dissecting octagons and Tyvek

Yesterday was an exciting day as two couriers arrived. One with two reams of Tyvek [thanks Spicers] and one 100m roll of a more fabric-like conservation supply Tyvek, similar to that used in hazchem suits or that lines houses before the cladding is put on as it breaths one way and is water repellent from the other.
Today has been all about settling on a shape system based on the size of the Tyvek reams. I had always planned to use dissected octagons and their parent octagon as well as a couple of compatible isosceles triangles . Through a bit of trial and error and visualisation, I think I have settled on 6 shapes from an original set of 9 [bottom image with pink circles]. I would prefer to have less shapes for simplicity, but for flexibility and from experience, 6 will be neccessary.
Now I need to make some duarable templates and tomorrow, I will reclaim my garage studio and begin the process of dying a proportion of the Tyvek before I head to a lecture at the Royal Society about invasive species in Antarctica.

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Inland Ice and everything else

My current absence from the blog is all due to being extremely busy – like more busy than usual! And there has not been enough time to update until now – and really I should be preparing images for a couple of conferences that I am presenting at! But I really need to play catch ups here first.
I will try and catch up chronologically:
First, the design for Inland Ice – my next major work for IceFest NZ has been completed and a scale model of the framework has been made and couriered to Christchurch. This all became a little more complicated for me as it turns out that as some parts of the 20m long ice shelf were going to be higher than 2.5m. This height means that we’d have to go through the resource consent process which I am new to. Thankfully my good friend and architect Ben Stevens was able to pitch in with some technical expertise and all seems to be moving forward in a productive way. It has been a learning process which is great – and outdoor work is newish to me – ie I hadn’t done any since art school almost 20 years ago.
I am lucky that I have another awesome artist/builder/designer Chris Reddington who will be doing the heavy work in Christchurch and is building the frame for Inland Ice so that I can focus on the surface layers. Actually the whole Icefest NZ team are awesome!
Inland Ice has allowed me to explore some new materials too. I am currently enjoying TYVEK by Dupont which is an inert paper type product that is made from plastic and is untearable but still translucent enough to be back lit and porous enough to be dyed. Another part of my announcement is Spicers NZ paper are coming on board to sponsor some Tyvek paper for the Inland Ice for IceFest NZ. I jumped for joy with the news, and being an artist who uses a lot of paper in the creation of large works, it seems like a good fit. Thanks Spicers!
I also purchased a GoPro today. So I now need to learn how to operate a new camera but it is time to upgrade the way that I create time-lapses of the installations going up. These time lapses are an integral part of the documentation process as it is often quite difficult to convey the full experience of a spatial installation through a static image. I had been saving up for a long time for one of these beauties and I look forward to sharing the results.
There are a few other exciting things bubbling behind the scenes – unrelated to this project, which I will announce when things are a bit more concrete.
On the to do list now – other than write and reply to heaps of emails – [sorry if you are waiting]

Cutting and dying tyvek.
Testing shape systems.
Run some talks and workshops at Wadestown School Wellington and also at some schools in Christchurch.
Talk at the National Library.
Prepare for and present at the SCAR conference in Auckland on the 25th August with Craig Stevens from Niwa.
Make a giant ice shelf in Christchurch.
Have lots of meetings and write heaps of emails.
Present a few more talks at IceFest in Christchurch in October.
Oh and I will be running a workshop at the Dowse on the 13th Sept for kids and a caregiver.
And I’ll be packing up the avalanche and small What lies beneath icebergs from the National Library on the 14th Sept, so if you are in Wellington, you better pop by before it is too late and you can also see Order Structure Pattern while you are there in the downstairs gallery before that comes down late October.

There is probably more for this list, but by making it very public, it will help get it all moving along at the correct speed.
And now for the pretty pictures!


