​CELESTON 1

MoB (Museum of Brisbane)

Created as a part of MoB Artists@Home residency over a 6 week period - Man&Wah created a series of work and written thoughts during unprecedented time of forced lock in and isolation, the Artists @ Home residency program bridged physical distance through making, sharing and connecting. The program captured the experience of the present, at this significant point in our history, through the eyes, hands and words of Brisbane’s makers.

Ten creatives from the Greater Brisbane Region were selected to complete a six-week creative residency from their home or studio.  MoB's support of the Brisbane's creative community hopes to develop relationships, collaborations and encourage the sharing of knowledge and creative ideas within the community.

Below is a selection of thoughts, resources and works created over that 6 week period...

INTERCONNECTEDNESS - Series 1

During the enforced lock in late March 2020, we began creating a series of large scale botanical montages questioning 'interconnectedness'. As the viral & fear pandemic was in full swing in Australia and globally we observed the astounding volume of information available through countless mediums, outlets and platforms asserting its analysis, reviews, opinions, critics, reactions, statistics, and data - easily consumed by anyone with a wifi connected device.

In this short recorded human history the accessibility of information at our fingertips unlike never before, one would think it could translate into a more coherent common global goal of tackling the situation – there was some very helpful content and information out there, but as we continue to observe and consume information on our screens – it seems friction, fraction, agitation, anxiety and confusion seems to be the common prevailing vibe, coupled with verbal skirmishes, arguments, trolling, nasty comments becoming the usual feast in this virtual beast.

Witnessing this inspired us to question the interconnectedness of the cosmos and all living things. Pondering the intricate multilayered processes all interacting and at play in every moment which facilitates life on earth and within the cosmos, with many of these interactions invisible to the five human senses. These following montages are the first few visual expressions of those thoughts. We’ll continue to share more montages for the MoB Artist@Home residency as they progress.

INTERCONNECTEDNESS - Series 1, No.1     158mm.W x 200mmH.

INTERCONNECTEDNESS - Series 1. No.2     158mm.W x 200mmH.

INTERCONNECTEDNESS - Series 1, No.3     158mm.W x 200mmH.

INTERCONNECTEDNESS - Series 2

Developing from Series 1 the direction and intention was to evolve the botanical works by infusing it with a celestial quality, to visually connect nature and plants to the wider cosmos. To continue investigating the cosmic abyss of interconnected relationships and processes in every ecosphere which is often omitted from the consideration of our thoughts.

As we began creating and refining Series 2 the other week along with giving thought on what else to write at present – our attention has also been taken by the uprising of people in the United States against their oppressive government showing its blatant and brutal force against citizens, who are protesting against blatant and brutal force (but the nation itself has been in constant conflicts and wars since the late 17th century until this present day with itself and other countries). As we watch current events unfold we have been examining them through a lens of ’interconnectedness’ where a country’s dark historical roots stem from brutal exploitation, imperialist ideologies and policies imposed onto countless cultures, still till this present day.

 

Thinking through the interconnections of past and present, cause and effect, action (or lack of) and how these constantly intertwine moulding our ideas, beliefs, attitudes, social structures, policies, nations and so on… it helps us to reflect and inquire about these domino effects, the possible futures and how to proceed in the present. Below is a few recommendations for further research and readings:

First Australians - 7 part documentary series

Aboriginal Deaths in Custody: The Royal Commission and its Records, 1987–91
Cornel West - American philosopher, political activist, social critic, author
Sex, Bombs & Burgers by Peter Norwak

INTERCONNECTEDNESS - Series 2, No.4   200 x 200cm
Planetary graphics credit: Erich Karkoschka (University of Arizona), NASA/ESA, Hubble Heritage Team, J. Biretta (STScI) et al., (STScI/AURA), ESA, NASA

INTERCONNECTEDNESS - Series 2, No.5   200 x 200cm

Planetary graphics credit: NASA, ESA, & A. Feild (STScI), NASA, ESA, & E. Karkoschka (University of Arizona), ESA/Hubble & NASA, L. Lamy / Observatoire de Paris

INTERCONNECTEDNESS - Series 2, No.6   200 x 200cm

Planetary graphics credit: NASA, ESA, & A. Feild (STScI), NASA, ESA, & E. Karkoschka (University of Arizona), ESA/Hubble & NASA, L. Lamy / Observatoire de Paris

