Monday, December 10, 2012

Otari School - Otari Bush

Students designs showing different plants, insects and birds found in Otari Bush, these designs will be used for the marble run.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Marble Run Panel

This is a mock up of what one of the panels will look like, with the student's designs. The idea is that the shapes will be cutout and used to form the marble run, the other piece will be used on the other side of the fence panel as a decorative element. The cutout pieces will have magnets attached and placed on a metal grill, students can then use the pieces to form their marble runs. The above images are just the early design ideas, once we have some input from the fabricators the designs will needed to be changed.

Marble Run

I have been working with the students developing a range of ideas for the fence running down the side of the school. We have decided to start with a marble run, but not any old marble run this one is inspired by the native plants, trees and animals at Otari Bush Reserve.
The plan is to test some ideas out and then get help to have the student's ideas manufactured, the marble run will need to be well made to stand up to the elements and the children.
I will post more images and designs as the project progresses, the image below is the start of the process of gathering images and simplifying them ready to see how they might work in the marble run.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Otari School Fence

I have been working with students at Otari School in Wellington on developing ideas for their fence. The fence stops children wandering on to the entrance road to the School, but it means that it also provides a visual barrier to their neighbours Otari Bush Reserve. So we will be look at ideas to reconnect with the bush as well as using the fence for play, learning, growing, music and a number of other ideas.

The ideas will be developed and refined over the next term and we hope to start raising funds as the project grows, to implement the student's plans.


This a Prezi presentation showing development ideas for the iCart. The iCart project is looking at providing the tools for artists and communities in Wellington to produce creative projects.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Tactical Sound Garden

Singing Trees

A chance discovery of sound from a tree, so I wonder if different tree species make distinct sounds? If they did then we could explore forests through the sound the trees make, unless it was a plantation of a single species then it might get a little boring.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Google Gloves

Google Gloves to go with your Google Glasses, maybe a little way off but exciting possibilities for new ways to interact and explore the world, never the less. Appearantly they could have cameras in fingertips allowing you to touch something and have a enlarged view in your google glasses, so acting as a microscope. Also many potential benefits for people with disabilities, more information here.

Monday, July 30, 2012

MAW - Minneapolis Art on Wheels

Smart Mobility - MIT

Green Wheel - Smart Mobility & Ubiquitous Computing from MIT Mobile Experience Lab on Vimeo.

Mechanical Singing Bird Song

Nightingale and Cello

"Beatrice Harrison was a leading cellist of her generation, and friend of composers such as Delius and Elgar. She had the habit of playing her cello in the wooded garden of her cottage in Oxted, Surrey, near London. One evening in 1923 she was joined by a nightingale and was so enchanted by the sound that she persuaded Lord Reith, the director of the BBC at the time, to broadcast the cello-nightingale duet on live radio. Accordingly on May 19, 1924 the first ever live outdoor broadcast was arranged.

They interrupted the Savoy Orphean Saturday evening performance to go to Ms. Harrison playing Elgar, Dvorak, and the Londonderry Air ("Danny Boy"). No birds. The finally fifteen minutes before the end of the broadcast the nightingales started chirping.

On May 19, 1942, three years into the Second World War, the BBC was back in the same garden planning to broadcast the nightingales (sans cello). But 197 bombers, Wellingtons and Lancasters, began flying overhead on their way to raids in Mannheim and the engineer realized a live broadcast of this event would break security. The recording went ahead anyway since the lines to the BBC were open and a two-sided record was made, the first side with the departing planes, the second with their return (eleven fewer).

This recording is so poignant with the sound of the bombers behind the beauty of the bird song."

You can hear some of the recordings here.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Gap Filler - Creative Responses to The Christchurch Earthquakes

This is a great example of how creativity can be a tool for community engagement and something that should be happening in lots more places and not simply as a response to a major disaster. 
It provides opportunities not only for artists but develops dialogue with the community about issues that are effecting them and can provide a forum for input into making changes. Much better than the usual dull information and forms to fill in seeking input that councils rely on, and then complain when they get a tiny response. More information about Gap Filler here.

Symbiotic Art & Science, Part 2

Symbiotic Art & Science, Part 2

Thursday, July 5, 2012

MAP: Mobile Arts Platform

MAP: Mobile Arts Platform
"The Mobile Arts Platform (MAP) is comprised of two large-scale, interactive sculptures that are activated by a mobile exhibitions program. MAP brings together Peter Foucault’s Fal-Core Van – a retrofitted 1963 Ford Falcon – and Chris Treggiari’s Mobile Art Trailer in locations throughout the Bay Area. MAP creates an autonomous exhibition space, an artistic research lab where a cross pollination of mediums and genres can occur, be accessible to the public, and create strong bonds with partner communities. MAP events include video screenings, visual art, performance art, live music, interactive artworks, and culinary art. In essence, we build a temporary, creative microcosm where community and creativity can intersect and flourish. In a world where we are becoming more insular with advanced technologies our events hope to bring residents together through positive interactions with neighbors and their neighborhood."

