LEA Digital Media Exhibition Platform
IN DARWIN’S GARDEN BY CHRIS MEIGH-ANDREWS
Chris Meigh-Andrews’ art practice involves moving image installations that aspire to create links between aspects of location, history, technology, landscape, ambient conditions and natural forces. Over recent years he has produced a number of digital video projections and site-specific installations that explore the relationship between iconic or historical photographic images, people or locations and contemporary views, perspectives and visualizations. His approach seeks to reproduce an exact framing and composition based on an historical photographic image and to explore ideas suggested by establishing relationships between the composition of the original and the present circumstances of that same view.
Meigh-Andrews’ latest project is a site-specific, web-based installation on the grounds of Down House – the family home of naturalist Charles Darwin – in Kent, England. This project takes as its focus an old mulberry tree growing at back of the house, which serves to represent the relationship between the domestic life of the Darwin Family, the garden as a site for Charles Darwin’s careful and systematic observation of natural processes that he drew on in developing his theory of Natural Selection, and the slow but inevitable change in the cycle of life and the seasons. The work has been developed by the artist with the collaboration and assistance of Alan Summers (University of Chester) and Rowan Blaik (Head gardener, Down House).
Digital Media Curator, Leonardo Electronic Almanac
Director and Senior Curator, Kasa Gallery
Curator of New Media Arts at the Whitney Museum of American Art
Featured Artist and collaborators:
Chris Meigh-Andrews is an artist, writer and curator and Emeritus Professor of Electronic & Digital Art at the University of Central Lancashire, UK. He has been exhibiting his video and installation work internationally since the late 1970’s and has held numerous artist-in-residence posts in the UK, Canada and Europe. Meigh-Andrews’ commissioned and site-specific installation work includes For William Henry Fox Talbot (The Pencil of Nature) for the Victoria and Albert Museum, London (2002), Interwoven Motion, a solar and wind powered outdoor video installation in Grizedale Forest in the English Lake District (2004) and more recently The Monument Project (Si Monumentum Requiris Circumspice) (2009-2011) commissioned by architects Julian Harrap, for the Monument in the City of London. He has also initiated and curated a number of major international exhibition events focusing on artists’ video. His book, A History of Video Art: the Development of Form and Function (Berg, Oxford & New York, 2006) provides an overview of the development of video as an art form since its inception in the early 1960’s.
Alan Summers is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Chester where he is programme leader for the MA in Design. His current PhD research is in the application of experiential systems within digital environments and how real world knowledge influences the design and implementation of virtual worlds and the behaviour of people within them. Examining how designers interpret real world environments and use their individual cultural knowledge to shape environments used online by users with different cultural references. Through a body of research exploring cognitive processes and how cultural differences affects spatial awareness in virtual environments Alan is using the spatial analysis of popular game spaces to inform future designers when building multi cultural online spaces.
Rowan Blaik is Head Gardener at Down House, for English Heritage (EH). Trained in horticulture at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Rowan has collaborated on a number of projects introducing art and technology into public gardens, including landscape visualisation with the Zuse-Institut Berlin and Lenné3D, Germany (2006), the VESEL project with the University of Leeds, UK (2008), and interactive video guides in the garden at Down House (2009). He has been technical editor and researcher on a series of garden history co-publications for EH and the Garden Museum, UK (2004-6) and contributing author on EH’s Management & Maintenance of Historic Parks, Gardens & Landscapes book (2007). He also has a lead-role nationally in making English Heritage’s plant collection records available online to the public through databases, garden mapping and GIS.
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