Deconstruct the message | Otago Daily Times News Online
Swathes of well-used vine netting, mouth-blown glass, and noise and sound artists don’t necessarily mean a David Green exhibit.
But Green is always eager to push the boundaries of text and image, as seen in his works lately. Bruno’s thin skin1954 and Time and tide where fragments of digital video filled shop windows on George St and, in some cases, spilled onto the street.
In his new seven-channel video installation Break up songs he wanted to take the process a step further by adding sound and additional material to the projected video fragments.
Each work is part of a larger doctoral project because he likes to do theory in relation to practice.
“They really open things up to each other and I find it rewarding to work that way.”
Her doctorate in film and media communication focuses on disarticulated cinema – demonstrating how moving images work, like the old Hollywood model of a linear narrative.
“When you have something presented to you in a very clean way, first of all, it’s easy to be swayed by it because it’s compelling, but it’s kind of an organized delivery system.”
Green thinks it’s much more interesting to produce snippets of information that allow viewers to piece them together in the same way they do with all kinds of information that they collect and assimilate every day to create meaning.
“Our brains love doing that. I certainly love doing that as an art viewer.
“What I try to do is create work that activates my thinking and suggests different ways to put things together, which is rewarding in different ways.”
He says the work is not an absolute movie-style delivery.
“There are no answers, just better questions.”
At the heart of the work is the climate crisis and the idea that humans as a species trying to cross borders, just as life constantly does, can lead to imbalance, be it genetic changes or space travel.
“All of these technologies and breaches on all scales have led us to climate change, but there are all sorts of other things happening that affect our well-being.”
Thus, the installation includes six different stations each tackling a different topic such as microplastics, air travel, animal-human viruses such as Ebola and Covid-19, fracking and gene editing.
At each of the stations, the video will be projected through sheets of hand-blown glass from Germany that have been framed “almost in a plinth-like arrangement” which breaks up the image and creates reverberations and reflections to create another way of looking at the same material.
“The glass retains the images very well, but the light and the images also transmit. As you look, you will see them covered with images which will pass through them to the rafters of the antechamber which is an old Masonic room.”
As humans constantly try to cross boundaries, they also try to create ways to intentionally separate things. Like former US President Donald Trump’s wall on the border with Mexico.
So in response to that, Green sourced fillets from an Alexandra vineyard, with holes and greenery or “breaks”.
“I want to hang this as a kind of diffuser, like a defractor. The idea of defraction by Karen Barad is to read one thing through another. That’s also what’s happening here with these video mash-ups – you read the content of one through the other.”
It also examines “the current state of the media” and how people access information via the Internet, with many well-produced videos released by different interest groups.
“They form a kind of noise in our head. If you’re locked into the algorithms, you probably hear the same voice over and over again, but if you watch, you can find different videos that contrast with each other.”
So he “mixed” some of these music videos and put them against each other “fragmenting each other through this process”.
“You start to see relationships between the fragments bubbling through her, it’s kind of a pattern.
“The way I put them together, you see everything, but you can’t see everything at once, so you see different fragments, and the audio ties you to certain parts.”
The experience will be complemented by music produced by local noise and sound artists. Green asked his son Ro Rushton-Green, a musician and sound artist, to coordinate a group of sound artists to respond to the installation as groups and individuals.
“It’s going to be fun, kind of like a performance. It takes the setup and turns it into something more than just one thing. It will give me more to think about and learn from.”
Green wants people to see issues differently and encounter information in a different way.
“It’s really an experience of how these elements come together and how the fragments add to that feeling – it’s a media commentary as much as anything.”
A video features recent media coverage of billionaires going to space – Virgin boss Richard Branson, as well as that of competitor Jeff Bezos, who were “mediated” in exactly the same way, Green says.
“The whole structure of how they present them is almost locked down. It’s amazing. I don’t do a lot of ‘talking’ to make things fit in.”
Green, a former American, worked in film production and advertising in the United States and New Zealand before joining the Dunedin School of Arts at Otago Polytechnic as a lecturer in electronic arts, so he knows the industry well.
“It works really well against the Hollywood model where you shine everything, you put it in space, place it right, so your point is made. So when I’m working I do a little bit but I’m reluctant to get in there- inside a kind of media craftsmanship. I want it to play out the way it plays out.
“When you run these things against each other, you have these beautiful moments of interaction between totally different media.”
He hopes people can gather the images into the installation rather than feeling pushed towards them.
“Let the brains work. If you keep your brain stimulated, you have a happy brain. is difficult to engage your brain, your brain goes into receiving mode.
“I want brains to come together, like brains come together when you’re walking in the bush, doing the things we do as humans and understanding what’s being hyped.”
Break up songs, David Green, Antiroom, Port Chalmers, June 9-12; June 10, 7 p.m.: Gabriel Griffin, Guardians, Dante; June 11, 7 p.m.: Ultraspikes, GRVDGGR, Bum in Face Festival; June 12, 3 p.m.: Demons Keep Out, A Dream is like a Magic Cloak, The Ladder is Part of the Pit.