch Plast has become one of the first in the world to produce packaging for the food industry which utilizes plastic from recycled carbonated soft drink bottles. The recycled material is the widely used thermoplastic PET*, and the big advantage of its reuse is that it significantly reduces CO2 emissions associated with the manufacture of the new plastic item. The recycled plastic bottles are rinsed and pulverised before being melted in the extruder. Færch Plast estimates that if the recycled PET (called "RPET") accounts for half the material in a new product, the associated CO2 emission is reduced by 40%."

Friday, August 29, 2008

not an Al Gore documentary

// the windvane on the Round tower astronomical observatory//

Dorkbot, Copenhagen

I gave a talk last night at the 'mikro gallery' - an underground artist run space in Norrebro near where I am staying. I discovered I have really forgotten how to ride a bicycle as I attempted the ubiquitous form of transportation in Denmark to reach the tiny space. Dorkbot, CPH branch is a friendly group of artists and interaction designers and other networked people. Jacob Sikker Remin  has a webcam set up on the street outside his new gallery and he has plans for an interactive touch screen on the window from the outside of the window to engage people on the street. Norrebro is in the more grungey, culturally diverse North side of Copenhagen (I like it here).

Spanish technology guru David Cuartielles (and David Sjunnesson) from K3 at Malmo (Sweden's just over the bridge) spoke about their latest project 1scale1. - David is the inventer of the Arduino electronic device for interactive projects which I first came across in an ANAT workshop with Beatrix Da Costa in Melbourne . They are provoking their students to 'go to war' in their next project at malmo university to design weapons ! (?) - if you can't beat them - join them. They hope this will challenge students to invent new concepts for electronic, interactive prototypes. 

Alie Rose from CIID (Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design) and her colleague Simona may have some good ideas on more energy efficient technologies to use in the IMPACT exhibition so I will arrange a meeting with her shortly - this is part of my investigations while I am here. Anne Sophie also spoke about her network Tekne and the work they are doing between art, communication and industry. 

I guess I'm going to have to get used to the 'what can art really do about an issue like climate change' question. Its always a hard one to answer when I am ambivalent about the potential of  art (well my own art anyway) as a direct political tool ( - its not an Al Gore documentary, more about sensory ways of knowing?)

Today I had my first meeting with Jesper and Rune at NERI. We discussed the kind of material that I might work with and arranged times to meet with several scientists to discuss their projects. They were concerned that my research might be very broad ranging and I reassured them that it would be quite a specific scientific project that I would like to work with. They were interested in whether I would complete a work or part there-of in the residency. I would like to make some animation  on site with their material - this would also be helpful to the scientists as it gives them a physical sense of the animal's movements in space. I am interested in working with the tracking of  animals where there may be corresponding research I can also do in the Southern hemisphere, or birds with global migration patterns such as the Arctic Tern. I also met with scientist Carsten Egevang who spent the summer on 'sand island' (from above it looks like a tropical island but it actually usually engulfed in ice) in Eastern Greenland tagging Arctic tern with data logging devices to find out their migration patterns. Jesper asked Carsten to give me a presentation on his fresh research results. He was very excited with the initial results of the recovered data from a very basic data logger which revealed the bird's location by the light intensity which indicated their latitude. He now has evidence to show that the birds travel from North to South poles in their migration patterns. There is an infectious enthusiasm for the work they are doing amongst the scientists at NERI - and I have a desk space already.  

At NERI today

Sunday, August 10, 2008

early stages

Articles in the mail have given me a bit of a prior idea about the work I will do with scientists in Denmark, including this visualisation of polar bear movements, traced by satellite tracking devices. 

I'm travelling from Melbourne to work with Environmental scientist Jesper Madsen at NERI (National Environmental Research Institute). Jesper has sent me articles he has written about his research in the coastal regions of Denmark. His team studies the narwhal and porpoise, polar bears and bird species. He has sent me his visualisations of the data created by satellite tracking the movements of the animals in the fjords. The satellite track patterns are like drawings in space. A lot of artists have worked with humans as mobile generators of patterns (see locative media art) but animals also provide traces of geographic movements. These traces reveal if their movements have shifted as the climate changes.