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Curating Contemporary Art (MA)

Nathalia Oliveira

Blue Space: The Changing Currents of Resilient Waterways

The Global Climate Emergency and other issues we face with nature largely come from our (human) exploitation of it. We hear stories in relation to our experiences with these challenges: our feelings of injustice, the discomfort we experience, our fears, and even at times, our tales of displacement. Yet, despite our fraught relationship with our living environment in which we co-exist – we persist.

Through this collaboration, both featured artists bring their own take on themes relating to engagement with nature and our evolving environment. With this, large cyanotype sheets created in the River Thames have been adapted to create a canopy for a tent. The interior of this support structure that audiences can enter, is livened by a projection created by Priysha Rajvanshi in accompaniment to the cyanotypes, and an original soundscape produced by artist and filmmaker Elise Guillaume. This commission depicts the literal vibration-based audio of plants and water alongside fictional writing, performed via the spoken word. Through this, a voice is given to nature as a channel to hear its perspective.  

This project was formed from recognising the stresses that our friction with the environment are inducing. As a proposed place of solace for local people, it aims to offer a soothing and open-minded plateau. Here, through interacting with the artistic practices brought forward, we introduce a moment of calm confrontation and learning by hearing. Through this, we look to present an opportunity to begin the process of healing a fractured but essential relationship with the place we live. Crucially, to consider the Blue Space in a gallery in London, this also connects us with the other people we share our earth with, whose struggles like the environment are not always acknowledged. 

Through entering the space, audiences are invited to not only take from nature, as is too often the scenario, but by listening to it; acknowledge it as a living entity, recognise its stresses and its sorrow, its moments of courage and its ailing contentment. In embracing this meeting of perspectives, one can slow down, be immersed in the comfort of the shelter, and take advantage of the moment of reflection, familiar recognition, and re-connection being offered as we look to adapt to our changing world.  

This is a project in partnership with Gasworks London Gallery

Works: Songs of Togetherness (I), 2023, Elise Guillaume; The Shore, 2022, Priysha Rajvanshi

Consultation and Technical Support: Julia Frendo; The Technicians Collective

Curatorial Team: Wanlan Chen, Genevieve Fisher, Aleda Wood Roberts, Nathalia Oliveira, John Dougan Nealon, Zihan Wen, Blythe Thea Williams, Kangin Park

Image of Nathalia Oliveira

My practice delves into the realms of sustainability, the digital world, multisensorial audience experience, and human-computer interaction, in hopes of bringing together art, technology, and environmental consciousness in a thought-provoking and engaging manner. Throughout my research, I have found passion in the artistic exploration of the sustainable, drawing inspiration from the urgent need for ecological awareness and action, creating a dialogue between the two. In my practice, I aim to incorporate alternate materials, repurposed objects, and environmentally friendly techniques, challenging the boundaries of traditional artistic practices and highlight the potential for sustainable solutions within the art world.

On the other hand, my practice is rooted in an exploration of the intersection between technology and art, where digital tools are utilized to push the boundaries of creativity. With a keen eye for innovation, I am interested in working with immersive and interactive installations that invite viewers to engage with artworks in a multisensorial manner.

Human-computer interaction is another key aspect in my research. I am interested in investigating the ways in which technology can bridge the gap between humans and machines, creating meaningful and interactive experiences. By leveraging advancements in human-computer interaction, I am passionate about artworks that invite viewers to actively participate in their creation and interpretation. Through interactive interfaces, augmented reality, or virtual reality, where the audiences become co-creators, blurring the lines between artist and observer, the fostering a deeper connection between the artwork and the viewer is ultimately created.

Ultimately, my curatorial position turns into some sort of worls where sustainability, the digital realm, multisensorial experiences, and HCI converge, aiming towards the contemplation, foster engagement, while also challenging preconceived notions of art, offering a glimpse into a future where creativity, technology, and environmental consciousness intertwine seamlessly.