UK’s First Exhibition of Digital Jewellery and Interactive Craft Opens in The Shetland Islands
Portage: Crossing Points (29 May – 27 June), Bonhoga Gallery, Shetland.
The Shetland Islands are a fitting location for the UK’s first exhibition dedicated solely to digital jewellery and interactive craft. The word Portage means to transport or carrying something. This, then, is Portage both in terms of transporting and exhibiting artwork in a remote island location and exploring creative and intimate forms of 21st century communication.
The exhibiting artists’ use new technology, jewellery design and craft to create imaginative, new dialogues and to explore how people relate to one another both in proximity and over distance.
Many of us have jewellery or objects, given to us or handed down through generations, which contain strong associations, memories, and stories about that person and our relationship with them. Portage: Crossing Points demonstrates how new technology can be used to bring these precious associations to life and to allow people to interact with objects and one another.
Imagine uploading photographs for distant relatives using Fair Isle pin cushions and an interactive ‘kist’ (kist is a Shetland word for a box containing keepsakes) instead of a computer, being part of a group connected by wirelessly networked necklaces, or even, being able to draw on the body of a lover thousands of miles away.
These are some of the concepts behind the work at this innovative exhibition curated by Clair Aldington of Shetland Arts. “Portage: Crossing Points, for me, is about re-presenting technology to explore our relationships with people: friends, family, partners, lovers, or maybe even strangers”, explained Ms. Aldington.
The show includes Mutsugoto, by Distance Lab, an intimate body-drawing communicator for long distant lovers. This work has a particular resonance for remote communities where people are often separated by employment and/or geography. Shetland is also a powerful context for Hazel White and Sarah Kettley’s pieces. Kettley’s touch-triggered Ensemble installation conjures up Shetland sounds, stories and voices whilst Hazel White’s work, Telling Tales: hamefarers kist, connects the Shetland Diaspora to home.
This connection to Diaspora is highlighted by the exhibition coinciding with Shetland‘s ‘Hamefarin’ (homecoming) celebrations during June 2010 when Shetlanders from around the world are welcomed back to their home islands.
A catalogue of the exhibition will be available for sale from Bonhoga Gallery from 29 May 2010 with essays by the artists and William Gaver, Professor of Design, Goldsmiths, University of London.
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