Cycles: Repetition & Redirection | Curated by Miriam Harris
Gregory Bennett (NZ), Tania de León (Mexico), Miriam Harris (NZ), Jan Kruse (NZ/Germany), Daniela Repas (USA/Bosnia and Herzegovina), Johnson Witehira (NZ), Olga Wroniewicz (Poland)
This exhibition explores themes of cyclical repetition and redirection, in an immersive 360-degree animated installation arising out of a collaboration between seven artists/animators located in different parts of the globe. Animation as a medium has strong associations with the circular and cyclical, in the form of looping, ‘walk cycles’, optical toys such as the zoetrope and praxinoscope, the panorama, and the emerging media form of virtual reality.
Cycles of repetition play a prominent role in our domestic and personal lives, as well as within societies and cultures. Such circularity has spawned vernacular expressions such as being stuck in a ‘vicious circle’ or sounding like ‘a broken record’. On the recent contemporary political stage, Donald Trump’s fear mongering and scapegoating of minorities prompted a sense of déja vu, a reminder of the mass rallies and demagoguery that took place to devastating effect in Germany in the 1930s. George Santayana’s dictum is often quoted: ‘It has been said that those who do not learn from history, are condemned to repeat it’.
Further, there are patterns of causality and habit that operate on an unconscious level. It could be said that there are inter-generational legacies of trauma absorbed by the psyche which manifest themselves in various fashions, both personal and societal. In order to break such cycles of repetition, an awareness of the source of the damage or ‘wounded-ness’ needs to occur, and new directions and patterns established.
These themes of repetition and redirection – both personal and cultural – are explored by seven artists who have exhibited internationally and work in the field of animation/fine arts/new media: Gregory Bennett, Miriam Harris and Jan Kruse (all lecturers in Digital Design at AUT), AUT Communication Design lecturer Johnson Witehira, Portland/Bosnian animator Daniela Repas, Polish animator Olga Wroniewicz, and Mexican animator Tania de León.