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Poets and scientists team up for Smash Palace

15 June 2005 Media Statement
Poets and scientists team up for Smash Palace

A collaboration between award-winning scientist Paul Callaghan and poet Bill Manhire is among four new projects funded through the government's $700,000 Smash Palace Fund, Research, Science and Technology Minister Steve Maharey and Associate Arts, Culture and Heritage Minister Judith Tizard announced today.

The collaboration – called "Are Angels Okay?" – will bring together ten of New Zealand's best creative writers with leading physicists from six universities. The result will be a book of imaginative writing about the rules, symmetries and quantum phenomena that define the universe.

The Smash Palace Fund – introduced in 2002 – was designed to encourage the convergence between the arts and science as a building block for innovation and creativity.

"In its first few years, Smash Palace has succeeded in encouraging scientists to get out of their comfort zones and consider how research affects our culture and our society," Steve Maharey said. "A number of the projects have had practical spin-offs including interactive education software and a new approach to catchment management for the Motueka River.

"I'm sure this year's projects will be just as successful. As New Zealand continues its drive to be a world-leader in science, initiatives like this that challenge the public to engage with science in new ways will be increasingly important."

Judith Tizard said the creative sector has an important role to play in encouraging a much needed discussion on science in New Zealand.

"The arts always play an important role in helping societies consider the implications of science and new technology," Judith Tizard said. "They help us engage with new ideas and help focus debate on issues of concern.

"I'm proud to be part of a government that is encouraging proactive collaboration between artists and scientists. The first series of projects funded through Smash Palace have shown us how valuable this collaboration can be."

Further information is attached.

The Smash Palace Collaboration Fund – New projects

Four projects bringing together artists and scientists are to receive funding under the 2005-2007 Smash Palace Collaboration Fund.

The Smash Palace Fund – which was piloted in 2002-2003 – has been set up to encourage the convergence between the arts and science as a building block for innovation and creativity as a basis for a knowledge economy. It is jointly funded by the Ministry of Research, Science and Technology (MoRST) and Creative New Zealand.

Under this funding round, four groups have been given money to research and test out their collaborative project.

They are:
- Are Angels Okay? ($33,750) – in which ten of the country’s best creative writers will get together with top physicists from six New Zealand universities with a view to publishing a book of imaginative writing about the rules, symmetries and quantum phenomena that define the Universe. The project sponsors are Professor Bill Manhire, (Director of Victoria University’s Institute of Modern Letters) and Professor Paul Callaghan (Director, MacDiarmid Institute for Advanced Materials and Nanotechnology).

- HIEMPA: Hybrid Instruments from Electroacoustic Manipulation and Models of Putorino and Aquascape Project ($47,858) – musician and composer Ian Whalley will team with computer scientist, Bernard Pfahringer and musician and Maori instrument specialist Richard Nunns to collect sounds from the Waitomo Caves area and those of traditional Maori instruments related to water and from these develop software-based hybrid digital instruments.

- Under the Radar ($34,875) – a project by Auckland-based artweb, a group of artists and scientists who provide a network of artworks that draw attention to aspects of the region’s landscapes. Under the Radar involves collecting data and developing concept drawings for public installations that reflect the relationship between Auckland’s volcanic cones and the city’s lizard populations.

- Te Ahua Hiko ($33,525) – a collaboration between the Human Interface Technology Laboratory (HIT), Ngai Tahu performing artists and Canterbury Museum to make a 3D recording of Maori performers and present the resulting augmented reality digital performance at Canterbury Museum in a way that allows patrons to view the work from all angles.


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