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

The Emergency Response Studio Project

Another artists project using mobile elements, this time artist Paul Villinski's Emergency Response Studio. The project developed as a response to damage to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

More GigaPan

I posted earlier about gigapans, and the video above is about there use in an education setting. If you explore their website you can find many other uses, apart from spending hours exploring a spice shop in Turkey, of gigapans in schools, universities and their use in environmental studies.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Mobile Research Station - Simon Faithfull

Mobile Research Station no.1
In a wilderness at the heart of Berlin a strange apparition has landed. Mobile Research Station no.1 is a curious hybrid – half hi-tech Antarctic Research Station / half rusty-broken-dumpster. Using a standard building-waste container as its basis, the station nevertheless forms a luxurious designer-pod provided for an eccentric set of researchers. Rather than researching the frozen wastes of Antarctica or the moons of Saturn, the invited artist/researchers have begun their investigation into the surrounding wilderness and urban zones of uncertainty that still lie at the centre of Berlin. There initial findings and questions can be found in this blog as and when they happen.

Simon Faithfull's Mobile Research Station

Looking to the Future

An issue with many community based projects is accessing equipment, in this case there are many tools that would be useful to help develop the ideas, computers, science equipment, sound recording and many other useful items. These are available but often tied to a particular building and accessing them can be time consuming and bureaucratic, what we need is a mobile arts lab. Rather than each community project having to find equipment or fund raise to by it, why not just call the mobile arts lab. So as side project I am going to look into the possibilities of how this could be set up and funded , as well as post examples of others looking into similar solutions.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Mapping Dargaville High School

These images are from students work developed as part of Artists in Schools Programme a few years ago. They are some of the ways we looked at exploring the School through colour and found letters.

Moss Maps - Nina Katchadourian

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Daniel Kish - No Sight, No Limits

A TEDx talk about research teaching blind people to see through echolocation techniques. 

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Project Overview

Below is a Prezi, which is a presentation programme. The Otari Prezi is to help see how the project could develop and allows bits to be added and changed as the project develops.
You can use the arrow buttons on your keyboard to advance through the presentation or just click and zoom in to different bits.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Citizen Science

Citizen Science is a term used to describe people, non scientists or amateurs, involved in scientific study or research. This could be by participating in a bioblitz or bird counts and becoming more common using mobile apps to monitor everything from biodiversity to water quality. One example of a mobile app is Project Noah, using the app is straight forward and free, it allows you to take photographers and upload them to their site, you can tag the photo with information and where it was taken, so contributing to a worldwide project looking at biodiversity.
Also if you are unsure of the name of the animal or plant you have snapped you can add to a list for help identifying what species it is. 
You can join missions or start your own, for example find as many plants with red flowers, you can collect badges and many other things. 


Gigapans are a series of photographs stitched together, to for a single image, which allow the viewer to explore the image in great detail. If you go to the Gigapan site, you can see and explore many examples. There is a huge potential to use the images for studying an area in detail and provide opportunities for people to explore somewhere from their computer. Imagine a series of gigapans of Otari and how people could use them?

Tim Knowles - Artist

Tim Knowles is a UK based artist who has done a number of projects using aspects of the natural world. The image below is from one where he has attached pens to a willow tree, which in turn makes the artwork.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Exploring the world through sound

Acoustic Ecology is the study of the relationship between living things and the environment through sound. In a an area such as Otari Reserve, with lots of trees and plants, we can often hear birds and insects but don't see them. Making field recordings can allow us to identify bird and insects from their calls, even if we cannot see them. As a means to study an areas biodiversity, sound is another useful tool and can provide another way to experience an environment.
The Macaulay Library has huge collection of animal sounds and videos from around the world and be warned you can spend hours listening to various animal sounds and forget about the work you are supposed to be doing.
Here in New Zealand a few years ago there was a competition run by DoC to remix bird calls and you can listen to the results here.
There are many other websites and resources on the web to search for sound recordings, as well as many artists who have used sound in their work and I will post some examples to get a flavor of the different ways they have used sound.

Sound Map is site to upload sound recordings and you can tag your recordings to a map to show where they were recorded. I made an unedited recording of a walk around Otari in the summer and it includes, circads, bird song, people, traffic and me crunching along the gravel paths. Click on the red marker below and the click the play button and you can hear the recording. I plan to do some more recordings when the weather permits.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Artists - Olivier Messiaen

Olivier Messiaen was a French composer and keen ornithologist, someone who studies birds. Bird calls were a fascination for him and he included them in a number of his works. Though he never came to New Zealand he did include, the calls of the bellbird and tui in one of his works.

Artists - Nina Katchadourian

As well as putting information about the Otari project I want to build a resource of artists and projects, which deal with the natural world. Starting with Nina Katchadourian, an American artist who has dealt with the natural world in many of her projects. More information is available from her website, which is worth looking at for the many other projects she has done, and a video of one work called 'Natural Car Alarms'. 

Images of Otari Wilton's Bush

These are a selection of images from Otari showing a small selection of the many plants and trees found there. 

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Welcome - Tēnā koutou

This blog is about the development of creative ideas for Otari - Wilton's Bush Reserve in Wellington, New Zealand. The project is at an early stage and I am just putting together ideas and information about the possibilities of developing creative ideas, how they maybe implemented and funded.
I will add information and ideas as they develop, along with other creative projects and work which can provide inspiration and show the many different approaches that could be taken. Please feel free to contact me if you want more information, have any ideas or want to be involved.
The title of the blog is a translation of the Maori work Otari, meaning place of snares, which refers to the past use of the area as a rich and abundant source for catching birds.