Ever wished you could touch the artworks in an exhibition? In this one, you could. Soundscapes of voices, rhythms, music and sound gently enticed viewers to explore light-based artworks in the cavernous spaces of Paxton's Warehouse on the Mackay waterfront .
Art By Night was a collaborative project by Wanda Bennett, Fiona Bishop-Vuibeqa, Tracey Johnson and Magdy Shiha in 2010. The themes revolved round secrets, stories, discovery and transformation.
The exhibition was open each night for a week. On entering the space viewers were given a torch and map for discovering and exploring the artworks. Over 1,000 people of all ages, from toddlers to the elderly, experienced the exhibition, many coming back time and time again to play with the artworks.
The local ABC described the exhibition as “a cross between an art gallery and activities play centre”, see http://www.abc.net.au/local/audio/2010/07/23/2962213.htm
Three visual artists and a sound installation artist from the Mackay region have been working together to create light and sound-based artworks in historic Paxton’s Warehouse for the Mackay Region Festival of Arts in July 2010.
Visual artists Wanda Bennett, Magdy Shiha and Tracey Johnson and sound installation artist Fiona Bishop collaborated over an eighteen month period to create installations for this much loved venue on the waterfront. Its darkened interior will be filled with light-based art pieces, accompanied by an evocative sound scape.
As well as providing a unique experience for a Mackay audience, the project has given these regionally-based artists a rare opportunity to explore new technologies and concepts, and work together on their site-specific creations.
The exhibition explores shared memories, hidden stories, secrets, disclosure, and illumination. The universal appeal of storytelling is that as stories “come to light” they create a spark of recognition for the listener. Similarly, images, patterns, colors and sounds provide sensory triggers for the memory, or perhaps resonate in the collective unconscious, where myth and archetype have their roots. Artworks connect us in this way - they play on the commonalities of human experience, revealing hidden stories, personal stories, and shared stories. They speak to us and say that even in our most strange or solitary moments, others may have trodden a similar path. It is this sense of recognition that connects us to the world and to each other.
The artworks have an element of transition: dark to light, hidden to revealed, silence to sound, mystery to unveiling. The works are responsive, using sensor activated media, inviting the audience to interact with the works and share their own stories, encouraging participation, play, and discovery by doing.
The artists embarked on the project in July 2009, supported by a RADF Concept Development grant to explore possibilities for collaborative work incorporating the use of light and sound. Two of the artists traveled to Melbourne to take part in an Experimental Artist Lab to gain an insight into interactive technologies for artworks. The group received an Arts QLD grant and additional funds from the RADF program to develop and present the exhibition.
As the artists are spread across the Mackay region, they created a blog in which they share thoughts, ideas, plans and photos of work in progress - a virtual shared studio of the imagination - which will also provide a “behind the scenes” record of the creative process.
The Art by night concept motivated and mastered several aspects of expression, through unifying and melting individual artistic experience into a collaborative and evocative whole, with many other sources of inspiration and different human culture resources. The light collective artists group comes from diverse backgrounds. They have developed innovative strategies, sensitive to their individuality but successfully communicating to a broader audience. Although the works are very personal, each informed by a site- specific experience and influence, they also encourage a second level of interpretation that is larger, more universal and evocative. Their art concept becomes the vehicle through which to explore and learn about one another. In striking a balance between the personal and the transcendental, each artist forges a unique means of communication. This has to be celebrated as a positive forum of exchange. It is the relation between worlds, artists and audience, content and form, in which the artists in one night shaped, and innovatively explored their unlimited strategies of expression, which they chose to communicate.
Magdy Shiha website:
Tracey Johnson Website:
Wanda Bennett Website:
Fiona Bishop Website:
Thanks for all