Nau mai, haere mai, welcome to eyeCONTACT, a forum built to encourage art reviews and critical discussion about the visual culture of Aotearoa New Zealand. I'm John Hurrell its editor, a New Zealand writer, artist and curator. While Creative New Zealand and other supporters are generously paying me and other contributors to review exhibitions over the following year, all expressed opinions are entirely our own.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Brownian motion

Kentaro Yamada and Jamie Kydd: Eye Drops from Upstairs
New Call, Auckland
June 24 - 17 July 2008

Yamada and Kydd’s installation is in two parts. Two separate works.

One is a row of three goldfish bowls on plinths, with three reading lamps bent over, containing tiny cameras. Within each bowl glows water and a fish, and underneath the bowls are movement sensors connected to a sonar programme. Nearby on the floor are three small screens, with the rectangles divided into four - each quarter a circular variation in subtle colour that provides a different quality of ‘aura’, recording very recent movement.

Yet the fish don't really move around much. Just huddle under the devices that oxygenate the water. They reluctantly create a musical performance in the dark room, and you feel you might be underwater yourself. Maybe in a submarine. If you are inclined to be a trifle participatory, moving your hands under the bright lights affects the pitch of the three beeping ‘instruments’.

The other work is like a brazier with a flue above it – akin to a searchlight with a faint beam aimed upwards. The heat is very low but sufficient to cause spasmodic particles of dust to ascend in the vertical stream. Like the fish work, chance plays a big role.

Both gentle, understated pieces rely on a viewer presence to activate the dust and disturb the fish, just by walking around. Probably the more visitors present at any one time, the more ‘sparks’ zigzag in the faint light and the more the sonar beeps vary. Good reason to take a couple of friends when you visit.

No comments: