View the promotional video featuring the Nova Scotia Masterworks Arts Award finalists for the 2011 award year:
Creator: David Clark
Nominator: Bruce Barber (Media and Recording Arts)
Seconder: Sam Fisher, Jan Peacock
David Clark’s 88 Constellations for Wittgenstein (to be played with the left hand) is a highly sophisticated yet playful and accessible digital web work exploring the life and work of philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein. Displaying dazzling technical skill, this elegant, feature-length work employs flash animation to create a rhizome-like network of visual, musical and narrative vignettes that viewers can navigate at their own pace. 88 Constellations was released online in 2008, and has been publicly presented in numerous national and international exhibitions and festivals of electronic art, garnering critical praise as “a rapturous virtuosic labyrinth that confounds, nourishes and provokes.”
This is the first time a web-based work has won the award. In making its selection, the jury commented on the work’s accessibility and its invitation to play, despite being technically very complex and intellectually rigorous. They called it dazzling and elegant—”it sucks you in and you spend hours exploring this delightful labyrinth of ideas, images, poetry and music.”
88 Constellations for Wittgenstein (to be played with the left hand) can be seen on the web at http://88constellations.net/.
Creator: Susan McEachern
Nominator: Wilma Needham (Visual Arts – Photography)
Seconders: Andrea Kunard, Lorraine Gilbert
Susan McEachern’s Equine Studies is a technically impeccable and conceptually layered photographic series that explores social and historical aspects of the animal/human relationship. Prompted by the artist’s personal experiences with her own daughter’s passionate yet disciplined involvement in horse riding, the three sections of Equine Studies—Herbivores, Still Seeking Athena and Fight/Flight—combine large-scale colour prints and subtle texts. They summon questions of gender, class and competitiveness (whether in current leisure pursuits, military history or ancient mythology) while portraying the strength, intelligence, grace and control required in any equestrian endeavour. The complete series was exhibited in Ottawa in January 2011.
Creators: Tim Dallett and Adam Kelly
Nominator: Mireille Bourgeois (Media and Recording Arts)
Seconders: Robert Bean, David Diviney
Investigation 1 is an intriguing interdisciplinary project combining the handiness of do-it-yourself culture with the sophistication of new media, organized by The Artifact Institute and originally presented at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia. In a unique blend of relational aesthetics and institutional critique, creators/performers Tim Dallett and Adam Kelly engage the public in documenting, conserving and repurposing over 1,000 discarded electronic devices collected from arts and cultural organizations across Halifax. Investigation 1 has been presented in several venues, achieving considerable public response and motivating visitors to think and talk about sustainability and the ethics of built?in obsolescence in new media.
Creator: Susan Feindel
Nominator: Ineke Graham (Visual Arts – Mixed Media Installation)
Seconders: Wayne Boucher, Andrea Fatona
Susan Feindel’s installation See Below offers a total immersive experience of the deep ocean environment through a group of huge black and white canvases (based on sonar side-scan imagery) covering the floor of a dimly-lit gallery, with an ambient sound-scape and small pin-pricked map drawings illuminated from beneath. Original in conception and execution, the installation combines science, technology and art, dramatically invoking the ecological fragility of the oceans off Canada’s Eastern continental shelf, and, by inference, around the globe.
See Below was a Finalist for the Masterworks Award in 2009, and has since been presented in the Ottawa Art Gallery (2010) and MSVU Art Gallery has published an extensive illustrated catalogue about it.
Creators: Sarah Bonnemaison and Robin Muller (Architextile Lab)
Nominator: Sandra Alfoldy (Design Arts)
Seconders: Glen Hougan, Andrew Whittemore
The Warming Hut is an innovative architectural space created by Architextile Lab (a design team led by textile artist Robin Muller and architect Sara Bonnemaison) as a temporary shelter for skaters at the Oval on the Halifax Common in the winter of 2011. This exciting tipi-like structure employs various technologies to warm and delight the user, including seats woven from heated straps, mittens that transmute the visitor’s heartbeat to an audio pulse, and a huge, magical, softly flashing snowflake chandelier. Fun, functional, and aesthetically engaging, the glowing structure was enjoyed by many thousands of winter visitors and enthusiastically covered by local and international newsmedia.