Queensland New Media Scholarship

QAGOMA congratulates George Poonkhin Khut winner of the 2012 National New Media Art Award currently showing at GOMA until 4 November 2012. Khut’s winning entry Distillery: Waveforming 2012 consists of a clip-on heart monitor, tablet computer and a program that shows the viewer a visual interpretation of their beating heart. The work poetically explores the interactions between the mind and body; and art and science; by visually displaying the viewer’s heartbeat the work instantly responds to their changing reactions, creating a continuous biofeedback loop.

With only days to go before the close of entries to the Queensland New Media Scholarship — excitement is starting to build around the office as the last assortment of applications come in.

The prize is a substantial $25 000 towards professional development offered to a Queensland based emerging artist working in new media — the kind of opportunity that could launch an area of research, new body of work, or a whole career.

2010 Scholarship winner Claire Robertson recently told the Gallery that the “Award provided me with the incredible opportunity to study and live in New York, completing a portion of my Masters of Fine Arts degree at the prestigious Parsons New School of Design. At Parsons I have had the opportunity to study under world renowned artists in my field and collaborate with other emerging artists from around the world — and I will continue these projects when I return to Australia.”

The biennial award program comprises the National New Media Art Award and exhibition of shortlisted artists; as well as the Queensland New Media Scholarship for an emerging Queensland-based artist. The Award and exhibition showcase the work of leading Australian new media artists and the award-winning work by George Poonkhin Khut is acquired for the Queensland Art Gallery Collection.

Making an application is simple and easy. If you or someone you know is eligible to enter there is still time to think big and make a pitch to our selection committee: Suhanya Raffel, Acting Director, Queensland Art Gallery|Gallery of Modern Art; Amy Barrett Lennard, Director, Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts; and leading Australian new media artist Daniel Crooks.

Read the background information, and download the form. Applications close this Friday 14 September 2012, so get busy and it could be you sending QAGOMA the postcards next year!

You Are Here, with Michael Jackson, in Gary, Indiana


You Are Here is an artist collective from Sydney, established in 2006 by artists Zanny Begg and Keg de Souza – their work Emeraldtown: Gary, Indiana 2010 has been an audience favourite in the current GOMA exhibition ‘Social Networking’.

Shortly after ‘Social Networking’ opened in March I recorded this interview with Zanny Begg detailing You Are Here’s interest in the current social, political and economic challenges found in Gary, Indiana in the United States.

Gary is a town with an incredible history. It’s famous for being the birthplace of singer Michael Jackson, and for electing the first black mayor in a major American city, in 1967. Founded by the U.S. Steel Corporation around one of the world’s largest steel mills, the city’s fortunes grew, and have today declined, in sync with the industry. Gary has more recently experienced what is known as the ‘white-flight’ common to the American Mid-West, leading its having much higher than average percentage of African-Americans citizens.

The Wizard of Oz, or more accurately ‘The Wiz’  made in 1978 — the updated movie version of the famous children’s story starring Michael Jackson — became a key source of inspiration for You Are Here, because of its metaphoric potential for retelling the experiences of laid-off steel workers in Gary since the 1970s. Similarly, the glittering Emerald City could be a metaphor for the much discussed $300 million Michael Jackson Performing Arts Centre, being proposed by Rudy Clay, Mayor of Gary, Indiana.

Emeraldtown: Gary, Indiana was a perfect work to feature in ‘Social Networking’ — I wanted to show how much of our behaviour, belief and emotion is determined by our social context. The heart that the town’s people show in the face of very trying conditions makes for a powerful story and an intimate portrait of the contemporary United States. I am pleased to say that the video has recently been acquired by the Gallery.

You can view ‘Social Networking’ at GOMA until 1 July 2012 and admission is free.

Closer than we thought


Peter McKay interviews Pat Hoffie about her works in the exhibition ‘Social Networking’.

While researching ‘Social Networking’ I came across the writings of Nicholas Christakis and James Fowler in their book Connected. Soon their thinking became the formative influence for my project. Together they illustrate that much of our behaviour, belief and emotion is determined by our surrounding social context: that is the behaviour of our friends; our friends’ friends; and our friends’ friends’ friends.  Critically, networks that extend beyond this have been shown to be too weak to be directly influential. In this three minute video the authors introduce their research very succinctly.

Placing such strong emphasis on social connections as a determining factor in our behaviour contrasts with the sense of individualism that often sustains the arts and culture. Moreover it may suggest that artists may be of greater influence on their audiences and community than is often suggested. It seems we might all be closer than we thought.

I recently spoke to prominent Brisbane artist Pat Hoffie about her works from the Gallery’s Collection in ‘Social Networking’,  and you can watch this here. We will also be ‘In Conversation’ in the exhibition at the Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) at 2:30pm on Thursday 29 March 2012. Why not invite your friends and your friends friends…

Emily Floyd’s ‘Steiner rainbow’ 2006

Emily Floyd | Australia b.1972 | Peter McKay discussing Steiner rainbow 2006 | Two-part epoxy paint on MDF | Gift of the artist through the Queensland Art Gallery Foundation 2011. Donated through the Australian Government’s Cultural Gifts Program | Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | © The artist

Just about everyone in Brisbane must have heard that we recently celebrated GOMA’s 5th Birthday on Friday 2nd December 2011!

Melbourne sculptor Emily Floyd has very generously gifted to the Gallery the perfect birthday present for a youngster like GOMA — her Steiner rainbow 2006. Part of the weekend celebrations were a series of talks on recent acquisitions and I presented a floor talk on this intelligent and optimistic work.