"On Being Plural".
Over the past decade my practice has undergone a transformation in which discreet conceptual and methodological practices have converged to form a pluri-discipline - a cultural practice which synthesises, sculpture with architectural or environmental sites and combines performed soundscapes (textual, musical or electronic) with public radio broadcast. My initial formation as a sculptor has provided me with an orientation which insists upon an experiential, rather than a representational means of expression - one in which the body (its sensorium and its memory) is invoked as the primary location of meaning. Such an orientation has drawn me to an area of research which seeks to critique and develop a nexus of relationships between the body, sound and public space.
My practice is broadly intended to redress this apparent lack of awareness of the sonic domain in the fields of design, architecture and art practice with a programme of Sound-sculpture projects designed to signal and promote the creative, cultural and technological potentials of the aural. My presentation will be structured around a historical overview of my involvement with new media and its hybridisation with more traditional artforms. I will consider effective strategies for working with new technologies, looking at both 'low' and 'high' technology approaches to creative work and will critique the relationship between the digital domain and the 'real'.
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BIO. education - Nigel Helyer is an Australian Sculptor and Sound-Artist who received a BA Hons in Sculpture from the Liverpool College of Art, UK. 1974, an MARCA in Environmental Media from The Royal College of Art, London, UK. 1979 and his Doctorate from the University of Technology, Sydney 1997.
awards and fellowships - he has participated in numerous national and international exhibitions, has been the recipient of various awards and fellowships and has undertaken many international Artist Residencies, which include :- the Green St Studio, New York 1988; Daewoo Heavy Industries, Korea 1988; The Exploratorium Museum, San Francisco 1988; San Jose State University 1988; PICA 1989; Kohler Industries, USA 1990; Cite Des Arts, Paris 1990; Chiang Mai University, Thailand 1991/2 and 1993/4 He received a Major Australia Council fellowship in 1992; was Visiting Artist to the Hanoi Institute of Fine Arts 1994 and the inaugural Visiting Fellow in Fine Arts to Auckland University 1994. During 1996 he was Visiting Fellow to The Centre for Advanced Inquiry into Interactive Arts, University of Wales and in 1997 the Visiting Fellow to The University of Western Sydney and a Visiting Artist to the University of Lapland 1997. o practice - over the past decade his practice has undergone a transformation in which discreet conceptual and methodological practices have converged to form a pluri-discipline - a cultural practice which synthesises, sculpture with architectural or environmental sites and combines performed soundscapes (textual, musical or electronic) with public radio broadcast and new-media formats, operating under the generic title Sonic Objects; Sonic Architecture.
His initial formation as a sculptor provided an orientation insistent upon an experiential, rather than a representational means of expression - one in which the body (its sensorium and its memory) is invoked as the primary location of meaning. Such an orientation has drawn him toward an area of research and practice which seeks to critique and develop a nexus of relationships between the body, sound and public space. o environmental works and the public context - activity in this area has been manifest as large scale public sculpture which include the architectural scale work Din-Ding-Dang-Dong constructed in the Seoul Olympic Park, 1988 and Chamber Work constructed for the University of San Jose, California, 1988. In 1994 and 1995 he developed a Public Art project as a collaboration between the Sydney College of the Arts and the Centennial Park Trust. During the Artful Park 2 festival, 1995 he re-deployed two Victorian sculptures as the sound-work Vox Gryphon. Recent projects include participation in Metropolitan Dreams with the graphic and audio installation Metro-Discipline for the Helsinki subway system, August 1997. He is currently engaged in developing several public sculpture commissions, notably the construction of two a large scale environmental sound-sculptures - Meta-Diva for the University of Western Sydney and Dual Nature for the City of Sydney Sculpture Walk.
installation works - form a second element of his creative practice. These gallery based sculptural installations employ a diverse range of construction processes for their realisation, and are characterised by their embrace of sound/text elements. A selected overview would include :- Die Melodie der Welt for the Bicentennial Perspecta, AGNSW 1987 (touring to the Frankfurt and Stuttgart Kunstveriens 1988); Big Bell Beta at the Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts 1989/1990; Mute in TalkTown at the Performance Space 1990; the Hybrid exhibition in Chiang Mai, Thailand 1992; Siren Song a kinetic sound-sculpture installation at the AGNSW 1992; the La Zona del Silencio project undertaken in Mexico and Australia as part of the Biennale of Sydney 1992/93 and for ABC Radio; Gyro Diva at Artspace 1993; Aura at Annandale Gallery 1993; and ReCirculations; A Techno-Poetics at Silpakorn University, Bangkok 1993 Chiang Mai University 1994.
