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Masters creativity on show

February 3, 2014

Masters creativity on show

Visitors to Massey University’s Wellington campus next week will get to see and hear some intriguing exhibits at Massey Wellington as Masters art and design students usher in another creative year next week with their graduating exhibition.

The 17 Master of Design projects on display from February 7-15, cover such diverse topics as using food to promote democracy, how to visualise sound, a book that both blind and sighted children can enjoy, sustainable textiles, and a visitor experience in a restored wetland. Four Master of Fine Arts students are also showing their work.

Visual communication designer Kieran Stowers drew on his Pasifika heritage and strong commitment to voter participation to create a potluck dinner party toolkit that promotes discussion about New Zealand’s constitutional arrangements. The project invites guests to bring allocated categories of food to dinner and they are then 'fed' a series of questions to encourage general discussion. A second round of questions focusing more on New Zealand values geared toward what themes dinner guests would like to see in a constitution is then served up. These thoughts are all written down on a table cloth with the top four ideas selected for a possible preamble – the introduction to a constitution that outlines the general goals of its draftees.

“It’s not a political tool but a team building exercise disguised as dinner,” Mr Stowers says.

“It’s an interesting area to look at as New Zealand doesn’t have a constitution as such so this is quite exciting to ask questions about and being able to design elements of what a constitution could be.”

David Woolley’s project straddles design and art. A tutor at Southern Institute of Technology, Mr Woolley works with digital media. His Masters investigates cymatics, the study of sound made visible through vibration, as he projects visual patterns made by sound onto screens.

Spatial designer Jess Clarkin created a visitor experience for Wither Hills vineyards in Marlborough. The company has been restoring a native wetland on one of its vineyards for several years and wanted a distinctive, environmentally sensitive design to help visitors appreciate its beauty. Her design includes a series of boardwalks and tracks, viewing tower, maimai, jetty and other structures integrated with the landscape and drawing heavily on materials found on site.

Director of Postgraduate Studies at the College of Creative Arts, Associate Professor David Cross, says four Master of Fine Arts students are also exhibiting: David Brown, Maria O’Toole, Connah Podmore and Nigel Royal are the final class of Massey’s one-year MFA. Ms Podmore's video performance work is timely in the lead up to World War One commemorations in 2015. It explores the experience of remembering distant pasts and people as she responds to the memory of her great grandfather and the war.

Massey’s art and design degrees received global recognition last year by becoming the first outside North America to be approved by the US National Association of Schools of Art and Design – the most comprehensive benchmark of quality in art and design education.

“We strongly encourage our postgraduate students to take creative risks and stretch themselves to come up with new ideas, forms and modes of practice, and especially to do so in a way that makes a real difference in the world,” Dr Cross says.

Work by students in the new two-year MFA for designers and artists, along with more Master of Design projects, will be exhibited in November.

Masters Exhibition Details:
Open to public daily, February 7-15, 12noon-5pm, Massey University Wellington, Entrance C off Wallace Street
The exhibition is clustered in adjacent buildings: Te Ara Hihiko, The Engine Room gallery and Block 1


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