Lake levels river levels
24 September 2010
Artist Derek Hart undertook a Connections Residency hosted by Hydro Tasmania from July 2009 to June 2010. He has developed a new body of video and mixed media work based on an engagement with technologies and processes of controlling and monitoring environmental flow.
Hart's residency works combine elemental time with the temporal tracking of two machines: an Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler (ADCP) unit used to collect hydrology data, and a Super 35mm-sized digital cinema camera. The camera was situated in the environment alongside the ADCP machine, level with the surface of the water, effectively increasing its sensory range as it moved across lakes and rivers within the State's catchment areas.
Works were also made during part of Hydro Tasmania's dam safety program when the water level of Meadowbank Lake was lowered five meters allowing spillway gates to be inspected and tested - the last time the lake was drawn down this far was about 40 years ago. Informed by the traditions of experimental film and video as art practice, Hart’s work is process-led and explores formal concerns of screen-based video and the projected moving image.
"By imposing his own set of protocols to which the process of shooting his material adhered, Hart established the possibility for relationships of chance to occur between the mechanics of production and the unpredictability of the environment. Hart’s Lake Levels and Meadowbank works sit securely within context with the works of many of those whom are considered as part of the British canon of artists’ film and video" sue.k.
Hart says of undertaking this residency partnership his practice has developed in ways he hadn't anticipated. “I had access to research staff, was out on the water with field equipment, operators and camera crew on the West Coast and also up in the Highlands of Tasmania, and this led to different ways of thinking about my project.”
Works from the residency were recently presented in the exhibitions Lake Levels at The Barn, Rosny Farm, 18 June - 11 July 2010, and River Levels at 146 Arts, Hobart, 28 May - 27 June 2010. An exhibition catalogue includes an essay by sue.k, director/founder of the Australian International Experimental Film Festival, who is in the final stages of a PhD in the field of artists’ film and video. The catalogue is available to download from the artist's website.
Derek Hart's work features in Art Monthly Australia (issue 230, June 2010), RealTime (issue 94, Dec 2009 - Jan 2010) and Photofile (issue 85, Dec 2008 - March 2009). To read more online please click here
Derek Hart, Lake Levels (Lake Mackintosh), 2010, multi-channel media installation, duration 25:30 (two-minute excerpt).
Derek Hart, Meadowbank, 2010, digital video, duration 28:30 (video still).
Courtesy of the artist.