Recent major installation projects include; Oracle an architectural scale sculpture with video and audio texts, exhibited at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, as part of Sound in Space 1995 - The Silent Forest project previewed at the Annandale gallery 1995 followed by major exhibitions at the San Francisco Institute of Art, as part of SoundCulture96 (with a linked radio broadcast) and at the National Gallery of Victoria as part of Contempora 5, 1997. The sound-installation Toll was mounted at Galerie Muu, Helsinki during the Sounds From Elsewhere festival 1996 (linked electronically to a second installation site in Helsinki harbour). The sound-installation Din was recently exhibited in Kassel as part of the Innenseit Projekt ,1997 and he has recently shown the multi-part sound-installation Metamorphoses at Elizabeth Bay House in Sydney as part of the Artists in the House series, 1997. o broadcast works - a further aspect of his practice is the production of sound-works for radio broadcast and/or installation within architectural contexts; some recent commissions for ABC Radio include :- Bell Transfer 1989; which was also manifest as a multi-site sound installation realised for Ars Electronica, Linz, Austria 1989. You can't speak English to Buddha 1990; Semi-Automatic Writing, an Opera for Human and Machine Voices 1991; the Public Sculpture/Broadcast work An UnRequited Space 1992, for the Working in Public event; La Zona */ La Campana1993 (co-produced with Tony MacGregor) for ABC Radio and the Biennale of Sydney and A Silent Forest (co-produced with Tony MacGregor)1996 ABC FM and KPFA Berkley CA. His most recent commissions have been Metamorphoses, produced for ABC radio, 1997; a series of 12 broadcasts for the BBC in Liverpool as part of the Ship to Shore project 1998 and "A Transit of Venus" (co-produced with Simo Alitalo) for YLE Helsinki (Finnish National Radio) with an English language version for ABC Classic FM Radio. o sound-art and the Pacific - as co-founder of SoundCulture International he has been instrumental in establishing the SoundCulture concept to promote and develop the work of Artists of the Pacific Zone who work with non-musical forms of sound production. He contributed three sonic installations to the inaugural SoundCulture, 1991 in Sydney, Tone Buddhas at the ABC Ultimo Studio, The Lament at WINDOW Gallery and Re-Defining Functionalism at The University of Technology Sydney. During the 1993 he undertook a series of projects in SE. Asia as Visiting Professor to the Faculty of Fine Arts, Chiang Mai, Thailand, including exhibitions at Silpakorn University, Bangkok, Chiang Mai University and The Chiang Mai Social Installation Project. He was able to further develop his interest and relationships with Asian artists as Invited Artist to the Institute of Fine Arts Há Nôi, 1993 and exhibitor and conference participant at SoundCulture Japan, 1993, Tokyo. He has been a regular contributing artist to the Auckland based SoundWatch biennale and was the inaugural Fine Arts Fellow for the University of Auckland in 1994 exhibiting the installation Gyro-Diva at the George Patton Gallery. He is currently exhibitiong the "Transit of Venus" project at the Auckland City New Gallery as part of SoundCulture99 New Zealand. o new media - a current development in his practice is characterised by a desire to link these varied creative activities within a pluri-discipline and to further develop this convergence into Multi-media formats. In 1994 an award from the NSW Ministry for the Arts (Arts, Design, Industry programme) assisted in the realisation of Hybrid a CD Rom interactive disc, launched January 1995. This work, produced in conjunction with Lloyd Sharp, has been the catalyst for the formation of the CultureWare label which is currently developing material for several new CD Rom titles, the most recent being ReSound and Create together with the CultureWare web-site designed to facilitate the distribution of Pacific area multi-media titles. During 1996 he mounted a comprehensive 'audio-retrospective' as part of the Muu Media Festival, Helsinki, Finland, in collaboration with Finland Telecom who distributed the audio works via ATM high speed internet servers. He has contributed papers, sound-pieces and multi-media works to the International Symposium of Electronic Arts, Helsinki 1994, ISEA95 Montreal, the Biennale of St Petersburg, 1996 the Brisbane International Film Festival 1996, Techne at PICA 1997 and The 3rd International Festival of Computer Arts in Maribor, Slovenia 1997. He recently exhibited Ship to Shore a maritime sound installation and radio broadcast project in Liverpool, England during ISEA98 and "A Transit of Venus" at Kiasma (The New Museum of Modern Art, Helsinki) 1999 see :-http://www.kiasma.fng.fi/transitofvenus o infra-structure - he served as a member of the board of directors of The Performance Space, Sydney, between 1986 and 1994 and the board of directors of Artspace, Sydney, between 1994 and 1996. He is a co-founder and Commissioner of The International SoundCulture Committee, a member of the International Council of The Exploratorium Museum of Science and Human Perception (San Francisco, USA) and an animateur for the Australian Business Network. Currently he is head of the Sculpture, Performance and Installation studio at The University of Sydney, Sydney College of the Arts. o current activity includes :- o the Meta-Diva project for the University of Western Sydney. o the Dual Nature project for the City of Sydney Sculpture Walk. o the prototype development of the CdRom Create (Australian Film Commission). o the federal government has recently awarded funding for twelve months research and development work in 3D sound design with Lake DSP. o the "Leven" project for the Palm House, Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney.
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