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Artist challenges with interactive machine


Sharlene King
14 December 2011
Southern Cross University alumni Josh Howard loves to challenge an audience.

“I like to make stuff where people put their heads inside sculptures,” said the 38-year-old 3D interactive installation artist.

Josh Howard was named the inaugural Lismore Regional Gallery Graduate Award winner in November last year at the University’s annual visual arts graduating students’ exhibition known as TRANSIT.

The prize will be realised when Josh holds his first catalogue exhibition at the Lismore Regional Gallery from Friday December 16, entitled ‘You broke my blueprints?’

‘You broke my blueprints?’ features the latest addition to the artist’s series titled Performance Maker Machines, a specially-designed helmet.

“I’m asking people to put the helmet on their head and in 20 seconds do a little performance,” Josh said.

The performance is filmed with the vision projected on an adjacent wall. The loop is continuously added to in real time as each participant gives their performance.

Josh said the only direction participants are given is to perform labour.

“I am interested in unpicking the notion of labour and performance, where they cross over, where they are different, and how that relates to alienated and connected states of existence.

“I wanted to explore creating moments of connection and then at the same time moments of utter alienation.”

Director of the Lismore Regional Gallery Brett Adlington said he was proud to showcase the work of an emerging, cutting-edge artist like Josh.

“Josh’s work reflects on and challenges notions around the exchange of values while providing a space for audience participation,” said Mr Adlington.

“As viewers we can actively participate in and contribute to the work as well as being able to enjoy the sculptural spectacle of others participating.”

Since graduating from Southern Cross University Josh has travelled to Amsterdam to deliver a paper and exhibit a work at a Praxis conference, and was part of the 2011 Splendid Arts Lab.

Josh said he was excited to be exhibiting at the Lismore Regional Gallery.

“For an artist to have a catalogue exhibition like this is just like a writer getting published. And it’s wonderful to be able to show my work in my hometown.”

With several years of study now behind him, Josh said his plans for 2012 were simple: “Make work, show work, make work, show work.”

Josh Howard’s ‘You broke my blueprints?’ opens Friday December 16 at 5.30pm for 6pm start at the Lismore Regional Gallery, 131 Molesworth Street, Lismore NSW 2480.

Professor Mike Evans, Southern Cross University’s head of the School of Arts and Social Sciences, will open the exhibition.

The exhibition runs from December 17 2011 to January 29 2012.
Audiences can participate in performances on opening night, Friday December 16; on Thursday December 29 from 5pm to 7pm; and on Thursday January 19 from 4pm to 6pm. Photo: A prototype of Josh Howard’s helmet.