It’s For You : Programme notes

A portfolio of digitally mediated works by Colin Woods.

In her introduction to Artificial Hells, Claire Bishop defines participation in art as that, “… in which people constitute the central artistic medium and material, in the manner of theatre and performance.” It is interesting then to consider whether artworks are things in and of themselves, or if they only actually exist as art in terms of the relationships they have with their audience; perhaps only in terms of the roles performed by the audience as they enter into discourse with the presented situations. The set of work presented here seeks to research these notions along with the idea of where things sit on the spectrum of “closed” or “open” works as suggested by Umberto Eco, and the idea of art as inherent autobiographical trace. Some works in this exhibition form part of the submission for the degree of Master of Creative Technologies at AUT*.

1. Room for you* [Mixed materials with electronics and audio]
Sound and movement constitute the display aspect of the work which becomes a joint project between the creator of the technical apparatus and the person interacting. It may or may not be experienced by watchers/listeners outside the space. When the interaction stops, the apparatus reverts to its waiting state, a collection of wood and electronics. This forms the artist’s trace in the same way that a violin is its maker’s trace as a beautiful object in itself. It isa device enabling performance, that when unused and unseen, remains as a potential artworkin the same way as a painting in a cupboard

2. I Just Called* [Mixed materials with electronics and audio]
I like to play with the dynamic between intimacy and voyeurism. In I Just Called, we hear people saying heartfelt and private things to one they love. We listen, but are we observing orintruding? Where does the artwork live? I argue that it exists mostly in the feelings experienced. It is not merely the telephone hand-sets or the sound files, rather it is the emotion engendered as we react to the words and how they are said. It is our relationship to the work. Our emotions happen with immediacy, and we have very little conscious control over them. Where is the critical distance here? How can we listen without considering the back-story to each snippet? Does each flow from joy or tragedy? What of the obviously synthetic voices deprived of the nuances of human agency? The words are there all the same.

3. Recursive diffusion* [Mixed materials with electronics and audio]
This piece is a sound rendering (if you’re listening to this, then this is it) of this series of writings through an object with eight listening ports, each of which projects a section of the text. There is no indication of the order in which they are addressed and no particular order is preferred. This audio is the definitive rendering of the exegesis. The written text is submitted to comply with University regulations and is merely a script for this performance.

4. Records* [Vinyl records in locked box]
A selection of vinyl from the artist’s personal collection (chosen at random by his wife) in a sealed box. The exact content is unknown to the artist and will not be revealed until the exhibition ends when the box is unsealed and the records are played.



5. Grabble [Electronics, software and video projection]

A partner work to two of the pieces on the video reel (Junk mail poems). The projection shows a grid of random text, designed to fool spam filters, from a junk email.



6. Video Reel (on a loop) (see video section)

  • Continental (2017)
    All sounds transformed from a single repeated phrase it looks how it feels to consider
    those topics.
  • Junk Mail Poem (2016)
    A response to the padding text receipt of many sexually suggestive emails. This work is deliberately devoid of agential intervention as the text is algorithmically rendered by a text to speech program. Various visual parameters are keyed to this machine generated output.
  • Junk Mail Poem #2 (2017)
    The same text as above, but performed by the artist as a Dadaist found poem.
  • 53 (2015)
    What’s it like to be 53? This piece explores the physicality of a degenerating body and a mind now able to look back with critical distance.