Polar Patterns Past Event

Presented by Philip Samartzis and Wild System
A man in a yellow and black puffy jacket sits to the left on 2 fluffy microphones on tall stands. He is in the now in Antarctica
Recording a blizzard at Jack’s Hut
A view of Antarctic ice sheets on a blue sky day
Antarctica Breaking
Image courtesy of Wild System
Antarctic outpost on an overcast day
Blizzard at Casey Station
Image courtesy of Philip Samartzis
View of an architectural installation in Antarctica
Wilkes Station
Image courtesy of Philip Samartzis
A view toward ice sheets and the bow of the Aurora Australis
Antarctica Breaking
Image courtesy of Wild System
2 microphones on tall stands in the snow in front of a large stretch of water
Recording Katabatic Wind
Image courtesy of Philip Samartzis
View of ice and rocks through a window spattered with rain drops
Bailey Peninsula
Image courtesy of Philip Samartzis

Polar Patterns presents an immersive and visceral experience of the extreme forces shaping Antarctica, one of the world’s most remote and remarkable wilderness ecologies. It will demonstrate the complexity and consequences of extreme climate and weather in places seldom seen or heard, yet integral to our daily existence.

Life on remote research stations and vessels is progressively resembling the broader contemporary experience, in which strict protocols are used to govern and preserve life. The communities who live and work in these places have learnt how to co-exist with an increasingly hostile environment, along with its unknowns and necessity for hyper-vigilance. Rather than consider it as a place on the edge of elsewhere, Antarctica and its resilient colonies provides an archetype capable of anticipating escalating volatility. It is within this framework that this project posits Antarctica as a place that has much to teach us.

Polar Patterns includes two new works: an installation Antarctica Breaking by Wild System and a concert The Blizzard by Philip Samartzis.

Antarctica Breaking comprises glacial imagery and realtime 3D visuals and sounds from data captured on the last Australian voyage of the icebreaker RSV Aurora Australis to the Antarctic continent. Adam Nash and John McCormick (aka Wild System) were the 2020 Australian Antarctic Arts Fellows and engaged with many aspects of the expedition: ship, crew, scientists, expeditioners, science experiments, a plethora of data collection and journeys over the Southern Ocean and Antarctic continent.

The Blizzard is a new surround sound work by Philip Samartzis solely comprising recordings of the presence and effects of high velocity katabatic wind recorded in Eastern Antarctica in 2010 and 2016. The Blizzard draws on hundreds of hours of field recordings to express an immersive and visceral experience of the extreme forces transforming our planet.

The artists would like to acknowledge the generous support of the Australian Antarctic Division, the Australia Council for the Arts, the Australian Network for Art & Technology, the Bogong Centre for Sound Culture, Creative Victoria, and RMIT University.

John McCormick

John McCormick is a technology-based artist with a major interest in movement. John has collaborated on works worldwide, including at International Symposium of Electronic Art, SIGGRAPH, and Ars Electronica Futurelab. John’s current artistic work explores human robot interaction mediated by mixed reality environments. John is currently a lecturer and researcher in the Centre for Transformative Media Technologies at Swinburne University of Technology where he investigates artistic practice in mixed reality environments, robotics, artificial intelligence and human action.

Adam Nash

Adam Nash is a practice-based researcher and digital artist, composer, programmer, performer, teacher and writer. He is internationally recognised as one of the most original artists working in virtual environments and mixed-reality technology, exploring them as sites of playable art. Working in a post-convergent idiom, he uses virtual environments, game engines, the web, generative and procedural composition and programming, data and motion capture, artificial intelligence, synthetic evolution, audio, vision and live performance. Adam is an Associate Professor (Virtual Interior) in the Interior Design Discipline in the School of Architecture and Urban Design at RMIT University.

Philip Samartzis

Philip Samartzis is a sound artist, scholar and curator with a specific interest in the social and environmental conditions informing remote wilderness regions and their communities. His art practice is based on deep fieldwork where he deploys complex sound recording technology to capture natural, anthropogenic and geophysical forces. He is particularly interested in concepts of perception, immersion and embodiment in order to provide audiences with sophisticated encounters of space and place. Philip is an associate professor in the School of Art at RMIT University, and artistic director of the Bogong Centre for Sound Culture.

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