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Student’s crazy clusters will light up LUX

News from Massey University
While it doesn’t move as fast as the speed of light, fashion design student Kate Jones’ entertaining exhibit at the LUX light festival is to be a crazily active as well as illuminating feature of the annual event.

Around a dozen light sculptures and interactive installations will bring lightness and brightness to the capital when LUX switches on with a mix of design, art and technical innovation aimed at surprising, delighting and captivating audiences after dark. The festival, held on the Wellington waterfront, opens on Friday and runs till May 27.

Ms Jones’ exhibit, comprising two giant round walking clusters of illuminated coloured yarn, will certainly do all of that and more.

Her work be joined by two other exhibits called SEED and KINESIS crafted by graduates of Massey’s College of Creative Arts, as well as the staff and student Massey MoshPit interactive dance and video space, for the festival on the Wellington waterfront from May 18-27.

The exhibit Pom and Pom was inspired by a paper connected with LUX called Creative Works for Festivals offered by School of Design senior lecturer Ant Nevin, who also has a separate exhibit at LUX.

The paper asks students to devise a contemporary design project that can be pitched to producers while being mentored by artists and designers who exhibit nationally and internationally.

Working with this idea, Ms Jones devised a performance piece in which two people wear separate clusters and move their way around the festival site accompanied by a black clad figure (a dancer from Toi Whakaari), whose role is to dance around and between the poms with an external light source in the form of an orb which will appear to be hovering.

“The goal is that it can be seen and able to be thrown around,” she says.

“The orb will illuminate key features of the Poms and add to the performative and comic nature of the piece.”

The two separate clusters are made from Lycra and two bicycle helmets and feature ultra violet rings inside. On top of this strips of fabric have been attached to hand dyed yarn that is sewn and triple stitched onto the body of the clusters. It is then topped off with a water proof spray to protect it against drizzle.

“I enjoy working with weird and crazy body shapes rather than the standard fashion collection of say for example, shorts and pants. If I wasn’t doing fashion design I think I would study industrial design,” Jones says.

The 21-year-old, who moved from the United Kingdom with her family to Warkworth as a teenager before coming to Wellington to study, is in the final year of her honours degree. Texture, silhouette and movement, all evident in her LUX exhibit, drive Jones’ creations be it avant-garde or ready-to wear.

Audio and visual exhibits

A trio of design graduates, Molly Brankin from Christchurch, Jasmine Grace and Rachel Neser from Wellington, also have an entry in LUX called SEED – described as a contemplative multi-layered flora form sculpture that uses metaphoric and poetic visualisations of nature in stages of bloom and decay.

A further exhibit by Ms Neser and Ms Grace is KINESIS, an audio-visual installation that uses projected film, light and sound.

The Wellington based artists are graduates of the visual communication design programme. Ms Grace has a background in performing arts and balances this interest through the portrayal of immersive experiences through narrative, choreography and audio-visual elements. Ms Neser’s focus is directed at digital media “blending tangible and intangible qualities” and collaborating with Ms Grace to produce social commentary narratives using audio visual technology.

News from Massey
It’s a monster mash. Mashed up images collide with a stunning soundscape when the Massey MoshPit, the University’s flagship contribition to LUX, opens at the illuminating annual light festival on the Wellington waterfront on Friday night.

Massey is a founding partner of the festival that is now in its seventh year. It is anchored around two distinct precincts featuring a range of national and international artists – including staff and students from Massey’s School of Design and School of Art at the College of Creative Arts.

The exhibitors include technical demonstrator with the School of Fine Art, Michael Bridgman who has designed the MoshPit using immersive screen technology that showcases a sound and light installation, run by VJs (visual jockeys) and DJs, with a large mirror ball suspended above it. He has also enlisted the support of students, including from the School of Music and Creative Media Production, to help out with running the screen set up.

Immersive screens bring the space to life using technology that projects sound and imagery on a wrap-around-type screen that send out beams of light to engage and entrance the audience.

“It’s a non conventional way of using space to put some people where they don’t expect to be,” he says.

Mr Bridgman, who is known in performance circles as Mike Busy, brings to the Massey MoshPit project a background that has seen him work using the technology on international car shows and pre season events surounding 2014 FIFA World Cup. In the music sphere he has worked on many of the main stages of the New Zealand festival circuit and collaborated on live performances with international artists from Afro Jack, Linkin Park and Kesha to Wellington favourites such as Trinity Roots and Fly My Pretties.

The varied artistry of performers like them will be translated into files of sound and vision that can be randomly selected and played by the VJs and DJs to people visiting the light festival at Frank Kitts Park.

“We can combine mixed images from the different sources and mash together a series of files and images in real time to create a mashed up artwork,” he says.

The mix of the selected sound and visual effects with the immersive screens should prove a winning combination with the public, Mr Bridgman says.

One video mash-up being played, among more contemporary sound and vision projections, is a homage to the MTV video aesthetic of the 1980s.

He likens the public familiarity with everyday screen technology to times when black and white TV was the norm and before colour television came along to shake the industry up.

Immersive screen technology represents a break-through compared to traditional types of screen styles such as TV and cinema,” he says.

“People see screens all the time so when somebody breaks out of that conventional form something magic can happen.”

The Massey MoshPit is being staged nightly at the LUX light festival on the Wellington waterfront from May 18-27.

Click on the link to see a video clip of some of the exhibits including the Massey MoshPit https://drive.google.com/open?id=1lvD8yht_QL1kKyYGwI5zyURnYrekxfW_