Order, Passion, Becoming

Exhibition by Aleksandra Dulić and Kenneth Newby
July 6th - 19th, 2013

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Donator: Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies (FCCS) Research Dissemination Fund,
University of British Columbia

Order, Passion, Becoming
Exhibition by Aleksandra Dulić and Kenneth Newby
Exhibition funded by FCCS Research Dissemination Fund, University of British Columbia

This exhibit bridges two key ideas: that of cultural mosaic and ecological health — both images of diversity. This is done to expand the metaphor of a cultural mosaic — a defining characteristic of Canadian identity — with complementary ecological characteristics of complexity and variety in balance. At the same time, the composition of such a mosaic may help us view environmental challenges as not simply problems of science and technology but as core social, cultural and spiritual concerns. The underlying premise is that an ecologically diverse world requires correspondingly diverse metaphors that shift from a cross-cultural framework to one inclusive of ecological communities. An image of an expanded Canadian mosaic is expressed through the composition of dynamic images of multiplicity in a merging of humans and Nature. Meaning, both broad and focused, is constructed from layers of portraiture based on a set of faces drawn from the beautifully diverse community characteristic of Vancouver, Canada. The work is reflective of our contemporary cultural reality and depicts these faces within the materials and landscapes of Nature. It weaves cultural identity through the merging of ethnocultural diversity with a sense of place.

An Order Passions
Artist: Aleksandra Dulić and Kenneth Newby
Facial Expression Recognition System: David Kadish and Homayoun Najjaran,
Additional programming: Phill Pablo
Video recording: Jeannette Angel and Emilia Schmidt
Postproduction: Jessica Dennis
Project Funded by Martha Piper Research Fund, UBC

The dynamic nature of the Order of Passions enables the discovery, indigenizing and reconstruction of identities. The resultant wholes reflect a multiplicity of voices singing simultaneously, not only in dialogue but also with an ear to each voice’s uniqueness and interdependence. The human face and voice are core elements of human communication; they are the instruments through which we present our selves to ourselves and the world. Facial features divulge our ancestry. Their movements betray our emotions and cultural frameworks. Despite our cultural and ethnic differences, all people are bound by the ability to read faces. This project brings a conception of unity to the participants through a focus on the face, while diversity is represented through multi-ethnic signatures of facial appearances and vocal expressions of the linguistic richness of diverse cultures. The image is expressed visually as a single mosaic composed of many individuals and their facial expressions grouped in an expressive unity. Aurally, the work expresses Canadian cultural and environmental dialogues through linguistic complexities characteristic of our experience. Different people, their faces and voices, are projected across dozens of screens and audio channels that together create a dynamic image.

Becoming World
Artist: Kenneth Newby and Aleksandra Dulić

Situated in a world obsessed with speed, driven by the desire for instant gratification, Becoming World, takes a radical departure from the culture of montage and juxtaposition by generating an image of continuous transformation and interpenetration that occurs so slowly as to elude the conscious perception of the underlying change as it occurs. The work, as an experience, situates itself around the boundary between experience and memory — spontaneous perception and cognitive conception. By subverting the flash judgment of direct experience within the psychological present a more discursive image emerges. A set of textural interventions then function to reorganize and enhance the portraits — becoming skins and spaces — making of each a merging of the human and the world we inhabit. The work functions as a generative system for a huge variety of hybrid personas. A simultaneous characterization of multiple states of being expressed in its own simple way the complexity of being in the world — a state of being in which we at once carry an image of the world within us while, at the same time, are subject to the changes wrought on our selves by the external forces of an enveloping world. In this way Becoming World attempts to show an interpenetration of the human with the world — an interpenetration that might hopefully enter into a discourse on a transpersonal state of being conducive to a rethinking of our place in the world as continuous, cohabitant, participatory and fundamentally resonant with the world.

