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A wonderland in a black box


February 2008

A wonderland in a black box

‘Black Box’ – a collaboration by Wellington Institute of Technology (WelTec) lecturers Grant Corbishley, Tony DeGoldi and Andy Irving, is one of a selection of installations and sculptures on display at the New Zealand International Arts Festival’s ‘Shapeshifter’ exhibition which is being held at the Civic Gardens in Lower Hutt until the 16th of March.

The exhibition, which features over 50 of New Zealand’s leading and emerging sculptors and artists, is directed by TheNewDowse’s Tim Walker. The proceeds from the exhibition will be distributed to local charities which serve the arts, the terminally ill and youth, through the Rotary Club of Hutt City Inc.

An installation inside a big black wooden box, the aptly named ‘Black Box’ allows visitors to interact with the work through peepholes that provide different spatial views. Grant says that it [Black box] is supposed to evoke emotion and feeling. “It is a playful experience using space and scale. It is designed to provide people with an unexpected experience – hopefully something that is delightful or enjoyable, somewhat reminiscent of Alice in Wonderland.”

Grant, Tony and Andy are excited about exhibiting together as part of the New Zealand International Arts Festival. “This is the first collaborative piece we have done together,” says Grant. “It is always interesting to work with people who come from different creative backgrounds – I am a visual artist, Tony is a theatre designer and Andy is an interior designer. They both brought a lot of ideas about the use of space to the table.”

Recent WelTec graduate Ben Caldwell is also exhibiting in ‘Shapeshifter’. Ben, who graduated with a Bachelor of Visual Arts in February, is showing his sculpture ‘Fe Piedra – Faith Rocks’ which encompass his vision not only for art, but for life. Ben explains that the work is about his faith – in himself, in god, in other people and in art.

Along with ‘Black Box’, Grant is working on another collaboration with fellow WelTec staff members Todd Cochrane from IT and Patrick Herd from Engineering in Second Life®, an online virtual reality. The project is designed to show the potential of Second Life® to affect real life. They will be taking their findings to the International Symposium on Electronic Art (ISEA) 2008 in Singapore in July.

This type of creative collaboration is one of the fundamental principles behind WelTec’s new Bachelor of Creative Technologies (BCT) in which Grant teaches Collaborative Practice. The course is taught across disciplines, including interior design, digital media and product design engineering. Students form working teams with people from other fields to solve industry relevant problems. “It will involve a lot of creative process and learning opportunities, including working with others, thinking outside the square and producing the unexpected,” says Grant.

‘Shapeshifter’ is showing until the 16th of March at the Civic Gardens (Laings Rd) in Lower Hutt.


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