Top Ten: NZ media artists

I was asked to make a list of New Zealand media artists currently doing interesting things. This is only a beginning, and the exact definition of what or who a media artist might be is still under dispute. Updates and corrections gratefully received.

ONSITE (living in New Zealand)

Stella Brennan is a video and installation artist. Brennan was a finalist in the Walters Prize in 2006 and has shown in the Sydney and Liverpool Biennales. Her work is marked by critical approach to the future promises of media and encompasses materials as diverse as packing crates, ceramics and psychedelic film. She curated the early media art exhibition Dirty Pixels in 2002, and we co-curated Cloudland for ISEA Singapore in 2008. She is a director of the ADA network and together we edited the Aotearoa Digital Arts Reader in 2008.

Rachael Rakena. (Kāi Tahu, Ngā Puhi). Rakena showed Aniwaniwa, a collaborative work with Brett Graham, in the Venice Biennale 2007. Her recent works include complex underwater choreography where ideas about iwi identity, and the subjects’ dis/embodiment are reflected in both digital and water spaces.

Julian Priest was co-founder of early wireless freenetwork community in London. Now based in Whanganui and running The Green Bench project space, he is an activist and advocate for the freenetworking movement and has pursued wireless networking as a theme in fields of arts, development, and policy. His media work Information comes from the Sun was shown at ISEA 2011 Istanbul. Julian is a director of the ADA network.

Hye Rim Lee (South Korea and NZ) works in 3D animation, character design, video and glass. Her digital work questions the social construction of the female figure, particularly in the Asian diaspora, the work speaks to the manipulation and perception of female sexual identity worldwide.

Jae-Hoon Lee (South Korea and NZ) digitally manipulates photographs of the landscape, plants and body, reinventing still and moving images that are both familiar and startling. Lee was selected for the 2011 Anne Landa Award for Video and New Media (AGNSW, Sydney).

Janine Randerson is an Auckland based artist who works with a range of time-based media including 16mm film, digital audio and video and computer programmed interaction design. Her art practice is often interdisciplinary with a focus on science and climate.

Sean Kerr. Media based sound and installation artist Sean Kerr’s interests lie in the emergent area of new media technologies, incorporating internet art, installation and sonic practices, but with a particular focus on the expectations and effects of interactivity. Kerr often creates scenarios and machines that lead to unexpected and accidental explorations of communication.

Seung Yul Oh (South Korea and NZ) creates playful interactive networked engagements alongside equally gentle sculptural investigations. In 2011 Oh is showing at ART HK in Hong Kong and his online interactive Rain was included in the online screens exhibiton curated by Luke Munn.

Nathan Pohio (Kati Mamoe, Ngai Tahu and Waitaha) works in video with a clear engagement with the histories of media and the screen. His moving images repeatedly return to the masculine figure in the landscape, constructed through and by his image.

Aaron and Hannah Beehre. Working inbetween design, painting and interactive surfaces the Beehre’s work contains a distinctly digital sensibility. In 2007 their Winter Rose activated the rose window of the Christchurch Cathedral through motion sensors placed in the square.

Clinton Watkins. Working in the synesthetic spaces of sound and image Watkins produces large generative colourfield projections. Watkins works with generative software that connects sound and image through the physical experience of the audience by overlapping their sensory receptors.

Phil Dadson’s media practice is based in a deep knowledge of sound and performance. Working for the past 40 years within international contexts Dadson challenges the boundaries of the instrument re-introducing the body and ‘new’ media to the production of sound and image. His 2011 exhibition Deep Water pulls these strands together in a visual exploration of refracted and reflected space. Dadson was nominated for the Walters Art Prize in 2006.

Lisa Reihana’s (Ngā Puhi) ongoing project Digital Marae has been realized in multiple contexts and was included in the Anne Landa Award in 2009 and the Liverpool Biennale in 2008. Working between installation, moving image, and time-based media works Reihana transports viewers in space and time making us rethink the constructions of both histories and futures.

