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Image Makers Seminar Series 2018: 2 Kirsten Lyttle - Digital Mana

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Photography Studies College (Melbourne)

2nd Floor (Stair access only)

65 City Road

Southbank, VIC 3006

Australia

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PSC is proud to present Kirsten Lyttle, a Melbourne based multi-media artist who is of Māori descent. Her Iwi (tribe) is Waikato, tribal affiliation is Ngāti Tahinga, Tainui A Whiro. Kirsten was born in Sydney, spent her childhood in Wellington, New Zealand and grew-up in Melbourne, where she is still based.
She is currently a PhD candidate at Deakin University (Burwood) currently teaching photography in the School of Community and Creative Arts, Deakin University.
She has exhibited widely in Australia and internationally including, Indonesian Contemporary Art Network Yogyakarta (Indonesia), Galleria 291 Est. Rome (Italy), and Oedipus Rex Gallery Auckland. In 2015 she went to Canada as the artist in residence as part of the RMIT/University of Lethbridge, Indigenous Residency Gushul Studio, Blairmore, Canada. Her arts practise explores issues of post-colonialism, identity, consumerism and the expression of Maori customary art (in particular, weaving) through digital technologies, such as photography, scanning, 3D printing and cyber-space(s).

This Image Makers Seminar coincides with Kirsten’s solo exhibition ‘Digital Mana’ at the Centre for Contemporary Photography, curated by CCP Curator and PSC Lecturer Pippa Milne. ‘Digital Mana’ runs until the 11th March.

Description of work
This project explores issues of materiality for Pacific diaspora customary artists living outside of their ancestral homeland. How do diaspora weave in a foreign land when their traditional plants and materials are not available? Can new technology, such as digital photography, be used in customary, indigenous ways? The title of this project, Digital Mana, is a self-coined phrase that combines English and Te Reo Māori (the Māori Language) in order to question the compatibility of digital media (digital image capture, process and print production) and the fundamental Māori concept of Mana (meaning the importance, status and spiritual power of a person and/or an object). My vantage point is that of a Māori-Australian, photographer and weaver. Māoriweaving has become an important part of my arts practice, as it is a link and connection to my Māori heritage and ancestors. The aim of this project is to use the physical surface of the photograph a site for making customary Māori woven artworks. Or, to put it another way, this project attempts to make digital photographicprocesses and production allied with indigenous methods of making (not just as a conceptual representation or thematically, but to make the process of digital art making, in itself, indigenous). For Māori, the highest prestige garment that can be woven is the Kākahu Korowai, or feather cloak. In this project, feathers are photographed, then these photographic prints are sliced and woven to make a life-sized, three dimensional cloak, using customary, Kākahu Korowai techniques. There are two elements to this exhibition; 1) a series of photographic prints showing detailed (and close-up images of Kākahu Korowai (feather cloaks) in which all of the feathers will be from Australian native birds (such as emu) and 2) a handwoven life-sized (and wearable) photographic cloak.

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Photography Studies College (Melbourne)

2nd Floor (Stair access only)

65 City Road

Southbank, VIC 3006

Australia

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