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A belated update – Icebergs, avalanches and more ice shelves

There is much bubbling along behind the scenes right now. In fact it feels like I am doing some advanced juggling [more than 3 balls!] Unfortunately some of what I have been juggling is not ready/able to be discussed or revealed here, but as soon as I am able, I will write about it. And then there is Icefest coming up in Christchurch that is taking all of my attention this week. More about that soon. [this is the ice shelf part of the title]
I recently spent a week in Melbourne with my family, but the day before I left, I finished installing two works at the National Library of NZ. I realise that although I’d been releasing a few images of the works in progress on other social media platforms [whilst on the go] I hadn’t quite managed to collate them here. So here it goes.
I need to go back to the National Library to get a final picture of the avalanche work as all that you see is its transportation, hanging and repair. It is quite amazing that this 7 year old ephemeral artwork has stood up so well despite not being stored in the best conditions. Also, apologies for the slightly out of order images – I uploaded them in order, but for some reason, they do not want to display as such, but you will work it out!
One last thing – my website has moved to here and has been updated and includes videos:
www.gabbyoconnor.squarespace.com

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I am running a free workshop on Saturday

To all in Wellington with kids. I’m running a free workshop at the National Library from 10.30am-12pm. Come and make some paper icebergs and bergy bits with me-and then go check out the exhibitions.

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The icebergs are queuing

Sorry, a picture heavy post. I have just finished the 3 berg bottoms and two little bergy bits from some edited sections. Now they are queuing up to leave the workshop to be installed at the close of day at the National Library of Nz. Also on today’s to do list is to gently peel off the wall and transport the avalanche work from 2007 which has been in storage at Toi Poneke for all these years. But now, it is time for lunch.

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Greetings from Christchurch

Today has been spent in Christchurch attending some meetings and having a good walk about the city and the site of a new artwork. So much in transition. Growth and decay coexisting and the din of construction vehicles and machines inescapable. There is something extremely exciting about all this flux. I know it probably isn’t that enjoyable when you are living with it and when it impairs the basic neccessities, but you can also see so much possibility and potential.

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The top image is a building that is in the process of being demolished brick by brick [after the asbestos was removed] It is situated opposite the site where I will be making a large out door artwork/facade for Icefest 2014, just off Cathedral Square, next to the old Post Office whose fate is not yet known. Most of the other images are of the site itself and small moments within it. The final image is the plinth where a statue of Robert Falcon Scott once stood until he was rumbled off his pedestal with a broken ankle.
I can’t say too much about what it is that I will be building just yet, but once it is finalised, all will be documented on the blog.
In the meantime, I have some icebergs to complete and install at the National Library but a separate [overdue] blog update is required.

Behind the scenes

Last week I began re-assembling three smaller icebergs that were first installed at the North Wall gallery, Oxford, UK in 2011.
Here are some links from the first time they were being made:
https://gabbyoconnor.wordpress.com/2011/04/24/how-to-make-a-berg-for-sarah-and-katharine/
https://gabbyoconnor.wordpress.com/2011/07/12/what-lies-beneath-the-return-the-north-wall-install-week/
This new reconstructed set of submerged icebergs will be installed at the Alexander Turnbull Library gallery that is located on the first floor at the National Library of New Zealand in Molesworth St, Wellington from the 7th July – right upstairs from Order Structure Pattern #2.
I am very fortunate to have the support of the staff at the National Library as I am now working from their gallery workroom for the next week and a bit. It is almost like an unofficial artist residency but it is out of necessity as the completed icebergs would not be able to be transported whole – especially in Winter and with the projected wind forecast.
Instead, I get to assemble and adjust the icebergs in a lovely neutral temperature controlled space and then will either transport them in the lift or we can carry them in a procession like way to the gallery upstairs next friday after hours.
Another historical work : avalanche will also be installed alongside a collection of books, posters and ephemera from the Library’s collection exploring Antarctica from a distance.
Anyhow, here are some images of my temporary studio space at the National Library…

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