Alex Monteith works in in video. Her current multiple screen installations involves complex choreography of adrenalin fuelled modes of transport or subtle meditations on the New Zealand environment. Monteith uses video media to distort and represent the world through a new frame. Her 2.5 Kilometre Mono Action for a Mirage was included in the New Zealand International Film Festival in 2011 and she was nominated for the Walters Art Prize in 2010.

Shona McCullagh works between dance and film introducing a kinaesthetic sensibility and interactivity to visual practice.

Daniel Belton. Artistic director of “Good Company” Belton produces dance films and installations that have a very particular sensibility moving between a romantic fascination with 18th century technologies and 21st century practices and ideas of the body.

Douglas Bagnall. Working with the hidden details of code, Bagnall produces lively critical interactives, games and installations. His Libsparrow was shown at the Dowse Art Gallery in 2010. He has a key involvement in Floss Manuals and the software creation of digital platforms for other media artists such as “opo” which allows for multiple screens to be generated off a single source.

Bruce Russell has an ongoing sound practice that encompasses experimental and improvisational live practice with recording and curated sonic installation. His influence includes his role as a networker, curator and writer as he works to connect the audio with new forms of media practice.

Rachel Shearer combines a variety of sound practices – creating sound installations, composing music for film and working as a sound designer/sound editor. She has worked alongside visual artists and filmmakers investigating the particularities of media art as it connects to the materiality of sound.

Veronica Vaevae (Cook Islands Maori – Mangaia/Manihiki) works in interdisciplinary and experimental film-making and videography, including photography, sculpture and digital design. Her work has been exhibited throughout Australia, New Zealand, the Cook Islands, Europe and the United States.

Janine Randerson is an Auckland based artist who works with a range of time-based media including 16mm film, digital audio and video and computer programmed interaction design. Her art practice is often interdisciplinary with a focus on science and climate.

OFFSITE (living outside of NZ)

Daniel Crooks (NZ and AU). Photographer and video artist, Daniel Crooks redefines familiar experiences of reality through digitally manipulated images with figures and objects appearing to organically mutate through time and space. Crooks has been included in the Sydney Biennale 2010, the Anne Landa Award 2007, and the Tate Modern’s Figuring Landscapes in 2009.

Luke Munn (NZ and Berlin) is an interactive designer who’s practice includes the creation of websites, games, exhibitions, animation, and social widgets. In addition, he was Online Curator for Window, commissioning a range of work from NZ and international artists, and curated the influential online gallery in 2010. and

Daniel von Sturmer (NZ and AU) constructs optically puzzling engagements with video, motion and space through screen installation. He critically manipulates our experiences of the body with objects often behaving in unique ways. He was in the Anne Landa Award in 2006, the Biennale of Sydney in 2004, and in 2007 represented Australia at the Venice Biennale.

Helen Varley Jamieson (NZ , Europe and online) uses the internet for live performance. Created the upstage platoform for live cyberformance and curates a yearly international festival on the site. Her new work make shift premiered in December 2010 in Italy, UK and online. and

Hayden Fowler (NZ, Sydney and Berlin) constructs elaborate sets in which he choreographs human or animal subjects, creating hyper-real video and photographic work from within these fictional spaces.

Honor Harger (NZ and UK) influential curator, director of The Lighthouse Brighton, UK; and advocate for NZ experimental sound and media arts internationally. Her practice with radio and sound is reflected in her 2011 TED talk here:

Adam Hyde (NZ and Berlin) runs the influential FLOSS Manuals involved in documenting and advocating for open source artist’s tools and software.

Julian Oliver (NZ and Berlin) works intensively with software and artistic game development. In 2010 Oliver was awarded the Golden Nica by the Prix Ars Electronica for newstweek a collaborative project with his studio partner Danja Vasiliev. Julian is an advocate of free software, working exclusively with free and open source software in his own practice.

Other people who should be in this list but do not call themselves media artists:

Adam Willetts
et al.
Ronnie van Hout
Joyce Campbell
Simon Ingram
Eugene Hansen
Peter Robinson