Public Programme: I, Here, Now, Vivian Lynn / Deep Listening

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Performance by Christine White and Chris Black

Recent graduates of the Sonic Arts programme at the New Zealand School of Music, Chris Black and Christine White presented two new site-specific sound works at the Adam Art Gallery. Each work was designed to emphasise the unique acoustic properties of the gallery space through an intricate speaker arrangement. Using contact microphones attached to the internal fixtures and surfaces of the building, microscopic sounds within the walls, floors, stair railings, and air ducts were amplified, manipulated and used as raw compositional material. The compositions, built from both pre-existing and live sound material, was then played back to the gallery further amplifying the resonance of the architecture to produce a multi-layered feedback environment.

Adam Art Gallery
Tuesday 3 March

The artist as harrow
Keynote lecture by Anna Smith from the School of Culture, Literature and Society at the University of Canterbury, commissioned by the Adam Art Gallery on the occasion of I, HERE, NOW Vivian Lynn.

The machine that Franz Kafka invents in his short story In the Penal colony is called the Harrow. It is an elaborate torture and execution device that carves the sentence of each imprisoned man on his skin before letting him die. As the plot unfolds, the reader learns more and more about the machine and its intentions. Anna Smith investigated the relationship of the accumulative nature of harrowing to the artistic production of Vivian Lynn, citing her critique of the capitalist ‘machine’ and discussed her use of human hair as another harrowing of the grotesque. Departing from the evident process of Lynn’s work, Smith also looked at the strangeness of adults caught in ‘play’ and whether – by implication – art can save us by its playfulness and aesthetics; or whether in the end we are only left with excoriation.

Anna Smith teaches children’s literature, cultures of the supernatural and postcolonial writing at the University of Canterbury. She has published work on Margaret Mahy, Keri Hulme, Julia Kristeva, Ben Okri and New Zealand women artists. She edited a collection of essays on cultural studies for Victoria University Press with Lydia Wevers and in 2006, published her first novel, Politics 101.

Adam Art Gallery
Thursday 5 March 2009

Out Loud: Using the ‘F’ Word Today
On the occasion of I, HERE, NOW Vivian Lynn, the Adam Art Gallery invited a range of artists, curators, writers and thinkers to consider the very real question of whether a feminist position is viable, useful and necessary in our present moment.

Key questions addressed included: why do artists today shy away from calling themselves feminist? What do we understand to be the legacy of feminism as a driver for contemporary art since the 1960s (if not earlier)? Have the social and political issues with which feminism engaged gone away? What status does feminist theory now have in our thinking about the meaning and function of art? Do we look up to our senior woman artists? How do we account for the recent interest in the history of feminist art practice that has resulted in a number of important exhibitions? And what are the potential strategies and possible exhibition situations that could mine feminism’s complex history to bring the agency of the movement back into play?

Participants included: Christina Barton, Ruth Buchanan, Judy Darragh, Charlotte Huddleston, Vivian Lynn, Sandy Callister, Louise Menzies, Gaylene Preston, Anna Sanderson, and Ruth Watson.

Adam Art Gallery
Thursday 12 March 2009