Canberra Museum & Gallery Theatrette
Join artist Jay Kochel as he breathes air into the processes and ideas behind his installation, avarice : auspice. At CMAG, in association with the Australian National University School of Art, Art Forum.
Kinza is the former name of the abandoned house turned Art House Project on Naoshima Island where it now houses the artwork Being given by Japanese artist Rei NAITO. This was perhaps the standout work for me of the experiences I had on Naoshima. Visitors to the artwork must make a prior booking as the experience is scheduled, one person at a time. The Kinza building, like many of the Art Houses in the Benesse Art Sites, seems unassuming from the outside, a normal village house. Inside however, the space has been returned to the earth, the floor reconnecting with the soil beneath the house. The only light entering the space is from the under the outside walls and from the interior, it gives the whole structure a feeling of levitation. Within lies a large round ring, also raised from the ground. The whole space gradually reveals small details laid out in some form of geomantic logic. Small transparent spheres and rings, a staff rigidly perpendicular to the ground, tiny details whose presence is highlighted by the bleeding light outside, and only revealed through time, through contemplation. Above, between two of the wooden beams supporting the ceiling, a large glass cylinder floats — mystically like depictions of The Ascension. The space is at once meditative in solitude and wonder, and also with connection to the outside world through light and sound, the street noise bleeds in as does the light, in a subdued way that is part of the space, part of what is being given.
There are rarely moments with an artwork that remain with you, that remain connected, somehow unresolved yet mystical and reaffirming. Kinza has tunneled a place of nostalgia in my memory, its ambiguity and comfort make it an unforgettable moment.
A podcast series on the immaterial forces affecting people.
The first installment is challenging and a heavy trigger warning for those sensitive to discussions of violent acts. The episode discusses two case studies on the theme of thoughts and their significance. The first looks at OCD thought behaviours and recurring violent images that began for one man. The second involves the story of Martin Pistorius who, at the age of 12 was diagnosed with an unknown degenerative illness leaving him conscious but immobile and unable to communicate. Under care for many years and silent to those around him, Martin began to slowly communicate that he was indeed awake to the world.
NPR: Invisibilia Podcast
Invisibilia (Latin for all the invisible things) is about the invisible forces that control human behavior – ideas, beliefs, assumptions and emotions. Co-hosted by Lulu Miller and Alix Spiegel, Invisibilia interweaves narrative storytelling with scientific research that will ultimately make you see your own life differently.
The bones of a hand in glass
Found near the hypocenter. The bones of a human hand are stuck to a clump of glass that melted as a result of exposure to the extreme heat | Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum.
There are impossible things to say. The object above, along with this matter of fact description, stood quietly, alone in an unassuming cabinet in the Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum. I watched as people easily missed it and looked at more confronting images of burnt bodies and of the devastated clearing that Nagasaki had become. In its understated horror, this object for me, spoke so much more.
It is difficult to understand those days in which the bombs dropped on Nagasaki and Hiroshima. I went to these two cities with little expectation that I would come away with my own understanding of those events. Over the last week I visited the Peace Memorials, Museums, parks and halls of both those cities, waiting to see how the Japanese had reconciled that history.
The museums present information about the seconds after the atomic explosions, information documented by both the Americans and the Japanese who were keen to understand the effects of this new type of bomb. Studies continue today into the effects of the explosions and the exposure of radiation. Survivors are still presenting to doctors with glass shards working their way out of their bodies. The sheer physics of the event is only understood through the objects presented and the personal stories of the survivors, both devastating.
The results are that both cities are now committed to peace and the abolition of all nuclear weapons.
Progressing towards more experimentation with mapping air, I have been testing the 3D scanner on some of these inflated and suspended objects. Ideally the object to be scanned should not be highly reflective or translucent. The golden ‘space blanket’ fails on both counts but the results were still useable. The initial scanning results, with a bit of mesh patching, can be seen below. The 3D model below is of the pictured object. The image is work in progress of an installation for an Open Studio to the public. The installation included a projection of the rendered 3D model taken from the interior golden object. The video can be seen below.
The video below is a rendering of the above scanned object. Referencing the ‘dry landscape’ gardens (karesansui 枯山水) found in many zen Buddhist temples throughout Japan. This was projected onto the windows of my second story studio space, and best viewed from the building’s exterior.
At the time this work was being produced, the spaceprobe Rosetta was making a rendezvous with the comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko (67P) and along with its lander module Philae, was producing mapped images of the surface of the comet. These images of the comet, along with the stone garden at Ryōan-ji, Kyoto, work as inspiration for the work.
I was lucky enough to see this wonderful ceremony involving the burning of Buddhist Rosary beads (juzu) at the Sekizanzen-in temple. After the crowd amassed, there was chanting and stoking of the fire by the temple monks. The amount of beads presented seemed endless as the monks continued to top up the pile with fresh handfuls from new bags. Kneeling in front of the fire, a prayer was first said before beads were then cast into the fire and another prayer of thanks given. First the monks, in order of seniority, presented their beads and prayers to the fire, followed by identically suited men, and finally members of the public gave their own prayers.
The first few weeks of my residency have seen me absurdly tossing space blankets around the studio capturing video. The idea of capturing some memory of the air in time and space often puts my body in relation to these spectral golden forms.