Sometimes art opens our eyes to the unseen energies that surround us. In Haines and Hinterding’s case, we are offered to engage in an artistic dialogue with science.
From the moment I stepped into the gallery, there were so many objects that attracted and bewildered me at the same time. Far on the right corner of my eye, I could make out the presence of a girl wearing a virtual reality headset, thrilled and excited as she leaped out of nowhere. Curious, I came closer and got introduced with one of the artists’ work; Oculus Rift, the virtual reality that displayed an immersive 3D experience. By moving their head up and down and turning it from side to side, visitors can move around a virtual space that contains two of Haines and Hinterding’s early 4-channel video works.
Soon I found out that David Haines and Joyce Hinterding’s 15 years of art collaboration consists of very low frequency (VLF) radio waves, television signals, satellite transmissions, solar winds, aroma molecules, and psychic forces all manifest into their work. Taking over the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney’s first floor from 25th June – 6th September, they should’ve put a warning on how the exhibition would blow all your senses away, because that’s what happened to me.
In Geology (2015), we were faced with a massive screen installation, created using the 3D modeling software as computer games. The interesting part was that it allowed visitors to explore a virtual landscape by using body movements to activate the motion-sensor systems and delve the mysteries of both natural and supernatural world, which can be accessed by entering portals within the landscape. Anther work, Telepathy (2008), allowed visitors to experience the anechoic chamber that cancelled all external noises and to focus in interacting with the work itself and also the ultimate peace and quiet.
The Blue Mountains duo presented a pair of ‘weird science’ from their long-term experiments and left the visitors full of awe. Let it be the ‘milky way’—the sound made from radio scans of ironstone bands in platy pagoda rock formations found in Carne Creek Gorge and Accoustic (Sunnyside) Canyon and electromagnetic field recordings—or to the selection of objects and phenomena that offered multisensory ways to experience the sun. Capturing all the unseen wonders of the universe in one place.
Thanks to constant curiosity from these long-time collaborators, the visitors could sit back, relax, enjoy the beautiful sound of science (which in some way reminded me of noise music), and take a moment to explore our personal connection to this blazing life force. From Hinterding’s work on acoustic and electromagnetic phenomena with Haines’ hallucinatory video worlds and aroma-based compositions, their work of art developed from the informal experiments they conducted in and around their home in the Blue Mountains, west of Sydney, periods of observation and data recording, to reimagined and manipulated collected data in their studios.
Energies, as Hinterding and Haines’ first major gallery retrospective was named after, presented many forms of physical, psychic, or even environmental energetic forces, ranging from video installations, photography, olfactory sculptures to sound wave induction drawing. Not only that the work of art was, but it also allowed us to interact and build engagement with the poetics of real and imaginary phenomena that the artists summoned along their artistic journey.
Photo by : Stephanie Mamonto