Art and the environment: a natural fit

June 14 / 138

Lealah Shostak-Herber’s ‘Sky rises to canopies’ takes audience members on a journey from nature to the city and then back to nature.
Lealah Shostak-Herber’s ‘Sky rises to canopies’ takes audience members on a journey from nature to the city and then back to nature.

VCA students have celebrated World Environment Day with a themed exhibition of interactive art projects at the Ian Potter Museum of Art. 

Fourteen undergraduate students completing the Interactive Art Media 1 subject presented their multimedia projects on 5 June to an enthusiastic staff and student audience.

The event was collaboration between subject coordinator Dr Roger Alsop and Ian Potter’s Curator of Academic Programs (Research) Dr Heather Gaunt.

Dr Alsop said he and Ms Gaunt discussed ways in which they could engage interactive media students and have a public outcome for their works. The thought of presenting projects on World Environment Day seemed a good fit

“Although the students’ works are not based on the ‘environment’ per se, we thought that the environment is something we all interact with and would be appropriate,” he said. 

While World Environment Day wasn’t the focus of the subject, several students took on the themes of environment and nature in their projects.

Participant Ethan Laurie said his flower piece wasn’t originally going to be shown, but when the students  were told it was World Environment Day, it seemed like a good theme.. 

Mr Laurie’s project, ‘Mutuality’, involves the interaction between audience members and flowers in bloom.

“I wanted to make the audience feel more involved, not as interference, but as the motivating factor behind what’s happening on the screen,” he said. 

“That’s why I have the movement of the audience, causing these flowers to bloom, while it generates a nice little, moody tonal score for what’s happening on the screen.”

Fellow student Lealah Shostak-Herber’s ‘Sky rises to canopies’ takes audience members on a journey from nature to the city and then back to nature.

“My original project inspiration was the idea of how human interactivity can create things, especially our movement and our touch can stimulate videos or playing of different things,” she said.  

“I wanted to have a collection of videos on movement you can interact with directly, without having to touch technology or anything. It’s just solely your movement that can play or stop or speed up or slow things down.”

Ms Shostak-Herber said the project was an artistic reflection of her own experience coming from the bush to going to university in the city.

“I feel like it’s absorbing me and changing me. It’s changing slowly with all the buildings, progression, ambition and all of what is city life. It’s about resorting back to that natural state, us as humans really. We come from nature,” she said. 

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