Interconnectedness - Series 3

This is the third and final ‘Interconnectedness’ montage series. An area of interconnectedness that attracts our attention often especially during these past months has been the use of language - when paired with visual content it is a powerful, effective and influential tool for expression, persuasion or manipulation. It is no secret these tool$ is the bread and butter of the press and media, employed intentionally and used subtly (or blatantly) to manufacture attention snatching headlines even if the words and language used could be misleading and induce or trigger an emotional reaction. The use of these tools is embedded in the political realm, military, police force, transglobal corporations, processed food industries, big pharma, mineral extraction industry and so on. Below are three links of comedian George Carlin who skillfully analyses and inspects the use of the english language.

 

George Carlin – At the National Press Club
George Carlin - Euphemism
George Carlin - Advertising & Bullshit

INTERCONNECTEDNESS - Series 3, No.7     158cm.W x 200cm.H
Planetary graphics credit: Erich Karkoschka (Uni of Arizona), NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS, NASA/ESA & Erich Karkoschka, Uni of Arizona, ESA/Hubble & NASA, L. Lamy / Observatoire de Paris, Hubble Heritage Team (AURA/STScI/NASA/ESA), NASA, J.Bell (Cornell Uni), M Wolff (SSI), Hubble Heritage Team (STScl/AURA), NASA, ESA, & E. Karkoschka (Uni of Arizona).

INTERCONNECTEDNESS - Series 3, No.8     158cm.W x 200cm.H

Planetary graphics credit: Planetary graphics credit: Erich Karkoschka (Uni of Arizona), and NASA/ESA, David Crisp/WFPC2 Science Team/JPL-Caltech/NASA, NASA/JPL, NASA/Ames/SETI Institute/JPL-Caltech, Bruce Balick (Uni of Washington), Vincent Icke (Leiden Uni, The Netherlands), Garrelt Mellema (Stockholm Uni), NASA/ESA, NASA, ESA & The Hubble Heritage Team  (STScI/AURA).

INTERCONNECTEDNESS - Series 3, No.9     158cm.W x 200cm.H
Planetary graphics credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SSI, NASA/SDO/AIA

Life & Death Series

Much of our content captures the vivid life and beauty of nature - such as a blooming plant, a ripe fruit or vegetable and so on. As much as we are influenced by the awe and beauty of life, we are very much influenced by the awe, sorrow and grief of death and the myriad of experiences attached.


It is something we try to express with intention during our creative processes and life in general. A way of doing this is capturing the life process of a plant - from seedlings, to peak bloom, to its wilting and decay. For us the ‘Cosmic Floral Portraits’ we capture conveys a quiet, haunting yet beautiful contemplation of existence where life is at a constant state of endings and beginnings along the cosmic time scale. Our creative practice - inspired through nature and the cosmos has become a constant reminder of this life and death process.


This reminder has become a constant mentor and guide, yet it can be a fine line between inducing fear and purchasing of an expensive Porsche convertible (nothing against Porsche…), or it can set us free through acknowledging this inevitable process and allowing it to inform our actions with a profound wonder of just being here. One profundity that struck us during this covid period is the continual urge of a return back to ‘normal’, while it is precisely this ‘normal’ that is causing toxification and destruction to the natural environment, to the detriment of our physical and mental well being. The icing on the cake is we are the ingredients that make up the recipe of this ‘normal’. An example was the subtle but potent sting of exhaust fumes as we contributed to the returning of traffic jams after relaxing of lockdown, making us realise how fresh the air was when our ‘normal’ was forced to a halt. We can’t help but to wonder how quick our senses and perceptions will be dulled down again by the normal.

CELESTON 1 - Final video piece

Below is the final work created for MoB Artists@Home Residency Program is a video piece titled CELESTON. It is a visual reflection inspired and centred on the cosmic process, nature and the human experience. Created during the covid shutdown in Australia, the video piece is an amalgamation of audio, video and photographic material recorded during Man&Wah’s travels over the past seven years. This work was a form of self-directed learning – questioning the events surrounding us all and the constant notion of getting back to ‘normal’ during these times, when the consequences of this ‘normal’ is linked to the plunder and devastation of the environment and the wellbeing of every life within it.

FROM ATOMS TO THE COSMOS