When motion graphics makes a great point

During Art & About Sydney’s Hyde Park will become an urban artist’s camp with LED-activated tipis.
When motion graphics makes a great point

There is a lot more to the tipi than black and white westerns and childhood games of 'cowboys and Indians'.

‘Tipis were developed by Native American peoples but they have become so much more in zeitgeist of freedom and impermanence in festival culture,’ said co-curator of Neon Nomads Celina Stang.

‘Everyone loves tipis – there is almost a fetish fondness for them.’

The curatorial brainchild of filmmaker and video music director Stang and graphic designer and curator Luca Ionescu, Neon Nomads uses cutting-edge LED technology to turn the traditional skin of a tipi into a fabric screen for art, film, sound, animation and text.

‘Technically, the fabrication of the screens is so cutting edge. LEDs have never been used in this way before. We have worked with an industrial designer to get the LEDs inserted into the curved fabric cone,’ said Stang.

The project has been described as having ‘one eye on the digital age and the other on a nomadic past’, in sync with this year’s Art & About Sydney's theme of Endangered.

Stang added, ‘The outlook of this installation is very globally focused – one world, one people – looking at the endangered state of the planet as a whole.’

‘We have curated the content and chosen the artists with the theme in mind, especially considering the tipi’s traditional background as a structure with a delicate footprint,’ she explained.

The colony of five-custom tipis will present over 1,000 artworks by 13 artists and collectives 24 hours a day over a three-week period in Sydney’s Hyde Park South.

Stang said that at any moment a passer-by could see a flock of birds fly across the tipis or after nightclubbing at three in the morning one could encounter Robert Hodgin's psychedelic soundscapes of endangered elements.

‘We have scheduled very specific pieces to suit times of day,’ said Stang.

The tipis have been syncopated so the motion graphics move across all five units, while at other times they can be interactive.

Californian artist GMUNK’s fractal environment warps if you wave your arm in front of it, for example, and a piece titled Technology on Terets is triggered by motion sensor as they people pass with their mobile phone. A close up of human face will yell out phrases like, “get off your phone and look at the park.”

Stang said the screened content touches themes of culture, identity and technology on social interaction. ‘A lot of the curated content is dealing with the building block of life cellular myosis, northern lights, a lot of stuff about space,' said Stang. ‘The (program) is inspired by the endangered and the transience of being a human in universe.’

Artists presenting work for Neon Nomads include Wendy Red Star, Jeremyville, Adam Hill, Phil James, Matilda Brown, Universal Everything, GMUNK, Robert Hodgin, Graphonaute, One Day on Earth, Jonathan Zawada, Luca Ionsescu and Zach Dougherty.

Stang said that there was ‘absolutely’ a fusion of art disciplines. ‘In contemporary art anything goes. Ideas of globalisation and non-specificity a lot of artists – and humanity – grapple with.’

Stang concluded: ‘This is an artwork that will make you change your daily commute!’

Neon Nomads will be on display throughout Art & About Sydney.
Hyde Park South, enter via corner of Park & Elizabeth streets
19 September -12 October

No image supplied

Gina Fairley

Thursday 11 September, 2014

About the author

Gina Fairley is ArtsHub's National Visual Arts Editor. For a decade she worked as a freelance writer and curator across Southeast Asia and was previously the Regional Contributing Editor for Hong Kong based magazines Asian Art News and World Sculpture News. Prior to writing she worked as an arts manager in America and Australia for 14 years, including the regional gallery, biennale and commercial sectors. She is based in Mittagong, regional NSW.

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