- ARTPIX 3: Aotearoa/New Zealand
To review a journal of contemporary art in CD-ROM format was a unique experience for me. I must admit that Istill use my computer as a glorified typewriter and was not at all sure what I was doing, or what I was supposed to do. However, it didn't take much to put the CD in and begin my journey through four very different "exhibitions" that collectively tapped into the pulse of New Zealand art in 2001. As both an outsider and insider (having immigrated to New Zealand eight years ago, but having focused my research on contemporary art since my arrival), I felt at home with the opening karanga ra (call of welcome). This immediately placed my consciousness (which tends to wander the world) firmly in New Zealand. Aside from the flashing colors (which got my attention), I was impressed with the quality and quantity of information that the CD held. While I was uncomfortable with the format, I found it quite easy to navigate and quickly came to enjoy what that format could offer. ARTPIX 3 combines text, still image, and moving image toprovide background information, access to more ephemeral types of knowledge (television ads and music), as well as an interactive play with the exhibitions themselves. It took about two hours to examine (one could [End Page 434] easily do this in smaller increments of time).
artpix works with the concept that a "professional from the field of contemporary art is invited . . . to contribute to each issue. In turn, contributors have the option of presenting the work of an individual artist or artists, selecting or curating a group exhibition or proposing an artist to create a special multimedia project." The purpose of artpix3was to "comment on the current state of arts in New Zealand" (artpix credits folder). No further information was provided as to how these art professionals were chosen, either by artpix or the curators. Unlike a printed journal, which may have a special focus and frequently an editor's explanation for that focus, the four components of this CD are presented without explanation.
Together, the four exhibitions work to complement one another, each offering a glimpse of the complexity of contemporary art practice in New Zealand. They include: "This is New Zealand" (Bill Hammond, Michael Parekowhai, Ava Seymour), Robert Leonard, curator; "Ta Moko Is NOT Tattoo" (Shane Cotton, Jacqueline Fraser, Lyonel Grant, Rangi Kipa, Ngahiraka Mason, Lisa Reihana, Saffronn Te Ratana), Julie Paama-Pengelly, curator; "Te Ao Tawhito. Te Ao Hou/Old Worlds. New Worlds" (John Pule, Lisa Reihana), Megan Tamati-Quennell, curator; and "Part Umbra Penumbra" (Chiara Corbelletto, Graham Fletcher, Andrea Low, Peter Roche), Jim Vivieaere, curator.
Robert Leonard addresses the concept of a Utopia—clearly a fictitious construct—while the other curators play into and off this construct. Leonard's "This Is New Zealand" (which resembles an article more than an exhibition) offers the historical and art historical background for contemporary art practice in New Zealand. Through the interactive text, one can both read the "article" and experience the work of the artists included, as well as view moving image clips that support and enhance the written word. Hearing and seeing the television advertisement "Sailing Away" (a Bank of New Zealand television advertisement created by Fred Fink to support New Zealand's America's Cup Challenge in 1986 ) enables the viewer (even the non-New Zealander) to see the obviousness of this ad in its creation of a utopian ideal. In contrast is the song "Blam Blam Blam" (written by Don McGlashan and Richard von Sturmer in 1981 ), whose tongue-in-cheek acceptance of this ideal clearly subverts its reality. Leonard uses the interactive format brilliantly, bringing text, song, and moving image together to create a sense of the hypocrisy in the utopian belief. Having set this groundwork, Leonard then utilizes the art practice of three well-known...