Publication Details

Ballard, S., Brennan, S. & Joyce, Z.. "Cloudland: Digital Art from Aotearoa New Zealand" The Substation, Singapore, 24 July to 2 August. Singapore: The Substation and Aotearoa Digital Arts, 2008.



Research Background

Curated by Susan Ballard, Stella Brennan and Zita Joyce on behalf of the ADA network, “Cloudland: Digital Art from Aotearoa New Zealand” was a commissioned official partner exhibition of ISEA 2008 Singapore. Held at The Substation a major contemporary gallery in Singapore, the exhibition included the work of eight New Zealand artists (Len Lye, Stella Brennan, Alex Monteith, Kentaro Yamada, et. al collective, PSN Electronic, Bruce Russell and Adam Willetts).

Research Contribution

As curator Ballard selected the artists, installed the exhibition, negotiated loans of artworks, wrote the catalogue, and organized the performance evening. Ballard was also responsible for the substantial loan of “Free Radicals” a major work by Len Lye. Len Lye is one of New Zealand's most widely known modernist artists. His Free Radicals, originally made in 1958 and re-worked in 1979 is described by leading avant-garde filmmaker Stan Brakhage as, “an almost unbelievably immense masterpiece”.

Research Significance

The International Society for Electronic Arts (ISEA) is a major international forum for critical examination of digital work. Cloudland was one of only five invited exhibitions, representing New Zealand. It received substantial funding from Creative New Zealand and The Asia NZ Foundation, and was launched by New Zealand’s High Commissioner to Singapore. It was the first exhibition in Singapore to show works by Len Lye, a leading, international avant-garde filmmaker. Other major partners included: The Len Lye Foundation, Starkwhite Gallery, Auckland Art Gallery, Otago Polytechnic, AUT University, Auckland University, Canterbury University, Metonymic records, and The Audio Foundation.

Documentation: http://www.isea2008singapore.org/exhibitions/pe_cloudland.html



The Maori name now used for New Zealand is Aotearoa, ‘Land of the Long White Cloud’, a description of the form of islands glimpsed from the ocean, their mountains obscured by the vapour gathering around their peaks. Cloudland draws on this duality of the solid and insubstantial to address the instability of place and its definitions, the permeability of boundaries and the connections between people and place.

Link to publisher version (URL)

Stella Brennan