ANAT: News #38


A Digital Region?

We have had great feedback over the last two months regarding the focus initiated in the last newsletter: A Digital Region?. Niranjan Rajah’s article has excited interesting comments regarding the issues of net/working in our geographic region. ANAT member, Geniwate, responds to his article in this newsletter. Niranjan’s article is also followed up by Shuddhabrata Sengupta, who works with RAQs Media Collective and Sarai: a recent initiative established in Delhi, India, to develop new media initiatives, with a particular focus on the South East Asian region. Shuddhabrata participated in the Next5Minutes3 conference in Amsterdam earlier this year, and the paper he presented at N5M3 is republished in this newsletter. He will also be visiting Australia at the end of September for Resistant Media - NxT project in Darwin.

I recently travelled to Perth for the opening of ARX5 at the Perth Institute of Contemporary Art and attended the associated forum, <>. The Perth event was the second residency project in a series of three residencies. Five artists from Hong Kong, five from Singapore and five from Australia congregated in a three-week residence in Singapore last September, and again in June, for a three-week residency in Perth. In October, the project and all of the artists who participated, will travel to Hong Kong. The opening of the ARX5 exhibition was a most happening affair (as always at PICA) replete with a moving welcome by local elder Kevin Cameron, of the Nyoongar people, and a number of lively performances by the exhibiting artists. The forum held on the following day spent considerable time going over the issues associated with the withdrawal (or as it was being discussed at the forum, censorship) of Zunzi Wang Ki Kwan’s work in Singapore, removed from the exhibition space shortly before the exhibition opened at the Singapore Art Museum. This clearly controversial matter highlighted the sensitivities of working across such diverse cultures within Asian regions. For me, a highlight of the forum was an eloquent paper presented by Lee Weng-Choy through Ray Langenbach who was requested by Lee Weng-Choy not to read the paper before presenting it. Weng-Choy, through the body of Langenbach, discussed difficult questions in regard to the body, gender, identity, representation and cultural displacement, in the context of cultural exchange by juxtaposing his voice with Ray Langenbach’s body in the presentation of the paper.

The artists participating in the project are: Cedric Chan Ho Fung, Hong Kong; Destiny Deacon, Australia ; Jane Finlay, Australia; Joan Grounds, Australia; Erin Hefferon, Australia; Jeremy Hiah Buang Hoe, Singapore; Lucas Ihlein, Australia; Khiew Huey Chian, Singapore; Anthony Leung, Hong Kong; Jason Lim Eng, Singapore; John Low, Singapore; Suzann Victor, Singapore; Fiona Wong Lai Ching, Hong Kong; John Wong Chi Wai, Hong Kong; Zunzi Wong Ki Kwan, Hong Kong.

In September, the Asia Pacific Triennial (APT) will, for the first time, include a “virtual triennial” in the form of an online exhibition and Screen Culture screening program. The Multimedia Arts Asia Pacific Festival (MAAP) will also coincide with the APT, hosting a series of events during September and a component of the APT Conference, at which Niranjan Rajah will be a keynote speaker. See A Digital Region? listings for further information on these events. ANAT have also been liaising with MAAP regarding a series of online collaborative projects they are establishing for the event, which will be launched shortly.


Project Updates

Whilst ANAT now moves toward developing some of our programs around the theme of A Digital Region?, the deep immersion: scientific serendipity residencies continue to gather momentum, with David Rogers working on Scismic: a project exploring seismological disturbance.
The FOLDBACK touring exhibition, with support from Visions Australia, has recently been exhibited at 24 HourArt in Darwin. This coincided with the first ever ANAT National Indigenous School in New Media Art, held in association with the Northern Territory University in Darwin. The School was a fantastic success and ANAT has every intention for it to lead to further initiatives of a similar nature. During the FOLDBACK tour and The ANAT Indigenous School, I was interviewed on radio with the ABC in Darwin, with both projects receiving really favourable responses in the Darwin press. FOLDBACK will next show at the Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts, and opens there on September 30.
In June ANAT, in association with Metro Screen Ltd and the University of New South Wales College of Fine Art, participated in a live online project with the Bauhaus University in Weimar. Titled FUSION, this was the first of three projects we are working on during 1999 under the banner of Resistant Media. Resistant Media for Perspecta99 is now operating a listserv discussion and a web exhibition will be launched on August 20, 1999. From the 30th September to 4th of October, the NxT: Northern Territory Xposure Multimedia Symposium will take place in Darwin, and a further Resistant Media space will be set up for that event at the Ski Club, adjacent to the Northern Territory Museum and Art Gallery.


Advocacy & Networking

During May and June, ANAT provided content and feedback for the Australia Council’s New Media Arts Fund presentation to the federal government’s Science, Engineering and Innovation Council meeting. On June 25 1999 John Rimmer, Chair of the New Media Arts Fund, was invited to make a presentation to the Prime Minister’s Science, Engineering and Innovation Council. The Council is chaired by the Prime Minister and includes senior Government Ministers, Departmental Heads and Industry leaders. The Australia Council said of the presentation that it “outlined the positive impact that artist collaborations are having across science and technology disciplines. This work can enhance Australia’s ability to build upon our inherently innovative history and work towards greater innovative capabilities and competitiveness, in both cultural and economic terms. The presentation has led to an invitation to work together with the Department of Industry Science and Resources to further develop these collaborations.” Examples of artists working in these areas were given, and more detail can be found on the Australia Councils web site under the what’s new section.

I have also been invited to participate in the New Media Curation conference/seminars being undertaken by the Banff Centre for the Arts in September. This invitation comes as a result of the me.d ia te National School in New Media Art Curation project undertaken by ANAT earlier this year, and Sara Diamond’s (the Director of the Banff Visual Arts and New Media programs) involvement in that project. This represents and exciting opportunity to make contacts and discuss ideas in the lead up to ANAT’s International Masterclass for New Media Artists and Curators which we are planning for 2000.

Amanda McDonald Crowley