There must be something in the water
Artist: Jeanette Angel, Hanss Lujan, Kenneth Newby, and Aleksandra Dulić

The rippling surface of the pond is projected onto a salt-covered floor surface, which when disturbed by footsteps or a hand gesture, causes the face of a spirit to rise from the depths of the water, at times inscrutably staring at the viewers and at other times, struggling under the surface of the pond. As the viewer moves away from the edge of the pond, the surface returns to the subtle dynamic of the rippling pond surface. The pond allows participants to reflect on how their gestures and actions work against their desires as they obscure the image they wanted to reveal. This suggests a potential for an embodied awareness of a larger theme of the work: human and technological presence in a natural ecosystem. The viewer is asked to not only participate in a predefined narration but to explore and realize in time, in space, in the matter, the potentials of events embedded in the work. In realizing the work, the viewer is invited to experience a reciprocal interaction and a gentle suggestion that it might bode well to take care of.

Dr. Aleksandra Dulić
UBC Assistant Professor
Director of the Centre for Culture and Technology,
Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies

Dr. Aleksandra Dulić is an artist-scholar working at the intersection of interactive multimedia installation and live performance with research foci in cross-cultural media performance, interactive animation, and computational poetics. She has received several awards for her artwork, which is widely presented in exhibitions, festivals, conferences and television broadcasts across Europe, Asia, and North America. These works include films, animated media performances, interactive computer installations, and software tools for interactive animation. She is active as an artist, curator, writer, educator, teaching courses, presenting and publishing papers across North America, Australia, Europe, and Asia.

Kenneth Newby
University of the Fraser Valley, Artist Scholar

Kenneth Newby is a media artist, composer-performer, educator, interaction designer, and audio producer whose creative practice explores the use of technology to enable media performances and installations that are rich in aural, visual and cultural nuances. His work is widely presented in exhibitions, concerts, festivals, and radio broadcasts throughout Canada, Asia, Europe, and the USA. These works include compositions of media performance, electro-acoustic and acoustic music; interactive computer systems for live performance and installation; software tools for composition of music and animation, new composition for Javanese and Balinese gamelan ensembles; interdisciplinary collaborations with composers and artists in various disciplines (film, video, dance, theatre, poetry, shadow play) and participation in improvisational ensembles.

Dr. Homayoun Najjaran, co-investigator for An Order Passions project
Director, Advanced Control and Intelligent Systems (ACIS) Laboratory
UBC Associate Professor, School of Engineering
Telephone: 250-807-8713

Dr. Najjar received his Ph.D. from the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering at the University of Toronto in 2002, working as the Robotics and Automation Laboratory at the University of Toronto, and a Senior Consultant for Engineering Services Inc., Toronto, Canada. From 2003 to 2006, he worked as a Research Officer at the National Research Council Canada where his research focused on the development of robotic systems and sensor technologies. He joined the Okanagan School of Engineering at the University of British Columbia (UBC) in May 2006. Dr. Najjaran is the founder of the Advanced Control and Intelligent Systems Laboratory (ACIS) at the School of Engineering. His research focuses on the analysis and design of advanced control systems in a variety of applications ranging from service and humanoid robots to digital microfluidic systems.

David Kadish, An Order Passions project

David Kadish is a recent MASc graduate at the Centre for Culture and Technology and the Advanced Control and Intelligent Systems lab and at UBC Okanagan. He completed his BASc Systems Design Engineering degree at the University of Waterloo and spent a term on exchange at Lunds Universitet in Lund, Sweden. His research focuses on computer recognition of facial expressions to apply it to an art installation. In his spare time, he works on technology-mediated public art and systems to minimize the use of natural resources.

Jeannette Angel, There must be something in the water

Jeannette Angel is a Ph.D. student in the Interdisciplinary Graduate Studies program at UBCO. Her research focus is on media for social change as a method of engaging the local Okanagan community in dialogue and action around environmental issues. Recent interdisciplinary projects include developing a curriculum based organic art garden at L’Anse Au Sable, a French-language school in Kelowna, British Columbia and initiating an art and movement French language program in Port Townsend, Washington. Jeannette has a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Concordia University in Montreal; a Master’s in Art History from the University of Washington in Seattle and has trained as a professional dancer with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet and Contemporary Dancers in Winnipeg. She has performed and taught in Canada, the United States and France.